Over the last 100 years women have demanded and achieved more human rights than the previous generations, fighting a never-ending battle of colonialism.
Women across the globe have long be held out of politics or being able to own land, and a list of other injustices. So the question remains, what has the psychological and physical cost of the colonization of women?
One of the most common views amongst scholars on this topic is that colonization has resulted in violence against women. One such study was conducted Val Kalel Kanuha, outlined in her paper aptly named, “Colonization and Violence Against Women.”
Kanuha uses Hawaii as an example, particularly for Asians and Pacific Islanders. She notes ” Local people are romanticized: this was especially true of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, seen as
inhabitants of a tropical “hula” nation. Women are exoticized: the colonizer’s
gaze is directed at local women rendering them beautiful, sexual, etc. These
constructions are applied then to the entire place, resulting in the feminization of
a country. This is what happened to our people. Colonizers portrayed our entire
country as a stereotypical Pacific Islander woman: bare breasted, feeding men,
having sex with them, etc., and overlooking how everyday life was lived by men
and women in order to privilege notions of native women acting in the service of
foreign colonizing men.”
Dr. Jenevieve Mannell outlines this in the Gender Based violence in the Amazons of Peru in her GAP study. She notices “recent figures show that 79% of women between the ages of 18 and 29 report experiencing sexual violence at some point in their life.”
Here in America, The National Organization for Women host many different studies and statistics, that shows how the patriarchy has also effected the long term health of women. The numbers are mind numbing, but one stat was, “Young women, low-income women and some minorities are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and rape. Women ages 20-24 are at greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence.”
There is an endless sea of information and studies out there, but it is clear we need to protect women, and that the struggle continues as women have been colonized in every corner of the globe. That’s why organizations like Colorado’s Sisters of Color United for Education were formed. SOCUE not only assist and empower women, but to fight health disparities in the urban community.