Dear Mr. Rand Paul,
I recently read a transcript from your appearance on Meet The Press:
If there is a war on woman, I think they've won ... The women in my family are doing great, and that's what I see in all the statistics coming out ... In fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women are outcompeting the men in our world ...
Judging by your sample size of approximately four women, it seems you're not too interested in stories that don't revolve around you and your family. But before you go making such claims about "what all the statistics are saying" these days, there are a few you didn't mention that I'd like to bring to your attention.
Although women account for over half of the world's population, we account for over two thirds of the world's poorest. The World Health Organization estimates that 35 percent of women across the world have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. In the region where I work, there are estimates that over 71 percent of women and girls have experienced physical abuse.
We're not debating equal pay for equal work or the glass ceiling or even the fact that only 15 percent of participants at this year's World Economic Forum were women. We're not talking about the fact that in your government only 79 of 435 House members and 20 of 100 U.S. Senators are women. (And despite the fact that we're supposedly "out-competing" our male counterparts, we represent only 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO's.)
Right now, we're talking about the most fundamental human right to dignity and safety.
But you're rich. And white! You're right; those chances aren't quite as high for your niece and your junior account manager. But you're still looking at a 24 percent rate of violent and sexual assault towards women. In fact, the highest lifetime prevalence of non-partner sexual violence was reported in high-income regions of the world -- your neck of the woods!
Mr. Rand, that means for every four women in your life, however safe and shiny it seems, one of them has experienced physical or sexual violence. Seems unlikely to you? That's because there is good chance (84 percent in America) that she hasn't even reported it to authorities and she certainly isn't talking about it at your fundraising gala. If I was married to/fathered by/working for a man that nonchalantly declares ubiquitous gender equality on a national platform, I probably wouldn't tell you either.
Did you know that 92 percent of rapists are never even prosecuted? Can you clarify? Do they count among those poor men who are being outcompeted by the domineering woman taking over the world?
We can talk about your niece at Cornell and your successful M.D. sister, but please admit that you're leaving women like Ida (a four year old recently raped in Kenya) or Sasha Menu Courey (a female athlete at Mizzou who committed suicide after allegedly being raped by multiple football players) out of your statistics.
How about instead of ignoring, minimizing and trivializing our tireless efforts to eradicate that 35 percent, you join me in the real world, just for a moment.
And then, if you still believe "the war has been won," go look Ida's parents' in the eyes, high-five them and tell them the war is over.
Sit down next to the little girl I met this week who isn't allowed to go to school because she is on her period. Get out the bullhorn and congratulate her on the victory!
Or why don't you throw some streamers and confetti at my brilliant and talented colleague who was recently gang-raped in her own home. Go ahead! Celebrate with her and shake her hand like the good politician that you are.
The war is far from over, Mr. Paul.
I would love to genuinely invite you to join us in one of the most important movements of our time. But if you're not going to join, I kindly ask that you at least stop trivializing the work we're doing by saying there is nothing left to be done.
And now, with you or without you, we will continue the fight. We've come so far, but we've got a long road ahead.