US, the land of dreams, is now a nightmare for women

10 June 2019 - 09:23
By Thabiso Mahlape
Mississippi Judge  Carlton Reeves, in his judgment, said that the abortion ban
Image: 123EF/David Carillet Mississippi Judge Carlton Reeves, in his judgment, said that the abortion ban "threatens immediate harm to women's rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortion services until after 6 weeks".

Growing up in the 80s, there was always a place you could refer to, if you ever needed, to express your wildest dreams.

If you ever needed to measure how far your life could and would go, there was a place whose name you pronounce, with your chest.

The United States of America.

As a young girl, I loved books and reading, and with my limited knowledge imagined that books were something you could only make overseas, and overseas was of course America.

Whether in movies, songs or books, America delivered with glitter. It was the land of dreams, the land of opportunities and if you could make it there, you too could be a superstar.

But growing up has cost us "our America" because had we not grown up, how else would we have known that not all that glitters is gold?

Today, America has all but stopped glowing. Yes, one still wants to experience the craze of Times Square, but how has my beloved America come to represent everything wrong in the world?

In the past few weeks, we have witnessed America rain punches on women in the form of extreme anti-abortion laws, state by state.

In one article that completely chilled me, the laws are said to permit abortions only if the mother's life is at risk or if the foetus cannot survive, but not in cases of rape or incest.

I have searched my brain, I have searched for clues from the speeches of others and still cannot understand why men are so hungry to control women's bodies.

Women are under siege everywhere in the world, and America, which holds the dreams of many, reflects that back to us at every turn.

The world has enabled men to rape and has continually failed in its laws to curb this scourge.

In SA, day after day, someone recounts the horror of laying a rape charge and the secondary violation that comes with it.

How then are you quick to police the effects of something like rape? To me it says that the obsession is with policing women and their bodies and not really people or their actions.

I cannot begin to imagine the anxiety of living in a country where an abortion is illegal. It means waking up everyday knowing that you could not decide if you wanted to keep a baby or not. Women are just expected to be carriers, whether or not they are ready.

In this country, we know that right up there with rape culture is the culture of men absconding from parenting.

Women are well within their rights to choose if they want to carry the burden alone.

Even in the instance that a man is supportive and present, the world has decided that mothers are caregivers, children expect mothers to be caregivers and mothers are burdened with rising to the occasion. They should get to decide when they assume that role, or add to it.

Someone said online that women just want an easy way out. Who says an abortion is easy amd why do we not deserve an easy way out? I don't know a single woman whose dream in life is to be an imbokodo. Stop foisting it on us.

If men think that an abortion is an easy way out, then we deserve it. We deserve for women to finally have it easy.

America has broken my heart.