One of the songs on Eric Bibb’s Dear America album, to be released in September, on the Provogue / Mascot label is Born of a Woman. “On this record,” says Bibb, “I’m saying all the things I would want to say to somebody dear to me…All of America’s woes, and the woes of the world, can only come into some kind of healing and balance with that energy we call love. That’s my conviction.”
Born of a Woman decries all forms of violence against women and makes the simple appeal to men: “Every woman, every girl in the whole wide world deserves your respect.” Bibb is joined in the song by Shaneeka Chin Simon, a creative singer-songwriter, with a degree in Theology and an experienced gospel-singer and choir leader.
Between them, they highlight domestic violence, religious-motivated violence, and enslavement of women. “Lord,” sings Bibb, “How can a man treat a woman that way?”
Sadly in 2021, women all around the world are still experiencing a tsunami of violence. Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, and starts alarmingly young, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.
Add to that practices like female genital mutilation (FGM), the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, which can cause severe bleeding and a range of other serious medical problems. FGM has been perpetrated on more than 200 million girls and women in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
Tragically, one could go on and on, talking about sex-trafficking, which affects nearly 4m women, and women trapped in prostitution and the pornography industry, and the picture emerges of the shocking way women are so often treated by men. And that’s before we get to the abortions carried out on baby girls simply because of their sex, in a range of countries in East Asia and South Asia, and even in the United States.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, says that violence against women can only be fought “with deep-rooted and sustained efforts – by governments, communities and individuals – to change harmful attitudes, improve access to opportunities and services for women and girls, and foster healthy and mutually respectful relationships.”
As Eric Bibb and Shaneeka Simon say, “Every woman, every girl, deserves your respect.” Aside from any action governments or corporations need to take, that comes down to us, every man of us – refusing to be involved in anything that exploits women and affording the women in our families, workplaces, churches and clubs, dignity, respect and equal opportunity.