Unscrewed (2017) looks at the numerous obstacles that women face every day on their path to equality and respect. Author Jaclyn Friedman shows the way forward. She shines a light on those who are already hard at work dismantling these barriers and explains why even though the current system may be imbalanced, but we can build a new one.
Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise: We still live in a society that routinely demeans women and robs them of their right to control their bodies. And when women are sexually assaulted or attacked, it’s all too common for them to be blamed by authorities and the public.
While these things can happen to any women in America, there is an especially troubling history of mistreatment and dehumanization of women from minority groups. They continue to be the most vulnerable to violence.
Native American women, in particular, have a long history of being characterized as inhuman savages, even by certain church leaders. It’s likely a significant reason why this group has experienced the highest rate of rape in the United States, with 49 percent having suffered instances of sexual violence.
Likewise, the number of transgender women being attacked and murdered is outrageous. Many cities and states force them to use men’s public restrooms, which leaves them unnecessarily vulnerable to potentially deadly violence.
At the heart of this violence lies the way society views these people. When we see them as different from other human beings, our empathy for them decreases and we are able to treat them differently than we would expect to be treated ourselves.
Black women are another group with a long history of dehumanization. For centuries following America’s foundation on chattel slavery, black women were treated more as animals than humans, as if they needed taming by the white man. This disturbing perception has been used to justify countless crimes of rape and abuse, even until our present day, where black women suffer disproportionate injustice.
This injustice can also be seen in current statistics from the United States showing how young black women with a history of sexual abuse are far more likely to be in prison as a result of the abuse they’ve endured than white women with a similar background. Even though only 14 percent of all girls in the United States are black, in juvenile prisons, 33% of the girls are.
As we’ll see in the blinks ahead, women of all races and backgrounds are being subjected to inequality, injustice and limitations to their freedom and liberty.