In the collaborative relationship between men and women, since the men are stronger it has commonly been understood that men protect the women they love. This means a husband protects his wife and daughters, a brother his sisters, a son his mother. There is no disparagement of women in this--their intellect is equal, and while their strength varies, when a woman is pregnant or nursing, devoted to the care of her dependents, or aging, it makes sense for her to depend on men who are not physically compromised.
But what if there are no men in her life? How is that possible? And where does she turn? A frightening statistic has emerged from Sweden that shows the vulnerability of women in the face of male aggression:
In the first seven months of 2013, over 1,000 Swedish women reported being raped by Muslim immigrants in the capital city of Stockholm. Over 300 of those were under the age of 15. The number of rapes is up 16% so far this year compared to 2012 numbers. A large proportion of the increase include rape of young [pre-teen] girls.
To add to the horror, it is estimated that only 10-20% of sexual assaults are even reported to the police--and this is only one city. I remember reading a few years ago that many female students felt so vulnerable, they literally ran from where the school bus dropped them in the afternoons to their homes where they locked themselves in until their mums returned from work. (This data shows that a full quarter of Swedish women change their travel habits for fear of crime.)
Another statistic has to be considered: the majority of children in Sweden (and other Nordic countries) are born out of wedlock. While the father may be in the home, there may be no marriage bond, and of course the man in the home may not be the biological father of the children in the home. Furthermore, Sweden has one of the highest rates of female employment in the world (although feminists are not happy with the breakdown among industries, and they lament that the bulk of household chores and childcare are still left to women). So women work, they have fully-subsidised childcare for children aged one and over, and marriage is simply an option that may be considered after one or two children.
What is missing in the entire equation? The importance of fatherhood. There is the priority of statistical parity for women, there is the government provision of childcare, and there is companionship between men and women when it suits, but there is currently no imbedded cultural construct for men other than as erstwhile partners for women. The government's goals are clear:
Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is the overall goal for gender equality policy. To reach this goal we need to have the knowledge about the situation of women and men in society. With the help of facts in the form of statistics we can follow the terms of women and men in a number of areas. The statistics can be used in gender equality analyses that are needed to integrate a gender equality perspective in all activities.
Whither fatherhood? In this statistical game, a father's protective care for his offspring (or others!) is reduced to numbers on a spreadsheet, and who is harmed? Thousands of women and girls assaulted each year. If fathers are absent, then where can these girls turn? As it stands, neither the state nor the UN will address the horror. Saint Joseph, pray for us!