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Silence is the Enemy

June 1, 2009

The more people blog on a subject, the less I feel like blogging about it. At best there’s nothing new I can add. At worst it’s following the herd rather than using your own voice. There’s certainly plenty of people blogging on this topic and I’m not particularly well-informed on subject. Silence is the Enemy is a campaign protest against the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

There are good reasons to join this particular herd. At the moment the campaign is mainly based in science blogs, It’s not a science issue, it’s a human issue. In my case visitors here tend to come from both the arts and sciences, so this is a way of helping spread the message. If you have a weblog of your own, your can add your voice and hopefully reach more people. Part of the campaign is to link to the Donate page of Médecins Sans Frontières, so there is one use there. The other is the publicity for other sites. This might alert in the cynic in you, so I’ll explain it shouldn’t.

The Intersection, On Becoming A Laboratory And Domestic Goddess, Aetiology, Bioephemera, Neurotopia, The Questionable Authority, DrugMonkey, and Adventure In Ethics And Science will be donating all revenue this month to Médecins Sans Frontières. If you’re cynical you might think they’re taking a small hit in earnings for plenty of publicity. In fact the balance is far, far more likely to be the other way round. These are all big blogs. The residual effect of any increase in readership after June will be tiny compared to the loss of income they take for the month. If this was about marketing there are much better ways to do it. Linking to these sites and asking people to visit will not be making a mug of you.

The campaign would also like to see this become a global issue. So what they’re doing is linking to this page, so you can contact your Congressman. This doesn’t sit well with the intention to make it a global issue. Readers in the UK would probably have more success at finding a local representative at TheyWorkForYou. People in other countries might want to link to their own governments. For the moment I’ll be holding off writing till I see if there’s a concrete proposal to make to an MP. I’m sure they’re against rape too, but it would be better to see something they could do rather than just agree it’s a Bad Thing. Hopefully something positive will come out of discussion.

Making a positive step is the biggest reason of all for supporting the campaign. Certainly there are many atrocities which have happened, but it doesn’t just need bad people to commit them. It also requires many other people to stand watching and say nothing. Silence is the Enemy is a very apt title. If something can be done to raise awareness of the actions in Africa, hopefully it will also get people asking what we can do to tackle sexual violence in the UK. To add your voice read Sheril Kirshenbaum’s post at the Intersection.


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