This is a test for humankind, for both men and women, a trial to see how developed, or how barbaric and sickening, we are as a species. 2018. The statistics stand as they were twenty years ago. One third of women are victims of some form of abuse in their lifetimes, everywhere, in all regions, in all social and economic strata, in all groups whatever the age, race, color or creed. It is an absolutely disgusting, sickening and shameful comment on the revolting species called Homo sapiens, an unwanted, ignorant parasite blemishing this planet, destroying it from the bottom of its seas until way up into space, behaving with less decency than any of the animals we cohabit this place with. Year after year the same statistics come churning out of the nauseating reports on gender violence, documenting hideous crimes against the person, creating a demonic charter of a total lack of respect, denoting a selfish, arrogant, egotistical psyche common to so many billions of “men” who think it is their right to beat, rape, molest or harass women and girls to prove their masculinity. FIST: Fear, Impunity, Silence, Terror, the acronym says it all. Fear of ridicule, fear of reprisals, fear of being beaten when the drunken slob comes home and inflicts his ugly presence on the family, impunity because he will do it time and time and time and time and time again and he knows that nothing will happen to him, until that one day when he goes too far and murders his wife, or daughter; silence, his greatest ally and the one thing which will guarantee that he will repeat the cycle of behavior, right after the first “episode”: be sure, he will do it again. And terror, a life ruined, hopes destroyed, a feeling of worthlessness because it’s common practice to slap the wife or girlfriend around. Legal systems are blind, ignorant or connivant, meaning that domestic violence is treated differently from other forms of violence towards third parties. A slap on the face is treated as a domestic incident to be swept under the carpet whereas is should be tried in court as a case of actual bodily harm, at the very least, incurring a custodial sentence of a minimum of five years without frills and with hard labor… and we all know what happens in prison to those who beat up women. But it won’t happen, will it? And next year’s figures will be the same as this year’s, and last year’s, and from the year before. Unless people do something about it. You can start by reading the message from the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, then visit the UN Women website and find out what initiatives you can become involved in. Published in Daily Times, December 23rd 2018.