Today is Equal Pay Day — a day where we take action to ensure women are valued equally for their work as their male counterparts. It is important to center women who are doubly impacted by their race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability among other intersections of identity.
Now, many of you are thinking, "YES. This is a cause I can get behind, but what does it have to do with sexual violence?"
Pay inequality is one of many indicators of a society that values men above women, particularly regarding intellectual pursuits and expressions of professional competence. The power imbalance inherent in this dynamic perpetuates behaviors that allow men to express or exert dominance over their female counterparts.
It is important to express here that folks of all genders and gender identities are affected by sexual violence. The male-female dynamic is far from an exhaustive examination of this issue. The University of Michigan reports, however, that over 99% of perpetrators of sexual violence are men and 60% of them are white. Hierarchies of power based on gender, gender identity race, sexual orientation, and ability among other issues directly contribute to this issue. According to Stefanie Johnson, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, sexual harassment and assault are more common in places where women are heavily outnumbered and the most powerful positions are disproportionately held by men.