The ability to make your own choices mentioned is also Bodily Autonomy. Women empowerment is about promoting women’s self-confidence, self-worth, ability to make their own choices, and the right to influence others. Every woman should understand what it is for as it is a fundamental human right of every woman.
Political repression, growing hate-fueled violence, restriction of reproductive rights, and freedom of movement are all observed today, part of natural rights. It usually affects women and girls around the world. It aims to make every people realize that human rights are innate in every race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, and any other forms.
What does Bodily Autonomy mean?
Bodily autonomy, or Body autonomy, is the concept that an individual has solely the right to control his/her bodily, and what happens to it. It is what every woman needs to empower themselves. It is the power that makes them stand on their own in every adversary. It gives them the courage to achieve what they want and what they believe. Everyone must feel that they are the master of their own.
Why is bodily autonomy important?
Many people do not realize that bodily autonomy is a right everyone deserves. Never realizing it results in sexual abuse, sexual harassment, coercion, and intimate partner violence. Being aware of what exactly bodily autonomy means and understanding fully gives you the advantage to stand up and know your privilege and right in the community. These includes:
Freedom from any form of violence
It is the freedom from any form of violence and brutality and where your physical safety is protected. It is not by not being threatened by those around you and those in power. It includes the harassment of law enforcement based on race, gender, engagement in sex work, disability, and immigration status.
To realize the freedom from any stigma, prejudice, and any bigotry. The specific examples are those criminalized based on HIV status and those being monitored and confined by immigration officers or police. It also includes having the freedom of living in a safe community away from environmental hazards and those that can gain respect for their rights, lands, and culture.
Power to control labor.
Everyone deserves to have control and be compensated and treated fairly in terms of labor. All women should not experience any form of discrimination based on their sex, HIV status, gender identity, color, and disability. It is by living in an environment without any stigma and hatred that we can achieve this.
Everyone deserves to earn their living wage, with equal pay, and without any form of discrimination or coercion. There should be freedom for joining groups and unions without the fear of losing their job. It also includes gaining the benefits such as paid sick leave, maternity leave, family leave, or disability leave needed to live a decent life.
Capable of migration with ease.
Every woman deserves to travel around without fear of their safety. Regardless of their immigration status, race, and gender, all should be able to move within and across borders without any problems.
It is the right to be able to go back to your country, to seek refuge for any form of safety, and to move without any fear of harassment and profiling. It also includes equal rights on education, employment, and healthcare, basically, all the rights every people are experiencing.
Freedom of expression for gender orientation
It is to live with authenticity and without any restriction in our gender or sexual orientation. It is to exist in public without harassment and discrimination that includes homophobic or transphobic violence.
It is the right to be recognized with your orientation of choice in the social, political, and economic aspects and all institutions. They have equal rights in employment, compensation, and benefits.
Freedom to make decisions in relationships and choose to form families.
It is the right of every woman to utilize and make informed decisions in terms of sexual and reproductive healthcare. To have a comprehensive sexual education that is age and culturally appropriate.
It is to have freedom when and how to raise a family if one decided to regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, income, and disability. The right to have all the access in terms of reproductive healthcare options.
How to teach bodily autonomy?
There is a lot of discussion surrounding the media that pertains to sexual harassment and abuse. What helps prevent it is to start teaching the importance and the concept of bodily autonomy at a young age. Teaching them about boundaries and when to say no is beneficial for them to inherit in the future. Here are some tips on introducing bodily autonomy to children.
Teach anatomic names of their bodily part.
The introduction of bodily parts should begin at the very beginning of the age of awareness of a child. Anatomic names should be taught and not “cute” labels of bodily parts, including your genitalia. You must normalize discussing it that there is nothing wrong and something to be ashamed of in talking about it. Here are the concepts you need to teach and understand:
- Genitals are normal bodily parts, like your hands, nose, ears, and mouth. Every part of your bodily has its function. Teach that genitals are needed for urination, defecation, and birthing of children. They do not need to grasp everything but just make them realize that it is healthy and normal.
- Making them familiar with their genitals and their anatomic name makes them verbalize abuse. It makes the child realizes that nothing is shameful about their bodily. It prevents the perpetrator to take advantage of your child.
- Labeling your genitals with “cute” names or codes may be misunderstood by others and earn an inappropriate response. An example of it is when a child told an adult that someone touches her “cookie”, the adult may interpret it as it is and shrug it off.
Teach them that it is okay to say “NO”
Granting permission to anyone, including adults is a choice a child should realize. Tell them that it is not wrong to say no when they feel like it is against them. It may include inappropriate hugging, kissing, and touching from their friends and strangers. Teach them that there are “okay” touches and not “okay” touches. Here are some points to teach your child:
- In showing affection, handshakes, high-fives, thumbs up, or fist bumps are all alternatives.
- Teach them to directly say “NO” or “STOP”.
- Teach them to respond by saying “You do not have permission to..” when they are uncomfortable.
- Yell “DO NOT TOUCH ME” in inappropriate situations.
- Teach them to do everything to stay away and immediately call Mommy, Daddy, or their trusted adults in dangerous situations.
Teach them to ask permission first.
Teaching them to say “No” is as important as teaching them to ask permission first when interacting with others. It is important to let them understand to ask for permission first on touching others. Let them learn consent at a young age. Here are tips on how to teach asking consent in children:
- Remind them always that it is inappropriate to touch other people without asking first.
- Remind them by telling “We should ask first before touching anyone” or “We do not put our hands on others and their property without asking first”.
- Be a good model in the house by showing examples when interacting with other members of the family. It may include “Can I hug or kiss you?”, “Can I touch your phone?”, “Can I help you go down the slide”?
Help them identify five adults they can turn to for help.
These should include at least three members that are not family. In most cases of abuse, children usually do not tell their parents or any member of the family first. Here are things to instruct your child:
- Tell them to stay away immediately in uncomfortable situations and go to their nearest trusted adult.
- Tell them that if no one believes them or does not do anything about it, they must be persistent and keep finding adults that will.
Bodily autonomy is a right and a freedom that every individual deserves, most importantly those who are most oppressed such as women, girls, and transwomen. Be in control of your own bodily and learn to empower others.
What is Bodily Autonomy?
Bodily autonomy, or Body autonomy, is the concept that an individual has solely the right to control his/her bodily, and what happens to it. More on Diversity for Social Impact
Why Bodily Autonomy?
- Freedom from any form of violence
- Power to control labor.
- Capable of migration with ease.
- Freedom of expression for gender orientation
- Freedom to make decisions in relationships and choose to form families.
- more on the Bodily Autonomy guide