Sex Strike Brings End to Violence
By the two Goddesses, now can't you see all we have to do is idly sit indoors with smooth roses powdered on our cheeks, our bodies burning naked through the folds of shining Amorgos' silk, and meet the men with our dear Venus-plats plucked trim and neat. Their stirring love will rise up furiously, they'll beg our arms to open. That's our time! We'll disregard their knocking, beat them off -- and they will soon be rabid for a Peace. I'm sure of it.
So speaks Lysistrata, the protagonist in the classic Greek play by Aristophanes, which tells the tale of women trying to resolve the Peloponnesian War by withholding sexual pleasure from their warring husbands. Though originally performed in 411 BC the play finds relevance once again today due to the actions of the women on Mindanao Island in the Philippines.
The women, tired of the unrest in their rural community decided to put an end to the discord by launching a sex strike, telling their husbands that they would withhold sex from them until they promised to quit fighting.
Photo by Eric Molina.
The idea sprung to life during a sewing cooperative sponsored by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Peace would not only enable them to rebuild their devastated villages, but also enable them to safely transport their products and help the economy of the island's population.
The plan worked. According to the UNHCR, within two weeks, the main road to the village was once again accessible and the fighting had stopped. The women have been able to deliver their products and work to rebuild the community is underway.
According to CNN, this is not the first time women have implemented such measures to put an end to violence. In 2009, women in Kenya withheld sex to protest the divide in the government, and in 2006, the girlfriends and wives of drug-trafficking gang members in Pereira, Colombia, used the tactic to get their men to put down their guns and make some lifestyle changes.