A Chicago woman, partly inspired by Spike Lee’s anticipated and controversial film Chi-Raq, has decided to curb gang and gun violence in her community by implementing a sex strike until the killings end.
April Lawson, who has started a Change.org petition to call men and women to join her in the strike, notes that the apathetic response to the deaths of Tyshawn Lee — a 9-year-old boy who was targeted in a gang shooting earlier this month — and Kaylyn Pryor — a 20-year-old model who was gunned down just hours apart from the child — inspired her to step forth and organize the sex strike to launch the city into a focused action that, hopefully, will eliminate gun violence.
In Lee’s upcoming film (based on the Greek play Lysistrata) women in the community follow a similar tactic to end violence.
“In a patriarchal society, a problem will not be addressed until it directly affects men,” Lawson wrote in her petition. “Abstinence has been used as a means of nonviolent protesting throughout history. Sex strikes are forms of resistance often used to meet political, social or economic goals. Even Spike Lee’s new film Chi-Raq is nothing more than a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence. So I got to thinking, why shouldn’t life imitate art? Maybe these ladies are on to something.”
To naysayers, Lawson reassures that using sex as a weapon in relationships is not her usual modus operandi.
“I want to preface this by saying I’m not usually in favor of using sex as a weapon in relationships. Communication to me is paramount and I’d sooner opt for talking it over. But drastic times call for drastic measures,” she writes.
Furthermore, sex strikes have historically been effective – as pointed out by the Chicagoist – in Kenya, the Philippines, Liberia (thanks Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee) and in Colombia, where women held a 10-day strike in 2006 to end gang fighting.
As of Monday afternoon, Lawson has reached nearly 80 of the 100 signatures she’s requesting for the strike.
Among her supporters is Lee himself, who posted this to Instagram to highlight Lawson’s effort.
Lawson plans to hold a rally to gather her supporters this week.