Suicide is the Most Common Cause of Death for Women 15 to 19 Years Old

June 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Periodically I take online continuing education courses as part of maintaining my licenses in a medical field. I was kind of sleepwalking through one of these recently when I came across a sentence that got my full attention. “World wide ... for girls aged 15 to 19 years, it [suicide] is the most common cause of death.”

Download the PDF of this pamphlet: A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity

Think of the pain, degradation, anguish, and violence against women concentrated in this one stark fact. Think of the young women whose despair and hopelessness at escaping the violence and degradation inflicted on them leads them to take their own lives. Think of a global system of exploitation, oppression, and male domination of women that embraces and amplifies this suffering, and has its tentacles in every country on the planet.

And see if you can think of any reason why anyone should abide the continued existence of such a system. No one with any sense of basic decency should tolerate conditions of such despair for so many young women worldwide.

18-year-old Ashley Billasano’s young life in Texas was a nightmare of molestation, rape, and forced prostitution. She went to a school teacher and the police to report her rapist. In the day before her death she tweeted over 140 messages describing her ordeals, both at the hands of her rapist and of the authorities who didn’t believe her. A friend of Ashley’s said, “police and CPS [Children’s Protective Service] acted like it was nothing. She said it was like they did not want to believe her. So, to go on living when someone hurt her, and no one ever did anything about itwouldn’t that drive you insane? To feel ignored by people who were supposed to help you. That was crazy. She had support from me and my boyfriend and her mom, but she did not have justice.”

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. It is also one of the major sources of “human trafficking” in the world. Thousands of women have been kidnapped and sold into prostitution in Western Europe and the Middle East. A young woman named Angela told a reporter: “I did not want to go to work as a prostitute. I started crying and said I wanted to go back home, and I did not want to work. They told me, ‘If you don’t work, you’ll end up dead and buried in sand in the desert.’ I got scared, and I went with them. From 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., we had to work in a disco. All day long, we were locked up in a house. When we would not have enough clients, they would beat us up and lock us up until 9. When I did not want to work, they kept me locked up for a week and beat me. I got really scared, and I tried to swallow pills to make them get me out of the house [to a hospital]. But they simply sold me in another city.” Angela survived that ordeal—many other young Moldovan women have not.

In rural China, Liu Xiufang drank pesticide to escape the endless abuse she suffered from her husband and mother-in-law. They hounded her because she had given birth to two daughters but no boys. Her husband assaulted her when she tried to use contraception. Then he almost killed her when her third child was a girl. A little over three months later, Liu Xiufang swallowed the poison that put an end to her life. According to a 2009 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 500 women killed themselves each day in China in 2009, most of them rural women who drank pesticide.

This shit is unacceptable! A system that has no future for tens of millions of young women is thoroughly outmoded! A system that terrorizes masses of women and drives them to take their own lives rather than continue with the horror of their lives has lost any pretense of legitimacy!

Embedded Violence

Another report issued by the WHO last year says that suicide accounts for 71 percent of the violent deaths of women globally. These figures are difficult to quantify precisely, for several reasons. As the WHO study acknowledges, “it is very likely that [suicide] is under reported.”

Deep, violent oppression of women, denial of their most basic rights as full human beings, predates capitalism. It is embedded in cultures that span the planet. It is expressed in many languages. It is justified by religious beliefs and social custom. It is enshrined and codified in law. And it has been reinforced and taken to monstrous dimensions in an era in which the entire world has been drawn into and transformed by the larger framework of domination by the capitalist system.

This system has changed and incorporated some of the forms that so bitterly oppress women worldwide. But it has not, and it can not, change the oppression. In fact, it perpetuates and has intensified that oppression.

Bob Avakian has addressed this question deeply. In his talk BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, he said:

... the division of society into masters and slaves, into different classes, developed together with the oppression of women. These were very tightly bound together in their historical development and have remained so throughout the course of history since that time, through different kinds of societies. And today we can see the ways in which the oppression of women—not just in a particular country, but on a world scale—continues to feed the functioning of this capitalist-imperialist system. Not only, as I pointed out, is it highly profitable, in the billions and billions of dollars, to oppress women in sex trafficking, prostitution, and pornography, but also the backward conditions that are maintained and enforced by the functioning and the military power of the imperialist countries throughout the Third World lead to a situation where many women are outcast and desperate and highly vulnerable to being exploited in this vast network of sweatshops that is at the foundation of imperialist capital in the world today.

Break All the Chains!

Break ALL the Chains!
Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition | Full Work

But there is a way out, and it is revolution, actual revolution, to overturn the institutions of oppression, uproot the economic conditions they are rooted in, transform the social relations that reinforce those conditions, and revolutionize the thinking of the people. And most of all that means breaking the stranglehold capitalism-imperialism has on the world.

The world urgently needs the most radical of revolutions. Such a revolution is possible, and Bob Avakian has developed a new synthesis of communism that provides the architecture and the method of making such a revolution.



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"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a younger generation revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.