Women & Gender in the Modern World

7

WOMEN AND GENDER IN THE MODERN WORLD

Women&amp Gender in the Modern World

Issuespertaining to gender violence have been rampant in the news and inthe current discussion forums. This is because gender violenceregardless of who it is directed violates human rights provisions andit has adverse effects to the victim and to the whole family atlarge. Studies have shown that gender violence is widespread andoccurs in all societies regardless of geographical location, socialstatus, cultural beliefs and religious beliefs. In many cases ofgender violence the victim is usually a woman and the perpetrator ofthe violence is her male counterpart. However, the personal safetysurvey indicated that one in every three victims of gender violenceis a male with perpetrators being female. The prevalence rate ofgender violence is more in women 2/3rds than in men 1/3(Nationalintimate Partner and sexual violence Survey,2010).This paper will focus on violence against women and children, itsconsequential effect and measures taken by the society to tackle thesituation.

Violenceagainst women and children takes many forms. Whether it is conductedpublicly or privately, in offices and in homes it involves a widerange of behaviors. One form of violence against women is physicalabuse. Women are physically weaker than their male counterparts andincase of a heated arguments, the later likely to subject them tophysical beating. Similarly, violence against women may be in form ofsexual abuse. Sexual assault includes every act of forced sex such assexual activities without consent, rape, assaulting of genitals orusing sexually degrading insults. 35 percent of the women worldwidehave experienced sexual abuse from their intimate partners or non-partners. According to the report by National intimate Partner andsexual violence Survey, 19.3% 0f women in US had been raped. Also,early marriages to forced partners have also contributed to violenceagainst women.More often than not, children are married below theage of 18 years. Such brides are unable to negotiate for safer sexexposing them to sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancies. Women from poor families are more likely to be married in theirchildhood than women from wealthy families.

Womenalso suffer from social abuse where they are blamed by their partnerson everything that goes wrong. Social abuse occurs when a woman isisolated by the family members and friends. Such families are rudetowards the woman, forbidding them from meeting their friends or everleaving their homes. Lastly, women are subjected to economic abusewhere by all family finances and property are controlled by theirpartners. They are not allowed to have or access bank accounts andthey are only provided with minimum amount of money to run the household chores.

Violencehas adverse negative effects on women ranging from immediate effectsto long-term effects. Such women may suffer from emotional distress,physical malformations and disabilities due to physical assault. Theyfeel unsafe and are unable to fully participate in their societies.Among the most recent reported cases of the violence against women isthe murder of Sylvie Cachay, 33, a fashion designer who was strangledand drowned in a hotel bath tub by her intimate partner, NicholasBrooks. Before she was murdered, she had previously suffered fromphysical and emotional violence and tried to break up with herpartner. January 2014, CBS News

Anothercase that geared domestic violence was reported in Pennsylvania,whereby the landlords had put a policy of evicting tenants who callthe police more than three times in four months in their homes. Mostof the victims of domestic violence feared to call the police sincethey feared losing their homes. The ordinance placed by theNorristown’s blamed domestic violence victims for crimes occurringin their homes. Briggs was one of the tenants who feared calling thepolice. Her ex- boyfriend has been physically assaulting her andended up stabbing her in the neck with broken glass. Sep 2014, ABC 7News

Similarly,the case of Jessica Gonzales about the murder of her three daughtersby her husband brought into attention the failures of US governmentto protect women from spousal violence. The case is about JessicaGonzales daughters who were abducted by her estranged husband andkilled after the Colorado police failed to enforce a restrainingorder against the husband. Gonzales had repeatedly informed thepolice about her fears of the safety of her three daughters but thepolice did not respond. Later on, her husband appeared in the policestation and attempted to fire, where he was shot by the police. Thebodies of her three daughters were found lying in the pick-up. Thecommission ruled in favor of Jessica and recommended reforms infederal and state levels to ensure protection of women and childrenfrom domestic violence. October 2014, ABC 7 News

Manywomen who were murdered by their spouses were pleading for help fromthe authorities begging for protection before their deaths (Ward,2009 53). The major reason why many women and children are killed isbecause someone in the legal authority was reluctant in addressingtheir plea of justice and protection thereby letting such crimes goesunpunished. Other victims lack safe exit plan or strategies as theyfear losing their homes and families. Victims of economic violencemay also lack finances to help them exit. Making such resourcesavailable will help the victims of gender based violence to escapebefore it is too late.

Unfortunately,it is noted that some forms of violence against women seem to befostered by the manner in which the government treats women.According to Crowl and Gottell (2008 208), individuals that aretreated with some element of inequality by the government becomevulnerable to societal discrimination, as well as racism in instanceswhere they are from a different ethnic group. This is the case forthe aboriginal women, who are victims of even more inequalitycompared to their male counterparts. In the same book, Jiwani bringsto the fore the case of a 14-year old called Reena Virk who had beenmurdered in Victoria, British Colombia. Even worse is the fact thatshe was beaten by a group of girls and a young boy. Even worse is themanner in which the media treated the issue, avoiding subjects suchas pressures of assimilation, racism and sexism as they concentratedon girl-on-girl violence (Crowl &amp Gottell, 2008 180). Ininstances where the media concentrated on these issues, they focusedon aspects such as her appearance, insinuating that her height andheaviness barred her from acceptance into the society (Crowl &ampGottell, 2008 180).

Inaddition, it is noted that the violence against women may be rootedin the degradation of women. Gender stereotypes have underlined thenotion that women are inferior intellectually, in which case they areincapable of making decisions or voicing their concerns in a coherentmanner. This is exactly why few people take seriously their ideas ormany men do not believe that a “no” means “no” and thatanything short of a “yes” is a no (Crowl &amp Gottell, 2008202).

Inconclusion, violence against women exposes a country into hugeeconomic burden due to the tremendous costs involved. The costsinclude health care, legal cost, reduced productivity and loss ofinnocent lives. The US Government spends $92 million dollars onaverage per year on gender violence related activities (USAIDreport in 2010, pp 7).Gender violence affects every community across ethnic groups andsocial economic status (Neft , 1998132). Crimes such as domesticviolence are so rampant that they have become public health crisis.Many countries have made effort to protect women by incorporatinglaws against such violent acts against women. The major burden lieson the implementation of such laws which denies women access tojustice. The government should therefore, instigate efforts to curbviolence against women and hold the police accountable if they fail.However, efforts of the government by itself are not enough to curbviolence against women, domestic violence and violence againstmarginalized groups. Systems which will bring together the efforts ofthe advocates, community members and survivors to help the victims ofsuch violent cases create safe exit plans and report them.

References

Morgan,J (2004). LaboringWomen: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery,New York: University of Penn. Press

Neft,N &amp Levine, A (1998). WhereWomen Stand: An International Report on the Status of Women.New York: Random House

Ward,M &amp Edelstein, M. A (2009). World Full ofWomen(6th edition). New York: Pearson