Friday, May 7, 2010

Blog 8: Violence, Rape, Sexual Abuse

Women as victims of physical and sexual violence occurs too often world-wide. With only a small fraction of rapes and abuses reported, statistics and recognition of the issue is undermined. When unaffected people hear about women who are victimized, they cannot believe or understand to what extent the consequences entails. From psychological to social issues, rape and abuse leaves a permanent mark on women who experience the power of these actions. But how can we solve this overbearing problem?

Gendered Based Violence (GBV) is the biggest battle we have to conquer because this what is victimizing millions of women every day. According to the World Health Organization, GBV has caused more deaths and disabilities among women 15-44 years of age than any type of disease and war combined. This shows the intensity of GBV's consequences and how women are being effected whether it be through death or a long-term disability. There are many types of GBV that takes place across the world, but all have the same goal of targeting women. An example from the readings is infanticides. This is when a female infant is killed in order to eliminate its existence within a patriarchal society. The practice of infanticides is most prevalent in Asia and North Africa where an uncountable number of infants have been killed due to the their gender. This technique of gender elimination and domination is inhumane and incredibly accepted by male-dominated societies. Just think of how many baby girls have not been given the chance to see the light of day due to the unfortunate fate of their gender.

Another example of GBV is domestic violence, where the abundance of female victims reinforces the struggles of this battle. The effects of race and class leave domestic violence victims to face an intense amount of stigmas. These generalizations only give excuses for not fixing the situation and avoiding getting involved. For example, in one of the readings, a Korean woman who is abused by her husband does not want to ask for help because she believes it will create a stigma against her and other Korean women. Although the physical abuse was evident through her bruises, she denied any such abuse in order to keep herself away from racial stigmas. She did not want to be associated with whatever type of stereotypes that are given to Korean females who are being domestically abused. This example shows the difficulties in battling the war of GBV. How can we progress if the victims will not or cannot come forward? The pressure of the patriarchy and social stigmas are silencing the ones that need to be heard the most.

Is there any way that this issue can be solved? The first step I believe that should be taken is giving victims a voice. This does not mean representatives within the government sign a piece of paper that gives minimal funding to women's shelters and health clinics, but realizing the extent of the aftermath of GBV. Women need more than a place to go, but a place where they can feel guaranteed to be heard. If we ignore the root of the problem, being the lack of reporting incidents, then the cycle of violence will only continue. Yes, we do need shelters, clinics, and funding for other resources. But the focus should be on preventing women from becoming victims, not helping them after they have been attacked. In order to push forward in the war of GBV, we must start from where it begins. Thus, the prevention of victimization is vital for the elimination of gender based violence.