Battling Violence Against Women

By: Alice Xu
Violence against women is a growing phenomenon. Recent national studies have shown that 35 percent of women have either experienced sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) or non-partner sexual violence, an issue that accounts for 38 percent of the murdered female population4. Despite the ratification of several policies to help combat this problem, it is still an ongoing issue and doesn’t receive the adequate amount of action it deserves. India contains, arguably, some of the most prominent manifestations of violence against women, where approximately 93 women are raped each day1.

Back in 2012, several men gang raped a young woman in Delhi who died days later suffering from major internal injuries. Her death immediately shed light upon the brutal extent of violence against women, galvanizing the public to take action. Several sources indicated that the main cause of this issue was the hidden patriarchal system, ingrained into contemporary Indian society1,2.
Under this system, men are given the privilege of shaming women whom speak out to demonstrate their chauvinistic control1,2. In fact, a study conducted by the International Center for Research on Women, highlighted that approximately three-fifths of the men interviewed claimed to have harmed their partners at least once. Worse, the center also commented that the “average Indian man is “convinced that masculinity is about… above all, controlling women”1. This evidence demonstrates how we must work together to transform this mentality.
If we don’t work together to change this, we run the risk of weakening, rather than strengthening gender norms. Moreover, from a global perspective, India isn’t the only country where cases of female abuse are silenced. UN Women asserts that 14 percent of 42,000 women from several parts of the European Union also reported extremely serious IPV cases3. When you take into consideration the alarming rate of growth in these cases internationally, you realize that there is much left unsaid that needs to be said.

Victim blaming, the act of accusing victims for harm inflicted on themselves, factors into the equation as well, as pointed out by Naila Kabeer in her article. After all, men aren’t the only ones who uphold highly misogynistic lenses. In 2012, an investigation that surveyed men and women on Indian public transportation together reported that 59% and 14% of the male and female sample believed that the way women dressed encouraged unwanted sexual conduct2.

Similarly, in response to the murder of a female journalist at night, Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit, commented that the woman shouldn’t have been so bold2. Unfortunately, remarks like these perpetuate the notion that women must always act in accordance with the rules of the patriarchy. This only means one, extremely dangerous thing: when a woman’s dress appears to be perceived as indecent, her rape is not counted as a breach of individuality, but as a well-deserved punishment. Women shouldn’t have to be confined into these labels: the “indecent,” “the vicious” and the “blamed.”

So, what has been done to end this horrid phenomenon as a whole and how can we help? Perhaps, we can start with the action of counteraction. Counteraction doesn’t allow the expansion of patriarchal norms and promotes education of gender equality instead. It disposes the idea that men and women must conform to the stereotypes set upon them.
Currently, the World Health Organization is working to compile a wider range of evidence in the hopes of gaining more support from other organizations to lower the national death toll of women4. As such, this would require some, whom have been silent, to share the violent experiences they have experienced. Hopefully, violence against women can decrease drastically in the near future through this new idea and better sense willingness.



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