Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is violence against women?

As part of GABNET's 16 Days of Activism, we asked people to talk about violence against women...

Gina George
"[To end violence against women] it has to be a life-long struggle for women, for men. We can't do it in one effort, one event or effort; we have to do it consistently in our lives whether that's publicly or privately..." Listen to audio interview

"G.," 12-years-old
"I guess violence would be aggressive force against an individual or group of individuals..." Listen to audio interview

Garrett Kaske
"Non-physical forms of violence come in many different ways. A lot of [women] working for less pay in comparison to a man's pay, that can definitely be construed as a form of violence..." Listen to audio interview

Oi Hu
a) How have you been a survivor/victim of violence, a witness of violence against women or a perpetrator of violence against women? I have never been a victim of violence, a witness to violence or a perpetrator of violence. I hope that I would be smart enough not to surround myself with people who have violent tendencies or display abusive behavior. Non-Physical Violence? Insulting/Belittling, Yelling, Controlling and overbearing attitudes. Another one is guilt - inflicting guilt. Telling someone they are childish or that they are "disappointed" in them for silly things. These types of actions do bring a person's perception of their own self worth down several notches. Making a person feel less worthy and trapped can lead to suicide or attempted suicide. Thinking about guilting a woman brings me to thinking about how not just partners/spouses/boyfriends can do this to a woman, but how parents, family and friends can also do this to a person.

b) What do you consider as violence against women? Obviously the physical abuse immediately comes to mind as violence against women. Hitting, spitting, beating, and belittling. Most definitely, domestic abuse comes to mind as well. No [I don't violence is perpetrated only against/by individuals]. I think parents, family and "friends" which can be groups of people can inflict a woman with both verbal and physical abuse. I believe that a person prone to abuse and violence, whether it is physical or not has a history of doing it to others in the past or even multiple people at once. Bullies usually don't have just one victim.

c) What do you think is the main source of violence against women? Domestic partners/or the person you are in a relationship with. Domestic abuse is the biggest problem, because a person is torn by their feelings for the perpetrator and what would happen if they reported them. This is probably what makes this type of abuse so common and the most dangerous. Common because you see the abuser so often. Dangerous because you do not want to report them because of love or loyalty. Most times, I believe that a person has low self-esteem or has been traumatized into thinking that they deserve or warrant the abuse. This type of thinking is what makes certain women (people in general) an easy prey for perpetrators of abuse. I know I am wrong though. So many women who are strong and intelligent never imagine themselves to be victims of violence/abuse, but do end up as victims. I don't want it to sound like I am making excuses for the men who abuse women. I am not. I believe that they purposely take advantage of what they mightknow about a person and use that to insult them or to hit them. I think it is a predator who knows how to pick and pull apart their victim that makes a predator so powerful. Usually the predator would have to be fairly close to a person to be able to break them down in such a manner. A person is probably extra vulnerable when they are overcome by their personal feelings (usually love or loyalty) for a person and just swallows the abuse. I feel women are more vulnerable to violence because women are more compassionate and sympathetic to their abusers than men might be.

d) How do we end violence against women? Educate women. Educate men. Make people aware that violence is not acceptable and to treat women with respect. Make women aware of their self worth so that they are not easily targeted. learn self-defense, build communities. Educating people is the only thing I can think of. Community programs. Educational PSAs. More general awareness. Believe it or not, those Truth ads about smoking do impact people. Ads with women with black eyes or hospitalized and making statistics known are also very powerful. I've seen a few in the past, but not so often. Awareness. Seems to be a big factor. those who are not aware they are victims or victimizers may get the message. Maybe not, but if others can identify the abuse, it could save a woman's life.

We asked people:
a) How have you been a survivor/victim of violence, a witness of violence against women or a perpetrator of violence against women?
b) What do you consider as violence against women?
c) What do you think is the main source of violence against women?
d) How do we end violence against women?

No comments: