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Violence against women, what possesses men?
27 March 2013
You’d think in 2013 that the theme for International Women's Day – Ending Violence Against Women – would be unnecessary? Think again. Whether you live in a first world country with first world problems, a developing or war torn nation, the fact is violence against women, perpetrated in the most part by men, remains staggeringly high and widespread.
Our Ruby of the Month Tracey Spicer has been following the rape of sixteen year old girl by two young men and the part other young men played in watching, videoing and taking pictures of the incident which they later posted on social media. We aren’t talking young men traumatised by war or with little or no education or from a background where the place of women is far from what we experience here. We are talking about a college town in the US and the young people living there.
It’s a distressing and sickening case of young men exhibiting complete disregard for another human being – a vulnerable, young girl, who also happened to be very drunk.
The defense for the young men: ‘she didn’t affirmatively say no’.
Violence against women is a human rights violation. At the recent UN breakfast we attended for IWD the message that came out loud and clear was that all women need strong laws, backed by implementation and services for protection and prevention of violence.
Violence against women takes many forms, affects girls and women of all ages and is not confined to a specific culture, region or country.
There’ s domestic and intimate partner violence, including physical and sexual attacks against women, as well as psychological and emotional abuse in the home, within the family or within an intimate relationship: a woman is killed almost every week in Australia by a male partner or ex-partner.
Sexual violence refers to violence by non-partners such as a relative, friend or stranger. Sexual violence is underreported due to feelings of shame experienced by women who have been sexually abused.
The there are the harmful traditional practices: which present specific threats to the safety and health of women, such as female genital mutilation/cutting, dowry murder and honour killings.
And violence against women in war and armed conflict, where rape is often used as a tactic of war by armed groups. Violence against women is reported in every war zone.
On top of this there is the abuse perpetrated by men when their personal attitude towards women leaves much to be desired. The most noticeably public example of this abuse has to be radio-man John Laws astounding comments to a female listener about the abuse she underwent from the age of 6 at the hands of members of her family. Had she been provocative, he asked, and was it “her fault” she had been raped at six?
Laws and his like need to listen to the young man who was one of the speakers at the UN breakfast. He is exhorting young men to get together and impress on all men, and especially on older men who you would think would know better, that violence and violence against women in particular is just not on.
The violence of politics has also been playing itself out on the public stage.
Whatever you think about our Prime Minister, she has amazing resilience. When she leads she leads. There’s no knocking her down and no giving up. Short of a miracle, I’m not holding out much chance for her winning the election but you can be sure she won’t go down without having fought the fight. “Bring it on,” as she would say.