In this age of political correctness, gender based violence is still as prevalent and just as much of a threat as it was fifty or a hundred years ago. Millions of females worldwide are victimized daily by both strangers and men they are related to or love. The statistics are absolutely horrifying.
According to a report done by Amnesty International in 2004:
- At least one in three women, or up to one billion women, have been beaten, forced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes. Most of the culprits are men in her family or other people she knows.
- Up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their husbands or partners.
- In Egypt 35% of women reported being physically assaulted by their spouses at some time in their marriage.
- In the United States, a woman is beaten, typically by her husband or partner, every fifteen seconds.
- In Pakistan, 42% of women accept violence as their fate and 33% feel helpless to do anything about it.
- In Canada, 1 in 3 females report experiencing violence.
The study goes on to say that “one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime” and that in the United States, “a woman is raped every 90 seconds”. Although the statistics are incredibly high- and the actual numbers are probably much higher, reports consistently say that less than half of all women report abuse. Why is it that women feel they have to stay silent? Why do they feel the need to stay hidden in the shadows? Perhaps it is because they (correctly) perceive that the world around them is not a hospitable place for women who raise their voices.
Criminal justice systems are certainly not the route to go: they are often inefficient and instead of helping women, they endanger them even further. Even if the men are punished, the sentences are almost always light. The family laws effective in many Western countries are also not big confidence-boosters for women. Family is oftentimes not the route to go either: women are mistakenly seen as property, and thus the husband or partner has the right to do what he pleases. The only way for women to prevent further violence against themselves is to leave the situation for good. It is an incredibly difficult step for any female to take, and it is especially challenging for a woman who lives in a repressive country.
It is high time for us as a society to stand together and pledge our support for the millions of nameless women who have ever suffered at the hands of a man. We need to replace the environment of fear and oppression with an environment of compassion and advocacy. It is time we let all women’s voices be heard.