Engendering violence Essay
Violence could occur in various ways and in different levels. It may happen in the form of physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse, and could be inflicted by any individual, groups, institutions or nations. Whatever form of violence is inflicted, it could threaten the body of the violated person in the most complex way (Jarvis, â€œworld of the bodyâ€). The society today is not new with the issue of violence. Every now and then, the media is consistently reporting events that are inhumane.
Although violence could occur among different people, it has been well identified that the prevailing cases of violence are those that are gendered-based. Before one could fully identify gender-based violence, it is an imperative to clarify various definitions that are centered to the area being studied. It should be well understood that the usage of the words gender and sex are needed to be given identification in order to fully understand gender-based violence.
In many cases the words gender and sex are used alternately; however there is a distinction between the two words. Sex is often referred to as the differences in the physical aspects of males and females while gender is known to be the roles of the males and females that are socially-prescribed. Such gender roles are acquired through the process of socialization (Ward, 2002 qtd in Benjamin and Murchinson 3).
While the physical differences between male and female is persistently identified to be something that is easily distinguished and could be possessed in common, the gender roles are wide range and could be found in different aspects of an individualâ€™s life and may apply in various aspects such as access to various resources, responsibilities that are public and private or even during the period of courtship. Although gender roles could be altered in the long run, it should be well understood that these gender roles reflect the position of men, women and children in the society (Benjamin and Murchinson 3-4).
Based from these roles, gender-based violence could be identified as a form of violence that is done to an individual in accordance to the role he or she played within the society. Although such violence could also be directed among men, gender-based violence is prevalent among women and girls. The violence inflicted to females intends to empower hierarchies and strengthen gender inequalities (Benjamin and Murchinson 4). The term gender-based violence is now taking a new context where in it tends to examine and deeply understand the violence against women and discusses the role of gender in inflicting the violence.
The power of gender relations always place women in a more disadvantaged position compared to their male counterparts. Gender-based violence place women at a level where they have less access to resources, information, decision making, benefits and have lesser hold on their rights. Aside from these, gender-based violence are also closely related to violence against women and girls because of the involvement of the idea that women are the subordinate gender in the society (UNIFEM 2-3). In various nations, women and girls are victims of myriads of forms of violence. Most of the cases of violence were not done randomly.
The victims became the targets of the perpetrators because of the reason that they are females. Among the many forms of violence, sexual violence specifically rape is the most commonly inflicted among women. All sexual assaults are done out of aggression, despite of the gender and age of the victim. The primary motivation of the assailant to carry out rape is not centered towards satisfying a sexual desire or an issue of sexual deprivation from the past rather the perpetrator inflicts rape in order to express their power over somebody (Groth qtd in New York City Alliance against sexual assault, â€œFactsheetsâ€).
In most cases of female rape the act of violence was predominantly done by males who all come from socio-economic classes, racial or other ethnic groups. All through out the world, rape is often directed towards women because of their gender, regardless of their age, ethnicity or political affiliation (UNIFEM, â€œviolenceâ€). In the United States alone, it was reported that a woman is raped every two minutes. Just in 1995, the number of women who were raped or sexually assaulted reached over 354,670.
The risk factors for initiating rape were accounted for early sexual experience, stereotyping which include the negative attitudes of males toward females, consumption of alcohol and the acceptance of rape myths (â€œAmerican rape statisticsâ€). In addition, during war and civil conflicts gender-based violence such as rape and sexual abuse were done in order to attack the morale of the enemy including men and women. For others gender-based violence was also conducted as â€œspoils of war. â€ (Benjamin and Murchinson 5)
During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, sexual violence, especially rape was directed or encouraged by the Hutu Militia groups in order to strengthen their goal of destroying the whole Tsutsi clan. At this point in time, the violence was directed towards the Tsutsi women due to their gender and ethnicity. Furthermore, the sexuality of the Tsutsi women was also regarded by the Hutuâ€™s, who were the genocide perpetrators, as a medium that could be used by the Tsutsi community to infiltrate the community of the Hutus.
Because of this reason, the propaganda of sexually violating the Tsutsi women became prevalent in order to dehumanize and subjugate the Tsusti community as a whole. Aside from the Tsutsi women other Hutu women were also targeted for rape by their own tribesmen because they were associated with Tsutsi men who are considered as an opposition (Norwojee, â€œShattered livesâ€). During the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Muslim women were raped and sexually abused as a part of the so-called â€œethnic cleansingâ€ for the establishment of the Greater Serbia, which is said to be ethically pure.
On the basis of investigations, it was estimated that over 20,000 women became the victims of rape and sexual abuse. It was also documented that the rape was directed among the women in order to impose humiliation among the victims, their families and the community where they belong (WomenAid International, â€œEC investigative missionâ€). Much has been written about the prevalence of rape and rape reporting among females. However, it was stated earlier in the study that gender-based violence could also occur among males.
In the case of rape, males are often disregarded about the issue because of the social context that males are the initiators of the sexual act, or if not they are considered as the dominating gender and that the women should be take the submissive role (Gagnon and Simon, 1973; Schneider Gould, 1987 qtd in Duncan and William, â€œGender role,â€ 1). Despite this traditional sexual script, male rape is also very much similar to female rape. The most common perpetrators of male rape are also males, yet on a larger scale, the involvement of female as accomplices or perpetrators were also reported.
In 2002, it was documented that out of eight rape victims, one of those involves a male (RAINN, 2003 qtd in Stanfordâ€™s men against violent group, â€œmale rapeâ€). More often than not, male rape is one of the many violence issues that are least discussed in the society. This is because such issue is often interpreted as an extension of the life in prison and is often regarded as a part of the homosexual subculture (Kaufman et al. , 1980 qtd in Pino and Meier, 1).
However, what people do not recognize is the fact that male rape survivors include not only homosexuals but also heterosexuals, teenagers, homosexuals and children. Case research even suggested that males also experience the same reactions felt by females. Alongside with the feelings of depression, anger, self-blame, guilt, sexual dysfunctions, vulnerability and emotional distancing, male rape victims also have to endure unsympathetic attitudes from people even their friends, family and acquaintances (Brochman, 1991 qtd in New York City alliance against sexual assault, â€œFactsheetsâ€).
Likewise, it was also reported that males are more likely to become victims of multiple aggressors, yet the assailants could inflict sustained physical trauma and male victims could be held as captives for a longer period of time compared to their female counterparts (Kaufman et al. , 1980 qtd in Pino and Meier, 1).
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