Violence against women is an extreme form of male control over women. Men's violence pushes women into a subordinate position.
The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1994) defines violence against women as »any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Violence against women is a social problem.
Violence should not be seen as a personal matter of an individual who experiences violence. The emergence of violence depends on reaction of a society. It can condemn and sanction it, which minimizes the possibility of occurrence of violence, or tolerates and minimize it. Therefore, violence is defined as a social problem. Moreover, violence against women is a social problem because of its consequences. Violence against women helps maintaining the imbalance of power between genders. A woman in a violent relationship cannot invest her strengths in education, public participation and other areas of her life. Violence against women is also a major financial burden for the country (medical costs, costs due to absenteeism at work, costs related to the prevention of further violence...).
Experiences and the statistics show us that the most dangerous place for women is their home.
Home is the most common site of long-term violence. 95% of perpetrators are male and the majority of violence against women is caused by men that women know well. They are usually family members, colleagues, relatives and friends. Violence can remain hidden in private relations for a long time, since it is difficult for the victim to leave an abusive relationship because of the close personal ties with the perpetrator. Even when she decides to leave, violence tends to escalate as the perpetrator tries to prevent the end of a relationship. Further difficulty is often a disapproval of the surroundings when a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship and press charges against a perpetrator.
There is no excuse for violence.
A society can be still too tolerant to men's violence against women, which makes it difficult for victims to take care for their own safety and their rights. Despite the general belief that "we should not beat women” many people feel that a man has the right to hit a woman, if he has a good enough reason. This gives him the right to punish a woman. A punishment is possible only when the power in the relationship is distributed unequally, which is unacceptable for an intimate partnership.
There is no such thing as a typical perpetrator a typical victim.
Violence against women occurs in all social classes. There is no “perpetrator character”, which can be recognized by some external characteristics. Nor is violence linked to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, poverty, education, nationality or other personal circumstances.
Reasons for such a common phenomenon of male violence against women can neither be found in men’s biological characteristics, as most men are not violent. Also, not all women are victims of violence. Therefore we cannot say that the role of a victim is associated with the biological characteristics of a female. It is wrong to believe that women want to be victims because of their innate desires to be taken care of. Violence is not a pleasant experience and nobody wants to be victim. Women who have experienced violence tell us that they most want security, peace and a life without violence.
Violence is associated with traditional roles which are attributed to men and women.
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