Violence against women presents numerous facets ranging from discrimination and contempt to physical or psychological aggression and murder. Producing itself in many different spheres (family, work, training and others), it acquires special drama in the area of the couple and the domestic, where every year women are murdered by their partners by the tens or hundreds in the different countries of the world .
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann
October 9, 2017
o 7.1 Violation
o 7.2 Rape as a weapon of war
o 7.3 Sexual exploitation
o 7.4 Ablation of the clitoris
o 7.5 Feminicidio
o 7.6 Gender Violence
o 9.1 Legal status
At least one in three women in the world has suffered an act of violence (abuse), abuse, harassment and others) during their lifetimes. It has been emphasized that this type of violence is the first cause of death or disability for women between 15 and 44 years of age. Researcher Raquel Osborne states that: “Since violence against women is mostly exercised by men because of their sexist conditioning, the term macho violence is also used.”
At its 85th plenary meeting, on 20 December 1993 , the United Nations ratified the declaration on the elimination of violence against women. They recognized it as a grave violation of human rights and “urges all possible efforts to make it [the declaration] universally known and respected “. The resolution defines violence against women in its first article as any act of violence based on belonging to the female sex that has or may result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering for women , as well as threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty , whether occurring in public or in private life.
The United Nations, in 1999, on the proposal of the Dominican Republic with the support of 60 more countries, approved to declare November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Situation of violence against women in the world
Sexist violence is too entrenched around the world, more than half of women live under this threat. To eradicate it requires political will and economic resources. When a man beats a woman he is “impoverishing his entire community and damaging several generations of his family” .
According to recent data cited by the world body, between 40 and 70 percent of the murdered women die at the hands of their husbands or sentimental partners, in latitudes as Australia , Canada , USA or South Africa .
In Colombia, every 6 days a woman dies at the hands of her partner, while in the last 10 years hundreds have been kidnapped raped and murdered in Ciudad Juárez , in northern Mexico. Other studies in 71 nations show that a significant percentage of women are physically, sexually or psychologically aggression, and physical violence is the most widespread.
According to the Instituto de Mujer Ibérico , between 1999 and 2003 , 246 women died at the hands of their husbands, partners or ex-companions, in various ways.
The current Spanish government pledged to pay greater to this topic; so their Council of Ministers approved a couple of years ago ten urgent measures against this scourge.
The evil that has caused enough deaths and damage. In the rest of Europe, gender abuse is an issue that affects one in five European women. In the American continent, USA, this issue affects 32 million Americans every year. Every 9 seconds an American woman suffers from mistreatment and more than three are killed, according to the references of the centers for disease control and the National Institute of Justice.
The risk of being abused is higher among American Indian and Alaska Native women and men, African-American women, Hispanic women, young women, and people living in poverty.
Valuation from international organizations
In 1993 the United Nations recognized “the urgent need for universal application to women of the rights and principles relating to the equality, security, freedom, integrity and dignity of all human beings”.
It also recognized the role played by women’s rights organizations, which facilitated the visibility of the problem.
Since violence against women is a problem that affects human rights. It “constitutes a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to the domination of women and discrimination against them by men and prevented the full advancement of women.
It is one of the fundamental social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordination to men”. It sees the need to define it clearly as a first step for the States, mainly, to assume its responsibilities and there is “a commitment of the international community to eliminate violence against women”.
The declaration includes six articles defining violence against women and the forms and areas of violence, while enumerating the rights of women to achieve equality and their full development and urges states and international organizations to develop strategies and put the means to eradicate it. In the same vein, on March 5, 1995 , the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women: the Belem Do Para Convention was adopted.
Historical considerations on violence against women
Violence against women is linked to the consideration of women who detach themselves from the patriarchal family. Humanity in its origins could be constituted by matriarchal communities, as Lewis Henry Morgan , considered one of the founders of modern anthropology, in his book Ancient Society in 1877 . “The abolition of the mother’s right was (could be) the great defeat of the female sex”.
Today the patriarchal family may appear blurred after centuries of women’s efforts to emancipate themselves. In its origins, it made the woman an object owned by man, the patriarch. The the material goods of the family and its members belonged to the patriarch.
Thus, the wife passed from her father’s hands into her husband’s hands, both having full authority over her, being able to decide even on matters of life and death, that is, excluded from society, she was part of the family heritage, relegated to the reproductive function and domestic tasks.
In classical Rome, in its earliest times, the dependence of women was evident, owing obedience and submission to her father and her husband. The paterfamilias [head of the family, male] had on their children the right to life and death. He could sell them as slaves in foreign territory, abandon them at birth or hand them over to the relatives of their victims if they had committed any crime; separating them and agree or dissolve their marriages.
But just as men became paterfamilias when the father died and acquired all their legal powers within their family, women, on the other hand, were to remain for life subordinated to male power, alternating between father, father-in-law and husband. File: Antonio Gil Hambrona confirms that this model of the ancestral patriarchal family suffered numerous modifications during the Republic and the Empire. The right over the life of women was abolished. The death penalty was still preserved in certain cases, but it was no longer the husband who decided on it, and the community was responsible for judging it.
At certain moments, the woman came to achieve a certain emancipation. She could divorce on equal terms with man, she stopped seeing herself as selfless, sacrificed and submissive and in the relationship between husbands the husband’s authority was indicated. This occurred mainly in the upper classes and did not prevent violence from occurring within the marriage “aimed at controlling and subjecting women through physical aggression or murder”.
The advances that could be made during the Republic and Empire disappeared in the dark period of the Middle Ages. A society that worshiped violence also exercised it against women, and women frequently became a bargaining chip to forge alliances between families. “In the lower classes, in addition to fulfilling the reproductive function, constituted labor to work at home and in the countryside.”
In this history, religions have played an important role, assuming a moral justification of the patriarchal model: “Married women are subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is head of the woman, as Christ is head of the Church and savior of her body”.
Another consequence of patriarchy has been the historical exclusion of women from society; being excluded from all its spheres: cultural, artistic, political, economic, this being another form of violence against women.
It was not until the industrial revolution in the West, when women were allowed to participate in social life, that a path of emancipation truly begins. However, the uses and abuses committed against women for centuries have proven difficult to eradicate.
Violence against women is not exclusive to any political or economic system; is given in all societies of the world and without distinction of economic position, race or culture . The power structures of society that perpetuate it are characterized by its deep roots and intransigence. Throughout the world, violence or threats of violence prevent women from exercising their human rights and enjoying them. Amnesty International, It is in our hands. No more violence against women.
It was the feminist organizations that in the second half of the 20th century gave full visibility to the problem of violence against women. It is curious that in many countries statistics on traffic accidents were collected while ignoring the incidence of femicide and rape.
Latin America and the Caribbean have been “one of the regions of the world that has given more attention to the fight against violence against women” It has been especially active in the consolidation of social networks, sensitizing the media, acquiring institutional commitments and legislating to eradicate a problem that affects 50% of the world’s population by limiting and violating their most basic human rights.
In those times, it was hard to see that the aggressions towards women were not the product of moments of frustration, tension or outbursts, contingencies of life in common; but were a consequence of attempts to maintain the subordination of women, the ancestral consideration of women as the property of men, and should, therefore, be given special consideration.
Of particular importance was the International Tribunal of Crimes against Women in Brussels in 1976. That was first time that crimes different types of violence committed against women, creating the International Feminist Network with programs of support and solidarity. As a result of its resonance in 1979, the United Nations Assembly approved the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and in 1980 the First United Nations World Conference on Women was held in Mexico, following the Convention to Eradicate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
These events promoted a whole series of legislative measures and modifications of penal codes that in the different countries have been taking place ever since. In 1993, the United Nations ratified the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and in 1995 in Belem do Para (Brazil) adopted the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women.
Numerous countries now have specific strategies to combat violence against women and have amended their legislation including laws against violence against women, design general and sectoral plans to combat it and promote campaigns to interest the different spheres of society in this problem.
These strategies have also served to sensitize states and society to other forms of violence: against children, the elderly, the handicapped, minority groups, etc.
Violence against women in the family
Violence against women begins in childhood, and it is in the family that violence is most prevalent. Infancy is especially vulnerable to violence and the girl suffers an added bonus for her female status. Ablation [surgical removal of human tissue], is widespread in certain communities and inevitably linked to the female sex.
Examples: the sexual commerce that can start in the family with the sale of the girl, or infanticide and sexual abuse, more often linked to the female sex, a more rigid paternal authority, also exercised by siblings, and a discriminatory education that limits their vital expectations.
More than 80% of rapes are perpetrated by members of the victim’s family, and most of them at very young ages, when she is only a child; parents, grandparents, uncles, adults she trusts become her aggressors. This is a worldwide problem that in many cases does not transcend beyond the limits of the family itself, the girl suffers violence in silence, embarrassed and feeling guilty.
The sale of girls would be another form of violence suffered by women in childhood and in the family. These sales may serve a variety of purposes, but the lucrative business of prostitution, the unhealthy sexual inclinations of clients, coupled with the misery in which many families are found, have extended the trade in girls, under 10 years of age, in many cases, destined for to sexual exploitation.
To this violence, we still have to add many of lesser character that would go from greater paternal and family authoritarianism, to forced marriages. Violence against women, whatever its nature, has as its preferred framework the family.
Violence against women in the couple
Violence against women by their partner or ex-partner is widespread in the world, affecting all social groups regardless of economic, cultural or any other consideration. Even though it is difficult to quantify, since not all cases transcend beyond the scope of the couple, it is assumed that a high number of women suffer or have suffered this type of violence.
In all human relationships, conflicts arise and in relationships as well. Discussions, even heated discussions, can be part of the relationship. In conflictive couple relationships, fights can arise and physical aggression can arise between them. This, which could reach levels of violence that would be objectionable and objectionable, would be part of the difficulties faced by couples.
In the couple, the abuse is mostly exercised by him against her. It has specific causes: man’s attempts to dominate women, men’s low opinion of women; causes that lead to seeking to establish a relationship of domination through scorn, threats and blows.
The most visible traits of abuse are beatings and murders, which transcend the realm of the couple; However, “low intensity” mistreatment, psychic mistreatment that undermines women’s self-esteem, is the most common. When it transcends a case of mistreatment, the woman can take years suffering the abuse. And, if mistreatment can occur at any stage of the couple’s history, it is at the time of rupture and after this, if it occurs, then they become exacerbated.
It is frequent to treat the subject of the mistreatment as individual cases, the abusers would suffer the sort of disorders that would lead them to mistreat the woman and to this, in its fragility, to receive those mistreatments. This would be a reassuring vision of the problem that would not call into question the patriarchal model.
The psycho-pathological model explains the violence as a result of deviant behavior peculiar to certain individuals whose personal history is characterized by a serious disturbance. This approach, after all reassuring, speaks of an “other,” a “sick” or “delinquent”, who, after examination, can be punished or treated medically.
From the feminist point of view, male violence is perceived as a mechanism of social control that maintains the subordination of women to men. Violence against women derives from a social system whose values and representations assign women the status of dominated subject. Maryse Jaspard: The ultimate consequences of violence against women in the couple are that of tens or hundreds of women killed each year, in different countries, by their partners or ex-partners.
Rape is a global reality. In both rich and poor countries, despite cultural, religious and social differences, women are still often seen as mere objects. Sandrine Treiner: “Rape is without any doubt the most obvious form of domination exercised, in a violent way, by men over women. ” In it the atavistic icons still present in the mind of man, which is known as machismo, is implied: it implies a contempt of the woman considering it as mere object destined to satisfy the sexual appetites and the conviction that the woman must be submitted to the man .
It does not mean to consider woman inferior to the man in a matter of degree but to consider it an inferior being, a being with whom all kinds of excesses can be committed.
More than 14% of American women over the age of 17 admit to being raped. This figure could be extrapolated to other Western societies. And although this percentage may fall in countries (8% in Canada , 11.6 in Switzerland, 5.9 in Finland ), in South Africa, one of the countries with the most worrisome problem, the percentage rises to 25% with 1,500,000 violations every year. Again it is the area of the family that produces the highest percentage of violations, probably more than 70%.
The figures underscore the extent of rape as an abuse of power and trust, and blunt the guilty tendency of so many societies that the victims of rape are reckless women with risky behaviors: provocative outfits, late night outings, Etc. Sandrine Treiner : It would be women with higher levels of training and independence who would be most likely to be raped. They would be more exposed to being raped those women with more determination to the unwanted sexual requirements; which would indicate that many violations do not occur when women give in to sexual relations imposed.
As for the fact of the violation should be added that of the imposition of unwanted sex, a form of rape that would not figure in the statistics. Sexuality is not always a choice for the adolescent: 15.4 per cent of the girls stated “having suffered one or more sexual relations” under coercion “or” by force “. Among them, three-quarters of the relationships imposed were by young people and, more often, by well-known young people.
Raquel Osborne : Rape produces devastating effects that go beyond those caused by violence. Women who are raped may fall into deep depression, may become suicidal, may change their character becoming more withdrawn, fall into alcohol or drugs , … AIDS or become pregnant of their aggressor are also possible consequences.
The women victims of the rape suffer a double aggression, the one of the aggressor is added that of the family and the community. The raped woman is stigmatized by a family and a society that put their honor on her body. According to which cultures can be killed by members of their own family to “wash their honor” or suffer their rejection and that of the community.
The truth is that the Iraqi tribal tradition leaves them no choice: when a woman is “defiled” by rape or extramarital sex, she is endangering the honor of her family and the whole tribe. Rape is retaliated with, but the first thing is to eliminate the “stain”, for which it is necessary to physically eliminate the woman.
Rape as a weapon of war
Cécile Hennion : In times of war women become targets to punish the enemy community. The wars in Bosnia and Rwanda revealed the reality of systematic violations in times of war, in the present and in history.
You will never have certain figures on these facts, the feeling of shame of the victims will mostly keep them silent and also, to these violations, in many cases, the murder follows. It is estimated that for each report there have been 100 unreported cases.
In the woman’s body the hatred towards the enemy and the anxieties of its destruction are staged: the rape can be public, in the presence of its relatives; parents and family are forced in turn to rape their daughters and loved ones. Women, girls and boys would be the chosen victims. All in an attempt to annul them as people and to perpetuate the victory over the subjugated community carrying their wives with the children of their enemies.
Rape is the crime of desecration par excellence against the female body, and, consequently, against all promise of life of the community as a whole. Hence, it can be defined anthropologically as an attempt to invade the historical space of the other by inserting into the family tree the son of the “ethnic” enemy. (Véronique Nahoum Grappe)
According to United Nations sources, during the decade 1990-2000, trafficking in persons destined for prostitution claimed 33 million victims, three times more than the traffic of African slaves for four hundred years, estimated at 11,500,000 people.
This, too, is a universal crime. Women caught with deception or by force can belong to any country, especially countries where the population suffers from economic deprivation or countries at war, and the destination can be their own country or any other, in this case, mainly rich countries. Sexual exploitation makes victims into slaves. Pimps are enriched by keeping victims in subhuman, frightened and threatened conditions, forced to engage in prostitution under exploitative conditions.
From feminism it is seen as a means to combat this trafficking to combat prostitution, to end the sex trade which, they consider, degrades women. The debate on prostitution is open, there are groups, including groups of women dedicated to prostitution, who consider this election a right, and feminist organizations willing to eradicate it.
Ablation of the clitoris
Clitoral ablation, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is another form of violence against women. It is estimated that this is practiced annually on two million women. Ablation reduces women to “a mere reproductive function” by nullifying their sexuality .
The consequences of FGM begin at the time of the intervention with unbearable pain and the possibility of causing the victim’s death. prolonging the sequelae [definition: an abnormal condition resulting from a previous disease.] during the rest of her life with chronic pains, problems during childbirth and making it impossible for the woman to have satisfactory sexual relations.
To the physical consequences should be added psychic: the woman who has been ablated is aware of the mutilation to which she has been subjected and can lose her self-esteem. It is the most visible expression of man’s efforts to dominate the woman, its purpose would be to “calm” the sexual inclinations of women and “guarantee their fidelity to the husband.”
Ablation is practiced mainly in communities of sub-Saharan African countries and, although mostly practiced by Muslim communities, it is also practiced in animist, Christian and Jewish communities.
Among the countries where ablation is practiced are Nigeria , Senegal , Sudan , Egypt , Ethiopia (mostly Christian), Pakistan , Indonesia , Malaysia , … “It is a cultural and non-religious tradition, even if it is in the Islamic countries where it is most frequently practiced.
In most Muslim communities, ablation is not applied, but the social and religious imaginary has associated it with Islam. “In many cases, ablation is carried out in secret by the communities that practice it. It is a tradition very difficult to eradicate since parents, especially mothers, though still disagreeing, feel obliged to practice it on their daughters in fear of not being able to marry them.
Femicide is the homicide of women motivated by their status as a woman. It is a more specific term than homicide and would serve to give visibility to the ultimate motivations of a majority of women’s homicides: misogyny and machismo; being “the most extreme form of violence against women”.
Femicide is the crime against women on grounds of gender. It is an act that does not respond to a conjuncture or specific actors, since it takes place both in times of peace and in times of armed conflict and female victims do not have a unique profile of age range or socioeconomic status. However, there is a greater incidence of violence in women of reproductive age. The perpetrators of the crimes do not respond to a specificity since these acts can be carried out by persons with whom the victim maintains an affective, social or social bond, such as family, couples, lovers, boyfriends, partners, spouses, ex-offenders, ex-spouses or friends.
It is also done by well-known people, such as neighbors, co-workers and students; just as by unknown to the victim. It can also be perpetrated individually or collectively, and even by organized gangs.
The term gender violence is also frequently used. It would be a less concrete expression and, in a way, soften the true nature of violence against women.
Less concrete because it would refer to the violence practiced by both sexes; and, in a sense, it would be sweetened, since it obviates a factor that is not symmetrical, which is only caused in the violence of man against woman: the feeling of superiority and domination of the latter over her and, more extensively, machismo. The same would occur with the terms “sexist violence” and “partner violence”.
The term “gender violence” is the English-language translation of gender-based violence or gender violence, a widespread expression following the Congress on Women held in Beijing in 1995 under the auspices of the United Nations.
Participation of women in decision-making
The participation of women is a basic requirement for consolidating democracy. However, both in times of peace and especially in times of war, the presence of women in decision-making bodies is rather scarce. That is why UNIFEM works to remedy this situation. The maximum participation of women, in equal conditions with men, in all fields, is indispensable for the full and complete development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In Africa , UNIFEM support and efforts helped the activists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that the Constitution recognized the full participation of women in peace-building. The Sierra Leone Truth and Reparations Commission currently includes a witness program to help women report gender-based violence. In Afghanistan and Peru UNIFEM worked closely with the delegates of the Loya Jirga and the Truth Commission respectively to ensure that the Afghan Constitution guarantees women’s equality and Justice and Reparation declares rape as a weapon of war.
Situation of violence in Cuba
Cuba exists in the context of this world and survives amidst manifestations of a sexist culture despite everything we have accomplished, especially in education and health. This is added to the economic crisis in which the country lives, aggravated by the blockade of the EE . as a fact of systematic violence that transcends the social and personal aspects of daily life.
Violence in Cuba is conditioned by the economic, political and social processes that took place over 500 years, from the encounter of European and American cultures with the process of cultural identity, transculturation of Spanish and African cultures, prejudices and petty-bourgeois weaknesses were occurring in the course of our country, acts opposed to the exercise of women’s social equality.
Cuban women have all the possibilities to achieve their maximum development and occupy a place in society, and which does not depend on man, but on their intelligence, efficiency and work performance.
According to the penal codes of different countries or the criminalization of domestic violence, we find regions where it is not contemplated in its legislation and is passively tolerated by the state.
Addressing a subject as delicate as the one in question generates resistance, and can cause discomfort, defensive attitudes and even aggression, in some cases. People may feel vulnerable when they are discovered in situations they are often not aware of.
Unfortunately, slowness in the evolution of beliefs is one of the essential facts in history. The influence exercised by the past in the elaboration of the present modes of thinking, provides the resistance of values 0ik\and customs of the millenarian patriarchal society.
In Cuba, the type of society in which we live does not engender structural or institutional violence; on the contrary, the principle of equality, non-discrimination is incorporated into all laws and policies of the country, our society is not characterized by mistreatment, without However in the private world of the family there are couples where these manifestations survive, but in general the community rejects such behavior.
Violence in these times has acquired social resonance, not because it occurs more frequently but because today these behaviors are better known and studied.
Dynamics of domestic violence
Salazar Jamieson, Felipe E. Women, Violence, Psychosocial Factors. I work to opt for the Master’s Degree in Social Psychiatry. City of Havana 2002.
INFOMED. Domestic violence. NC. 25 August 2005.
Artíles de León, Iliana. Violence and Sexuality. Violence. ED Technical Scientist, 2001: 24-85.
Cervera Estrada, Lef et al. Behavior of Violence Intrafamiliar Revista Cubana de MGI. Domestic violence. Gender focus. April.2002.
http://en.wikipedia.org [United Nations Declaration]
http://en.wikipedia.org [Belem do Para Convention]
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http://en.wikipedia.org . Violence against women