Violence against women is an impact of objectification of life and blood human forms. That’s to put it precisely – other explanations are existent, obviously. The expressions of violence take place in a man-woman relationship (mostly) within a family, state and society. That is again empirical and suggestive – the variation of possible conveyance of violence against the womankind is a fistful. The consequences are deep and wide – inconceivable and atrocious following the nuances of my taxonomic notions.
Currently, there are few interventions whose effectiveness has been scientifically proven. But their providence is gilded with severe lack of participation and willingness. And, the cycle starts hence – a female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection, whether physical, social or economic. This helplessness leads to her exploitation at almost every stage of life.
Radhika Coomaraswamy identifies different kinds of violence against women, in the United Nation’s special report, 1995, on Violence Against Women; a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non spousal violence and violence related to exploitation. b) Physical sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution. c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the state, wherever it occurs.
A very recent occurrence of state induced violence was observed in Saudi Arabia when a woman was sentenced 10 lashes for driving a car. Normally, police just stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo. And this woman was supposed to be a prototype of some kind for breaking Islamic conventions (women driving vehicles is not supposedly un-Islamic, but the Mullahs of the Saudi aristocracy are known for their heap of gibberish). Then came King Abdullah, known in the Saudi world as a ‘liberal’ reformer, in shining armour and saved the sentenced woman from the indictment. That was a saved end, but what history accounts for is blistering and unimaginable (take a look).
From Mohammed Hanif’s controversial first novel to harsh-harsh reality, this case is not unheard of in Pakistan, core Islamic nations, and parts of rural India. The Atlantic, a few days ago, carried a sub-headline that read, “A Pakistani girl who says she was kidnapped and gang-raped faces a new threat: honour killings, a tradition here, but one that her family refuses to carry out, drawing immense anger”. Not only is that a cringe-worthy societal outlook, but symbolic of loose, venomous state of affairs, where civilization has had a periodic lapse and bile is meiotic. Albeit, to say that honour killings and forced marriages are nationality specific would be submissive. It has a massive cultural influence, along with slack state control and awareness – this story is testimony to that fact.
To say that I live in a country where its youth are hanged and burnt alive for choosing their prospective life partners is disgraceful and excruciating (follow story here). And by youth, I mean women. In a severely male dominated society, that has but become an anticipated tenet. Because of her relationship to a man, a woman is vulnerable to domestic violence, dowry murder, sati. This reason relates to society’s concept of a woman as a property and dependent of the male protector, father, husband, son, etc. Because of being female, a woman is subject to rape, female circumcision/genital mutilation, female infanticide and sex related crimes. This reason relates to society’s construction of female sexuality and its role in social hierarchy. In the standing even and the sitting odd, the world automatically hushes to the severe wrongs committed on women. Reluctance to protest or habitual ignorance? We have a dilemma there. But the effects are apparent and the solutions are handy. It is our duty to sanitize our environ, to take charge and draw a curtain to the dark ages of subjugation and oppression, to have a voice in need and just not for ourselves.
By Ipsita Shome