Violence against women is undoubtedly an international concern. Despite the numerous global legislations and policies on violence against women, different states have their own versions of laws that assist them in dealing with violation against women. These versions are in adherence to the international policies and laws that attempt to eradicate this evil. Several policies are in place to augment the global standardized laws.
To some extent, the individual states run advertisements that promote equality and campaign against unhealthy practices that undermine women’s rights at their local and international platforms. The inequality aspect cuts across the economic, social, and economic dynamics. The paper addresses how the violence targeting women in the parameters of ethnicity, nationality, race, and religion among others is quite traversed.
Violence against women is any action of aggression based on gender discrimination that by any account contravenes the rights of women. Such acts may entail threats and intimidations aimed at denying women autonomy in either private or public life.
Often, these actions likely result in physical, psychological, sexual harm, or distress to women. Internationally, people of all ages unanimously acknowledge that it is every person’s right to live free from violence. Yet, women of all ages, ranging from toddlers to old age, suffer excessively from violence both in peaceful regions as well as in war torn areas (Violence against women, 2014). Notably, these violations could be witnessed at their homes, communities, or at the hands of officers envisioned to protect them.
Empirical research indicates that violence against women is not confined to a particular culture, country, community, region, or even to a specific group within a defined society, but rather is a global phenomenal (Fedorova & Wolf, 2005). Even though the act is prevalent to date, violence against women is a grave violation of human rights that requires an immediate solution.
Despite decades of marshal by women movements, civil societies, state agencies, and other stakeholders to end this nuisance, there are still numerous instances of violence targeting the womenfolk. Some of these cases go unreported to the relevant bodies. For these reasons, there is an effort to address this problem at a global level. According to Rao (2000), women of all ages, races, social status, as well as those women at the forefront in the fight against women violation too are abused.
Both scholars and gender experts alike share a similar estimation that violence against women has copious negative outcomes that vary from instantaneous, gradual, as well as long-term consequences to their lives. They may be of different forms such as sexual, psychological, physical, emotional, or economic, but are all interrelated in one way or another.
Subsequently, the situation impoverishes women and their families, thus affecting the fight against equality among communities, nations, and the world in general. Nevertheless, the challenges faced in addressing this issue globally are numerous, thus it cannot be solved from a sole intervention. Some of the most observed issues in addressing this problem are discussed below.
Efforts in addressing violence against women at the global level
Creating awareness about violence against women
Even though violence against women has always existed, Newman and White (2006) note that it was until the last decade that the international community started to define systematically and, at the same time, began to draw the public’s attention to this act and its dangers. In this, the international communities designate violence against women as a gender-based violence, as well as an abuse to human rights.
This further helps the international community to demarcate acts that are vile and, therefore, can be used in creation of public awareness. This could be achieved by exposing incidences or individual perpetrators of violation of women’s rights to public shame. Alternatively, in creating awareness, the international communities use instances of negative effects of violence on women’s rights to sway the public to shun violation against women (Fedorova & Wolf, 2005).
In addition, in an effort to expose violence against women globally, some women movement groups have created websites that collect, store, and share information about violence against women. The women movements have received support from international organizations that fight for the rights of women in the society.
This information can help the supposed victims acquire abundant knowledge on avoiding situations or dealing with situations that violate their rights (Fedorova & Wolf, 2005). Consequently, this step of conception of awareness has resulted in creation of several women movements that support gender equality in order to address violations against women.
Legal and policy creations
Until recently, several acts of violence against women were not regarded as crime, especially the acts that were committed within families or close relationship settings. Newman and White (2006) affirm that in most of the states, once a woman had accepted to get married to a man, the husband had the responsibility to modify her behaviors by whichever means available. This was not limited to battering in order to restrain the wife from mischievous behaviors.
Because the husbands had the authority over their families, the law thought it was reasonable for men to give their wives any kind of punishment that would restrain them from impish behaviors. In this dimension, the police and other government law enforcing agencies, including the courts were unwilling to punish such acts (Violence against women, 2014). However, with the initiation and development of international legal frameworks that handle crimes against women, the situation has drastically changed.
Rao (2000) points out that since the 1993 UN declaration on elimination of violence against women and the subsequent international agreements, such as Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), violence against women has reduced tremendously, except that it has not been eradicated fully.
Additionally, in the fight against global violation of women, the international policymakers have integrated numerous policies with international legislations that tackle this vice. As a result, there are international legal resolutions as well as instruments that handle violation of rights of women at the global level.
Challenges in addressing Violence against women at global level
Whereas it is obvious that the issue of violence against women is an international threat and should involve international communities to be resolved, the differences in forms, causes, as well as the environments that this menace prevail differ, thus commanding distinct challenges in their resolutions. Some of the unique situations that hinder international resolution of violence against women are discussed bellow.
One of the greatest obstacles in addressing violence against women is long-held cultural assumptions. For instance, in some communities men are naturally respected, and are viewed as the dominant ones in the society. Undoubtedly, men in this situation are at the top of the social ladder while women are at the bottom, hence are seen as properties.
Under this circumstance, such women are not in a position to recognize the actions that are internationally considered violations as crimes, but rather as normal day-to-day practices (Dua & Robertson, 1999).
Alternatively, the women may lack the forums to express their disappointments. Nevertheless, international campaigns and awareness might create realization of such vise, which may eventually help the individuals at risk of violations to recognize their rights. On the other hand, the global legislations and laws that prohibit women violation might not be effective, as the women might not report such cases for fear of the consequences.
Differences in perceptions, culture and beliefs regarding gender equality
This situation is also witnessed in the feminism debate about combating family violence. Newman and White (2006) note that in the past decades, policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and the society viewed homes as sacred. As a result, whatever was done behind closed doors internally was not the business of the outside world. Even though this perception is losing ground, feminism scholars and experts alike admit that it is present to date in some communities.
Therefore, addressing such a community on the issue of violence against women at the international level is likely to bear no fruit. Instead, to eradicate women violations efficiently in this circumstance, there should be local laws and groups that address the specific beliefs and taboos that violate the women’s rights. At the same time, the groups should educate both women and men on the benefits of abandoning such beliefs.
Race is another outstanding obstacle in addressing violence against. Dua and Robertson (1999) note that the situation for non-white immigrants in the white dominated countries is totally different to those who speak the native language. Racism and related intolerances do not affect all members of victim groups with the same intensity or in the same way. Even in racism aspects, women are amongst the vulnerable group in this scenario, thus suffering intersection of discrimination based on both gender and race.
Besides, racism presents a situation of double standards that merge communalization from high-level management and the infringed individuals. This double standard in treatment of individuals in relation to skin color creates a situation of informal apartheid. In essence, the double standards in treatment of individuals based on the color of their skin propel the cultural identities that already exist (Evans & Wekerle, 1997).
At the same time, the culture of apartheid flourishes, rendering greater risks to the endangered community. These complexities of the societal structure offer the problematic nature of dealing with unique situations of violence against women. Subsequently, this group demands a unique solution to violence against women as opposed to the global laws and policies that tend to eliminate the vice.
In discussing the issue of violence against women, the social class is an issue that should be given a discrete consideration other than the general address at the global level. Primarily, Rao (2000) asserts that literacy level, exposure, and awareness are issues of concern in addressing violence against women. In relation to the social class, the privileged community has access to revenue; therefore, they are well-informed on all aspects including their rights.
On the other hand, the low class individuals are deprived of the basic amenities including education and access to justice. Therefore, this group is vulnerable to exploitation both with and without intent. In addition, the social class demarcates the boundaries within which the poor and the rich interact. Therefore, the higher social class is characterized by abundant wealth, as opposed to the lower social class that flounders in poverty.
According to Class notes (2014), in cases of violence against women, the lower class exposes women to vulnerable situations. For instance, women seeking for employment may be victims of violence such as trafficking as well as rape. The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons of 2009 noted that women are the highly affected in human trafficking globally; they represent close to 70% of the trafficked population.
Handling state involved perpetrations
A vast literature that analyze violence against individuals by the states indicate that dealing with violation of women rights that involve state agencies is an obstacle in eliminating violence against women. The case of violation against women by government agencies is mostly reported in warring regions where the soldiers perceived liable to protect the vulnerable citizens in turn violate them, and, eventually, go scot-free. In rare situations, the governments are reluctant in addressing issues that violate women’s rights.
Such is witnessed in nations like Canada where the federal government is reluctant in tackling the issue of killings of the aboriginals (Class notes, 2014). Likewise, in most states the governments are reported to reluctantly address issues of devaluation of women. Subsequently, the prevailing violence against women in such regions is reluctantly resolved. In sum, these situations highlight the need to address the violation against women at the local level other than at the global level.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Clearly, progress has undeniably been made in the global based fight against violation of women’s rights; this may be evident in terms of improving public awareness, as well as giving women who suffer from violence supplementary places for rehabilitation. This is not an exclusive solution to women’s problems across the globe as many women continue to suffer violence at the hands of abusive partners in silence or fear of the consequence.
Probably to address the issue effectively, the international organization should involve the public in challenging the traditional attitudes toward gender perceptions. In order to address this, the campaigns against this vice should possibly be devolved into the grass-root level. Recently, several cases that would have gone undisclosed have been reported and handled legally, thereby reducing the instances of such violations.
However, feminism scholars ascertain that most of the cases that go unreported to date occur when perpetrators of violence use the state and its agents to intimidate the offended. However, there are unique cases in specific regions that require special attention to eradicate violence. This is witnessed in the reluctance by the law enforcing agencies to take firm actions against the perpetrators. Notably, addressing such situations on a global level could possibly bear no fruit.
Therefore, there is a need to initiate local-based actions that are specific and tailored to every unique situation in order to get rid of this menace. Arguably, the introduction of legislation at different levels within regions and states is a clear indication that the issue of violation against women cannot be handled at global level alone, but must rather be supplemented by the local legal frameworks.
Class notes (2014).
Dua, E., & Robertson, A. (1999). Scratching the surface: Canadian, anti-racist, feminist thought. Toronto: Women’s Press.
Evans, P. M., & Wekerle, G. R. (1997). Women and the Canadian welfare state: Challenges and change. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Fedorova, M., & Wolf, W. J. (2005). The United Nations and the protection of the rights of women. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Wolf Legal Publishers.
Newman, J. A., & White, L. A. (2006). Women, politics, and public policy: The political struggles of Canadian women. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Rao, D. (2000). Status and Advancement of Women. New Delhi: APH Publishing.
Violence against women. (2014). Web.