Throughout her three years in Washington DC, everyone thought that Patricia had a perfect relationship with her uncle. He portrayed her as the best thing on the planet that happened to him and that he loved and adored her. Today, Patricias family was astonished to learn that she was admitted to a hospital for sexual abuse from her uncle. According to the World Health Organization, Patricia is one of the 35 percent women worldwide who have experienced either physical or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime and, as such, she will spend the night in the hospital. If you agree with me, This is all wrong! In light of the increasing incidences of gender violence, we must seriously re-examine the current policies that have allowed gender violence to become one of the least prosecuted crimes, and a great danger to lasting peace and development. Today, I am going to explain the effects of gender violence and why we should be concerned.
First, let us look the latest statistics on gender violence in women. First, Basu (2015) focused on types of gender violence on women. He concluded that the major types of violence include wife-beating, dowry, rape, murder, acid throwing, trafficking, forced prostitution, and coerced pregnancy. Data from the World Health Organization indicates that about one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Additionally, approximately 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or encountered other forced sexual acts in their life. Besides, WHO reports that between 0.3-11.5percent of women have reported sexual violence by someone other a partner since the age of 15 years. A 2013 analysis conducted by WHO showed that seven percent of women in the world had been assaulted by somebody other than their partner. The analysis also indicated that women who had been sexually or physically abused were 1.5 times more likely to encounter a sexually transmitted infection and, in some cases, HIV. Additionally, a survey conducted in 2016 showed that one in four women in Washington DC, US, have experienced sexual harassment in public transportation.
Now that we have established how big the problem is, let us now look at the effects of gender violence in women. According to WHO, gender violence in women has health consequences, social and economic implications, as well as an impact on children. Sexual violence has serious short-term and long-term mental, physical, reproductive, and sexual health problems for their survivors. First, violence against women could lead to fatal injuries including suicide or homicide. It can also cause unintended pregnancies, gynecological problems, induced abortions, as well as sexually transmitted infections. An analysis conducted in 2013 found out that women who experience partner violence or sexual violence are twice likely to have an abortion compared to women who had not experienced gender violence.
Research has shown that intimate partner violence during pregnancy increases the likelihood of stillbirth, pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and miscarriage. Additionally, such forms of violence can cause anxiety disorders including depression, sleep difficulties, suicide attempts, eating disorders, and sleep difficulties. The same study showed that women who experience partner violence were nearly twice as likely to encounter problem drinking and depression. The percentage was even higher for women who had faced non-partner partner violence. Besides, health effects can include back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, limited mobility, poor overall health, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal disorders. Again, sexual violence during childhood can lead to smoking, alcohol, and drug misuse. It can also lead to risky behaviors later in life.
The economic and social costs of gender violence in women are huge and have ripple effects on the entire society. Women may be unable to work and might suffer isolation, lack of participation in regular activities, limited ability to care for their children and lead to loss of wages. Moreover, children growing up in families where there is violence may suffer various behavioral and emotional disturbances. The emotional and behavioral disturbances can be associated with experiencing or perpetrating violence in later in life. Additionally, intimate partner violence has been linked to higher rates of infant morbidity and child mortality.
A study carried out in Bangladesh found out that twenty-five percent of physically abused females had lost children after birth compared to eighteen percent of women who had not been abused. Additionally, the study found out that 13.8 percent of maternal death in pregnancy was as result of violence. Besides, the same study indicated that children who faced violence were at a higher risk of behavioral and emotional problems including poor school performance, anxiety, disobedience, depression, and low self-esteem.
In light of all the information we have on this issue, it leads me to my last point. In most countries, only less than forty percent of women who experience violence seek any sort of help. Among those who seek help, most sort it from family and friends and family instead of contacting the police as well as health services. Indeed, the percentage of women who seek help from the police and health services is less than ten percent in most countries. The reluctance of women to seek help may be associated with widespread acceptability of sexual and physical violence. It is only recently that the attitudes towards violence began to change. A 2015 study conducted across twenty-seven universities in the US found out that 23percent of female undergraduate students faced sexual misconduct or sexual assault. The rates of reporting to university officials ranged from five to twenty-eight percent, depending on the nature of the assault. For instance, rape was found evoke shameful attitudes among women and hence is like to be under-reported. The case of Patricia is a perfect example women are reluctant to seek any help. In fact, Patricias family only knew about the sexual abuse after she had been admitted to hospital.
To sum it up, gender violence in women is a violation of basic human rights. Now that we have seen that this problem is growing and impacting more women each year, we must not sit back and allow it to happen. A democratic country like the US ought to maintain a zero-tolerance policy to bring the perpetrators of gender violence to justice. In fact, gender violence against women should be stopped instead of being lessened. This requires better policies that encourage women to seek help and do not allow perpetrators of violence to get away with their acts. The conscious community must unite to attain a world free from gender violence to ensure a healthy, joyful, and decent life for everyone. In this way, the world will attain lasting peace and development.
Basu, A., Jaising, I., & Collective, L. (2005). Violence against women: a statistical overview, and challenges and gaps in data collection and methodology and approaches for overcoming them. Division for the Advancement of Women.
Chesney-Lind, M., & Irwin, K. (2013). Beyond bad girls: Gender, violence and hype. Routledge.Felson, R. B. (2002). Violence and gender reexamined. American Psychological Association.
Garcia-Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Watts, C. H. (2006). Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence. The lancet, 368(9543), 1260-1269.
Hossain, M. (2016). The impact of domestic violence on women: a case study of rural Bangladesh. Sociology and criminology open access, 4(1), e135-e135.
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