Women and men have various oppressed groups within them, and they have different reasons for which they are oppressed. One of these groups are women who are abused and assaulted. While there may a lot of causes because of which these women have to go through this abuse, in my paper I will go on to relate ‘sexism’ and misconceptions held about women and how, because of this, women are subjected to different kinds of violence from men.
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Power, which is exerted over another and control, which is demanded of one. Being a woman, I’ve been subjected to both. It seems often expected at this point. And this expectation of control and power of women, the sexism they face, has been there since men hunted and women gathered. And it may be that this deep-rooted phenomenon is one of the causes of the assaults and rape women have to go through. Sexism is majorly described as the discrimination, prejudice or stereotype due to the sex of a person (Merriam-Webester). And it is mainly women who face many kinds of sexist behavior. It is a normalized part of our society that is now being addressed and catered to. While all women may not be described as an oppressed group per se, women who are subjected to sexism on a daily basis are oppressed.
This normalized stereotype against women, that they are weak and that they are to be used for men’s own desires, if often the cause of the sexual assaults they have to face. In the book ‘Understanding Violence Against Women’ the authors connect the assaults women have to face to the laws held in history. “The status of women as property also can be seen in the development of laws concerning rape. Brownmiller contends that “rape entered the law … as a property crime of man against man. Woman, of course, was viewed as the property” (Crowell, 1996). These preconceived notions that men had adopted in history while may seem like they aren’t there anymore do take time to completely be devoid of in societies. And while the laws may have gone anymore the traces of them still seem to linger. They also play a huge influence on how women are viewed in the society.
While the views about women and of women are now changing at a good pace, it is still disturbing to see how the female race is seen in this world. And while some cultures have it worse than others, traces of sexism are evident everywhere. They are there in the simple roles women are put into. It is there when the women choose to stay at home and not work and they’re there if she chooses not to stay at home but to work. It is seen in the way that men feel that because they are physically stronger, it is okay for them to exert this force, or power as we have been calling it, onto females. Women are seen as weak and it is because of this widely held belief of them that men assault them at such a high rate. Assaulted women in the criminal justice system also face prejudice. “Raped women are subjected to an institutionalized sexism that begins with their treatment by the police, continues through a male-dominated criminal justice system influenced by pseudo-scientific notions of victim precipitation, and ends with the systematic acquittal of many de facto guilty rapists” (Robin, 1977).
Gerarld goes on to explain in his article in depth about the sexism women face in the criminal justice system. He goes on the explain how the system is not supportive of the female victims and often makes things difficult for them. For example, some of the questions that women have to face after they have gone through this traumatic event. While this part may be important to establish that a crime has taken place, the demeanor of some of the police officials is often insensitive to state these women are in. I think the world is fast changing and with all the other changes, how people view women and egalitarianism has developed many conversations that are being brought into light. This has placed good development as well with the criminal justice system.
“The President of the Republic has made gender equality one of his five-year term’s major causes, with three priorities: education and cultural action fostering equality, provision of better support to victims, and a stepping-up of existing criminal sanctions” (Combating Sexual, n.d.). However, there is still yet a lot to be done to help women who go through sexual assaults more frequently than one would think. You can see in the very famous case of Brock Turner, who was a college student who raped an unconscious woman. While the case got a lot of media attention and even though many people, including the prosecutor thought he should have been in jail for way longer he got out of jail in three months.
Thereofore, while views are changing we are yet to be in a place where women are given a safe haven and promised that their perpetrators will be brought to justice. I think that oppression correlates to violence highly. The two go in hand because when someone is successful in oppressing someone, whether mentally or physically, it’s not uncommon for them to resort soon to violence. As seen with domestic violence cases, it starts at a lower level until more often than people think, death. “Even now, a woman dies every three days as a result of spousal violence, 93,000 women a year claim to have been the victims of rape and/or attempted rape, and 225,000 claim to have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence on the part of their husbands or ex-husbands (2016 data)” (Combating Sexual, n.d.).
This escalation towards violence starts really low, it starts with the person’s mindset. If the person who is violent towards someone, didn’t think he could get away with, or he thought that the other person was stronger than them, would never hurt them. And same goes to the victims. When women start hearing and seeing things about themselves, they start to embody them. They soon start fitting into the ‘victim roles’ and it’s proven really hard for people to get out of them. The oppressors believe they can get away with it while the oppressed find no way out of it. I think I learnt through the research and the stats I came across that this is a worse problem than most of us even realize.
The stats are shocking, and it isn’t until you hear something first hand that you start believing that something like this happens. I think women are oppressed and have to go through sexism on the daily. So often that sadly, they are used to it and take it in as a norm. The female assaulted population does not have the support they need in the way that they need it. And it is with both the help of females and males that we need to change our ways of thinking about women and hence decrease the rate at which they are assaulted.
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