SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be refused by it”.
We talk about how many women were raped but we don’t talk about how many man raped women. We talk about how many teenager girls harassed last year but we often talk about how many teenage boys harassed girls. So as you can see the passive voice has the political effect. It shifts the focus off men and boys onto girls and women. Even the term “sexual violence against women” is problematic.
Sexual violence encompasses acts that range from verbal harassment to forced penetration, and an array of sorts of coercion, from social pressure and intimidation to physical force. Sexual assault can be in form of verbal, visual, or anything that pressurize a person to join in unwanted attention. Some examples of Sexual Violence are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and harassment.
Such acts can happen anywhere like in a room and in an isolated place and on a date with someone and many more. They don’t think what they are doing they just do by not seeing that what will happen to the life of that person. According to world health organization [WHO] the term sexual violence is termed as “any sexual act or an attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments, or advances, acts to traffic or otherwise directed, against an individual’s sexuality using coercion, by a person no matter regardless of their relationship to the victim in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.”
SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
According to 2013 survey, which was conducted by WHO with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South Africa Medical Research Council, used existing data from over 80 countries and found that worldwide, 1 in 3, or 35%, of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence. Almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. The prevalence estimates of intimate partner violence range from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific region to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, and 37.7% in the WHO South-East Asia region.
Globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. In addition to intimate partner violence, globally 7% of women report having been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner, although data for non-partner sexual violence are more limited. Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE PROBLEM
Sexual violence may have some consequences not only it violates the victims but also took all its freedom and human rights. The main consequence of this problem is across the cultures. In socio-centric societies where shame is a more prevalent emotion, the victims of sexual violence may not tell about their trauma and hence may not report it. This not only affects the victim negatively but also affects an understanding of the true nature of trauma and rates of these acts, thereby influencing policy-making. They are being more socialized tend to give rise to a more social feeling of shame which cannot be felt in the absence of social relations. Victims of sexual violence face the danger of suffering negative reactions upon telling their trauma and this became the most negative consequences of sexual violence.
BIOLOGY VERSUS CULTURE
Sexuality like various other biological processes is therefore controlled by genetic factors. But according to our knowledge, understanding and expression of sexuality are also influenced by our cultural background. Scholars have often debated that biology plays a role in sexual violence. However, it needs further exploration whether the act of rape is biologically coded or is culturally determined.
The biological theory of sexual violence reflects adaptations constructed over evolutionary time, but this remains a controversial idea. It views sexual violence as a result of a man’s “natural” sexual urge, which is different from that of a woman. This difference in sexual urges is claimed to be a results of early evolutionary changes and adaptation for successful amphimixis . Due to sexual selection, men use the reproductive strategy (including sexual violence) of impregnating as many ladies as they will to spread their sperm and to maximise the amount of female eggs that can be fertilized. This theory looks at sexual violence as a natural behavior resulting from a biological propensity to breed and have a net positive effect on the person’s (resorting to sexual violence) reproductive success. So this theory explains that every man has an initiate propensity for sexual aggression and inflicting sexual violence.
Another theory attempts to describe the sexual violence in terms of cultural explanations. It, thus, negates biological underpinnings for a man’s sexual urges, claimed by the biological theory. This theory looks at other important factors such as gender power equations, moral values, attitudes toward violence, and so on to be contributing toward sexual violence.
Whether sexual violence is influenced by biological or cultural factors , it has major influence on mental health and functioning of victim .
Although the issue of sexual violence has remained largely ignored until now, ignoring it further is no longer acceptable. It, thus, becomes crucial to acknowledge that sexual violence transcends national and cultural boundaries. In the absence of such acknowledgment, sexual violence may continue to grow. As culture is one of the most important factors that may be important in our understanding of sexual violence. It is high time we start understanding barriers and cultural strengths that are responsible for higher or lower rates of sexual violence cases in different cultures.
Author: KRISH BHATIA,
CHANDIGARH UNIVERSITY 1 YEAR BALLB