Thursday, July 23, 2009

Policy Issue: Gendered Violence

Violence and the threat of violence exert social control on women by forcing them to do things that that would not normally do out of fear that they will be injured if they don’t. I think that many feminists suggest that acts of violence against women are actually hate crimes because of how sexual violence and violence in general is seen as more examples of male domination and how males should act not only in dominating their careers or being the man of the house, but they must also dominate their women as well. This is because men are seen as being better than women, so they feel that they must exert that power on women.

I think violence against women is so prevalent in society because of what I discussed about the dominance of males in both the media and in stereotypical roles, and because there hasn’t been enough coverage of domestic violence. Most domestic violence cases or incidences are covered by women and not men. Considering women are already overshadowed by men in the media, it is easy to see why these stories are not given as much coverage.

Recently, there was a story about a woman who killed her husband out of self-defense in New York. She reportedly shot him 11 times because he had threatened to kill her and had raised a gun to her. She grabbed a different gun and shot him 11 times to defend herself. There was a long history of abuse in this family from the husband. Her husband, however, was a NYPD police officer. Naturally all of his friends from the police department sided with him and said he was a nice guy. She is set to appear in court, but I am not certain when, or if she has already been to court. None the less, I sincerely hope she wins her case. Even her daughter reported evidence of being abused by her father and seeing her mother being abused by her father. If they put this woman behind bars, I will be extremely upset.

I think these instances are perpetuated by men because they know that in terms of physical strength and in terms of how women are characterized by the media, women are weaker than men. They thrive in the fact that they have power over these women. Myths about violence against women silence women and perpetuate sexist systems of oppression by making women feel guilty and ashamed of who they are and how they act.

Some steps that I think need to be taken in order to address the issue of violence against women are extensive media coverage about it, and I think women should be required to take a course or a seminar at least about abusive relationships in either high school or college so that they are aware as to what signs to look out for and how to deal with the situation.

I actually think JMU is doing a much better job when it comes to trying to prevent sexual assault. There are programs to inform women about the dangerous of sexual assault and to inform men so that these men will try and help women. There are also stations around the campus where you can call the campus police at any time. The only negative thing is that there are still a lot of parties that go on where any thing can happen.

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