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Violence Against Women-an Issue of Human Rights

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PAPER ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN-AN ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS By Ms Shabana Kesar Asst. Professor Department of Women Education Maulana Azad National Urdu University Mailing address : Department of women education, MANUU, Gachchibowli, Hyderabad, 500032. E-mail ID: – [email protected] com Paper- Violence against women[VAW]-An issue of Human Rights Synopsis:- ?Introduction ?issue of human rights ?VAW a health & social issue ?Dimensions & causes of violence ?VAW a global & Indian scenario ?Failure to safeguard women’s human rights Best practices & strategies to be adopted to combat VAW ?Conclusion Introduction:- Violence affects the lives of millions of women worldwide in all socio-economic & educational classes.

It cuts across cultural & religious barriers, which impedes women to take full participation in the society. One of the greatest barriers to women’s economic advancement is violence that women have to face routinely. Not only does such violence impede women’s ability to live full & productive lives, it also hampers their contributions to family, society & economic development.

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VAW is one of the most visible consequences of economic, social, political, legal & cultural inequalities that exist between men & women.

It is perpetrated by legal & political systems that have historically discriminated against women. VAW is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of the gender violence is considered normal & enjoys social sanction. The family & its operational unit is where the child is exposed to gender differences since birth, & in recent times even before birth, in the form of sex-determination tests leading to foeticide & female infanticide.

The home, which is supposed to be the most secure place, is where women are most exposed to violence. Deaths of women are extreme outcome of ill treatment, physiological abuse, or physical violence, suffered by women. On the other h&, domestic violence suffered by women on a regular basis in the form of psychological or physical abuse goes unreported. Very rarely do women themselves file police cases against the ill treatment meted out to them. A few women who escape death end up in shelter home, but the majority continues to live in marital bond & endure abusive behavior. also attempt to address the issue of VAW have been lopsided & short sited for example the dowry prohibition act, which was passed in 1961 & amended in 1984 & 1986, emphasizes marital violence in the context of dowry only, while inadequate dowry may be one of the underlying causes of harassment of women. Immediate shortcomings, negligence or failure in performing duties expected of wives or daughter in law also leads to violence. These causes may reflect the deep-rooted gender inequalities that prevail & persist in most regions of India..

VAW is a Human Rights issue:- The Declaration on the Elimination of VAW is the first International human rights instrument to exclusively & explicitly address the issue of VAW. It affirms that the phenomenon violates, impairs or nullifies women’s human rights & their exercise of fundamental freedoms. The Declaration provides a definition of gender-based abuse, calling it “any act of gender–based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

The definition is amplified in article 2 of the declaration, which identifies three areas in which violence commonly takes place: •Physical, sexual & psychological violence that occurs in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital-rape, female genital mutilation & other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence & violence related to exploitation. Physical, sexual & psychological violence that occurs within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment & intimidation at work, in educational institutions & elsewhere, trafficking in women & forced prostitution. •Physical, sexual & psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the state, wherever it occurs Gender-based violence both reflects & reinforces inequities between men & women & comprises the health, dignity, security & autonomy of its victims.

It encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual abuse of children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault & harassment, trafficking of women & girls & several harmful traditional practices. Any one of these abuses can leave deep psychological scars, damage the health of women & girls in general, including their reproductive & sexual health, & in some instances, result in death. We know that VAW is an atrocious human rights violation, a public health epidemic & a barrier to solving global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS & conflict.

It devastates the lives of millions of women & girls & knows no national or cultural barriers. It is a mass phenomenon taking many different forms with disastrous consequences for women’s & girls health & survival. The social & economic costs resulting from this abuse place a substantial burden on society as significantly hampering development. Therefore preventing VAW & girls is also a key contribution to achieving most of the UN millennium development goals & to reduce poverty.

VAW is a yardstick by which one can measure the violation of all human rights. It can be used to gauge the degree to which a society is governed by aggressivity, dominated by competition & ruled by force. Abusive practices against women have frequently been & still being justified in the context of cultural norms, religious beliefs & unfounded “scientific theories” & assumptions. But whatever its political or religious system, a society patterned on dominance inevitably gives rise to such distortions of power as VAW.

Virtually all the International human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, two bills of rights-International Covenant on Economic, social & cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil & political Rights & more importantly the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW] have recognized women’s rights to freedom from gender discrimination & violence including sexual violence.

VAW constitute not only a direct violation of women’s right to health but also lead to violations of other important rights of women such as right to life, privacy, human dignity freedom from degrading & inhuman treatment which are all guaranteed . According to the provision of the CEDAW gender, based violence is a form of discrimination, which severely inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights & freedom based on equality with men.

Article 1 further describes discrimination against women as including any law that has either the effect or purpose of preventing a woman from exercising any of her human rights or fundamental freedom on equal basis with men. Violence generally, against women has been brutal weapon men have employed to make women to in a subordinate position to them. Traditional attitudes by which women are regarded as subordinate to men or as having stereotyped roles perpetuate widespread practices involving or coercion, such as family violence & abuse, forced marriage, dowry deaths, acid attacks & female circumcision.

Such prejudices & practices may justify gender-based violence as a form of protection or control of women. The effect of such violence on the physical & mental integrity of women is to deprive them of the equal enjoyment, exercise & knowledge of human rights & fundamental freedoms. VAW a health & social issue:- Gender based violence also serves by intention or effect to perpetuate male power & control. It is sustained by a culture of silence & denial of the seriousness of the health consequences of abuse & violence.

In addition to the harm they exact on the individual level, these consequences also exact a social toll & place a heavy & unnecessary burden on health & social services Heath consequences can result directly from violent acts or from long-term effects of violence. It results in injuries often inflicted by intimate partner in the physical & sexual abuse, death resulting from honour killings by families, suicide, female infanticide influenced by son preference & maternal deaths from unsafe abortions. VAW is associated with sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS.

Unintended pregnancies & induced abortions result in long-term gynecological problems. Violence & abuse increase risk of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, emotional distress & poor overall health status. The social & economic cost of VAW are enormous & have ripple effects throughout society & is the major cause of poverty & a huge barrier to economic opportunity. It keeps women from getting an education, working & earning as a result women suffer isolation, inability to work, loss of wages, lack of participation in regular activities, & limited ability to care for themselves & their children.

Dimensions & causes of violence: – Violence is perpetrated on women both inside & out side her home, on the streets, in schools, the work place, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts & crises. Is has many dimensions from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic & sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so called honor killings & other types femicide. Domestic violence comprises all acts of intimidation & aggression, which forces a woman to seek redressal by breaking the silence imposed on her by a patriarchal culture.

This operational definition of domestic violence, however, does not include the culturally sanctioned forms of violence, unless challenged by the women or others on her behalf. Minimally construed as the physical, mental, emotional, & sexual abuse of a woman in her intimate relation ship, such violence in the Indian context includes intimidating acts by the members of her marital family. Often condoned by culture, such systematic violence enforces gender inequality by curtailing women’s freedom & right to self-determination.

On the other hand, VAW takes place in shape of eve teasing, rape, pornography, murder, trafficking etc both at their place work & out side. Poverty & unemployment increase opportunities for trafficking in women. In edition to established forms of trafficking there are new form of sexual exploitation such as sex tourism, the recruitment of domestic labor from developing countries to work in developed countries, & organized marriages between women from developing countries & foreign nationals.

These practices are in compatible with the equal enjoyments of rights by women & with respect for there rights & dignity. On the other h&, poverty & unemployment also force many women, including young girls into prostitution. Prostitutes are especially vulnerable to violence because their status, which may be unlawful, tends to marginalize them. They need the equal protection of laws against rape & other forms of violence. Equality in employment can be seriously impaired when women subjected to gender specific violence, such as sexual harassment in the work place.

Which includes such unwelcomed sexually determined behavior as physical contact, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, & sexual demands whether by words or action? Such conduct can be humiliating & may constitute a health & safety problem, it is discriminatory when the women has reasonable ground to believe to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment, including recruitment or promotion, or when it creates a hostile working environment. VAW & girls due to various reasons remain hidden. Cultural & social factors interlinked with the development & propagation of violent behavior.

With different processes of socialization that men & women undergo, men take up stereotyped gender roles of domination & control, whereas women take up that of submission, dependence & respect for authority. A female child constantly grows with a sense of being weak & in need of protection whether physical, social or economic. This helplessness has led to her exploitation at almost every stage of her life. VAW a global & Indian scenario:- Worldwide, it is estimated that one in every three women has been beaten, raped, coerced into sex or physically abused.

Example abound. According to Amnesty International 2001 official reports in the U S show that a women is battered every 15 seconds & seven lakhs are raped every year. At least 60 women were killed in Kenya in 1998-99, & 35% of women in Egypt reported being beaten by their husbands. In North Africa, six thousand women are genitally mutilated each day. In 2001, more than 15000 women were sold into sexual slaver in china. 200 women in Bangladesh would also have been horribly disfigured when their spurned husband burned them with acid.

In India studies has found that more than 40% of married women are beaten, sexually abused by their husbands for variety of motives including dissatisfaction with their cooking, cleaning, their looks, jealousy & disputes over dowry. According to recent report by the UNICEF up to 50 million girls & women are missing from India’s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. Failure to safeguard women’s human rights :- We know that women has provided with constitutional rights, governmental laws and policies, commitments of various women commissions which are bound to safeguard women rom various forms of violence yet the prevalence of VAW. Why? We need to have an answer for it. Lack of proper and committed implementations of laws and various recommendations made by various voluntary organizations & commissions, negligence in addressing the issues of VAW. Lack of legal awareness due to illiteracy & ignorance also result in failure of obligations & commitments. Nowadays we also encounter cases where women themselves misuse protective laws to harass their own marital members to protect herself other way round, which often become the cause for injustice to the women who actually encounter violence.

Failure to safeguard women’s human rights are also rooted in a global culture of discrimination, which denies women equal rights with men and which legitimizes the appropriation of women’s bodies for individual gratification or political ends[Amnesty USA, 2003]. This observation is supported by a 2003 UN development fund for women, which shows, that only three nations have legislation that specifically addresses VAW as a category of criminal activity in itself. Best practices & strategies to be adopted to combat VAW:- More evaluation is needed to assess the effectiveness of violence prevention measures.

Interventions with promising results should include increasing education & opportunities for women & girls, improving their self-esteem & negotiating skills, & reducing gender inequalities in communities. Other efforts with positive success would include mass public education campaigns and work with men & boys to change attitudes about gender inequalities & the acceptability of violence. Advocacy for victims, better awareness of violence & its consequences among health workers, and wider knowledge of available for abused women (including legal assistance, housing & childcare, can lessen the consequences of violence.

Our challenge is to search out new strategies & adopt fresh models that will encourage a healthier, more cooperative society at all levels. We need to move consciously away from patterns of force & aggressivity & towards methods of consultation & peace making. Conclusion:- The meaning of gender & sexuality & the balance of power between women and men at all levels of society must be reviewed. Combating VAW requires challenging the way that gender roles & power relations are articulated in society.

In many countries, women have a low status. They are considered as inferior & there is a strong belief that men are superior to them & even own them. Changing people’s attitude & mentality towards women will take a long time- at least a generation, and perhaps longer. Nevertheless, raising awareness of the issue of VAW, and educating boys and men to view women as valuable partners in life, in the development of a society & in the attainment of peace are just as important as taking legal steps to protect women’s human rights.

It is also important in order to prevent violence that non-violent means be used to resolve conflict between all members of society. Breaking the cycle of abuse will require concerted collaboration & action between governmental &non-governmental actors, including educators, health-care authorities, legislators, the judiciary & the mass media. Any approach designed to combat violence must be two fold, addressing the root cause of the problem & treating its manifestations. Society at large, including judges & police officers, must be educated to change the social attitudes that encourage male violence.

Cite this Violence Against Women-an Issue of Human Rights

Violence Against Women-an Issue of Human Rights. (2018, Jan 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/violence-against-women-an-issue-of-human-rights/

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