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    Gender-based Violence against Women and Gender Inequality

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    Attitudes regarding men’s violence against women shape gender inequality and also the sense of responses to this violence by the victim and others around. This is why we see many violence prevention campaigns media advertisements and social awareness. Attitudes and behaviors shape violence in several domains including culture, gender, institutional response to violence, women’s own responses to victimization and more. Gender role attitudes and their forced upholding play a major role regarding violence towards women.

    From a young age, boys are taught to be strong. They cannot show emotions or weaknesses, while girls are taught to be passionate, caring and submissive. Through these gender roles, as well as the media, men feel entitled to women. Traditional gender roles require the woman to cook, clean, care for their children, fulfill a man’s sexual needs and be a maid. This has created an issue where men view women as compliant to them as the man holds the power and is the sole decision maker [1].

    One of the most significant concerns within gender inequality is its complex and diverse nature. This feature of gender inequality makes it difficult to ideally define gender equality. In consideration to international governmental organizations (IGO’s) such as the United Nations (UN), granting women access in to economic and political arenas has been the primary target. However, while this focus is extremely important and can be effectively monitored, exclusively changing legal and political frameworks may not challenge underlying social understandings of gender.

    Additionally, gender roles have a big effect on women’s attitudes towards violence and judging themselves. Women are more likely to blame themselves for the abuse, less likely to report it to authorities, and likely to experience long-term psychological and emotional effects. This can all be tied back to the social understandings taught to women including placing their male partner’s needs above their own and exhibiting a passive or self-silence attitude. Women are less likely to report violence if they are taught to express traditional gender role attitudes.

    Different communities understand gender differently. There are no universally accepted definitions of the roles of man and women. Different communities categorize genders differently and associate different roles, behaviors, qualities, and expectations with men and women. So, social understandings shape the role of men and women. In this sense, gender is arguably a socially constructed phenomenon which is subject to continuous change depending on the location and understanding of culture. These constructions are created through multiple different social processes, institutions and history which help to create, maintain and re-define these understandings of the roles played by gender.

    Western concepts provide a fundamental understanding of gender equality. This means western cultures often pressurizes developing countries to adapt its western political and legal framework. Women’s rights are included within legal frameworks which protect women’s rights and violators punishable by law. However, these western understandings of gender equality are not always applicable in all places. In communities where gender inequality is seen as social norm, such laws are not seen as legitimate which makes them harder to implement and carry out. Therefore, as the underlying social understandings of gender are not challenged, western approaches which primarily focus upon promoting legal human rights, can arguably have severe limitations.

    The relationship between gender and violence is complicated. Evidence suggests, however, that gender inequalities increase the risk of violence by men against women and inhibit the ability of those affected to seek protection. There are many forms of violence against women; this briefing focuses on violence by intimate partners, the most common form. Though further research is needed, evidence shows that school, community and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women.

    School-based programs can address gender norms, attitudes and violence against women before they are rooted in children and youth. Such initiatives address gender norms, dating violence and sexual abuse among teenagers and young adults. Positive results have been reported for the Safe Dates program in the United States of America and the Youth Relationship Project in Canada.

    Public awareness campaigns and other interventions delivered via television, radio, newspapers and other mass media can be effective for changing attitudes towards gender inequality. The most successful are those that seek to understand their target audience and engage with its members to develop content.

    On the other hand, it would be problematic to focus education efforts exclusively on men. Not all men will participate in education programs, those who do are likely to have a lower potential of perpetrating violence, and even if all men participated, no intervention is 100 percent effective many factors play in role. Directing violence prevention efforts to women can increase women’s critical understandings of intimate partner violence and build on their already-existing skills in recognizing and resisting violence. In addition, educating women can change men: by shifting women’s expectations of partners and intimate relations, making them more independent and interventions may increase the pressures on and incentives for men to adopt non-violent practices and identities.

    Gender-based violence can include sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual violence, and rape. ‘Gender-based violence’ means to examine and understand the causes of violence against women. The focus has been shifted from women as victims of violence to gender and the inequality of power relationships between women and men that created and maintained through gender stereotypes for generations. Understanding GBV provides us a deeper understanding of violence against women. Addresses the similarities and differences in the violence experienced by both women and men in relation to vulnerabilities, violations and consequences [5].

    In response to this declaration, various efforts have been made to respond to reduce and eliminate this violence experienced by women. Significant attention has been paid in the Northern hemisphere and high-income countries such as Canada and the U.S.

    Laws have changed in a way that recognizes a continuum of acts and behaviors as sexually violent. Laws now recognize a range of acts, from rape to unwanted touching/sexual harassment . Degrading language, pornography and video games which are more common, also contribute to the continuum. The general public is still most likely to call something sexual violence if force is involved.

    The way that the public perceives a victim of sexual violence often involves victim-blaming. Blame for sexual violence has become subtler over time. Blatant blame may be socially unacceptable, but many attitudes remain the same.

    Racism has played a role in how the public perceived victims in the past, and still plays a part in the public’s attitudes. Cultural norms and public perceptions may actually keep many people from accessing services or reporting sexual violence.

    Research from a range of sources strongly suggests that over the last few years the impact of violent pornography, violent computer games, street harassment, and everyday sexism on the societal view of women, is decreasing. It is providing an equal ground for women in society which is allowing them to be more independent and hold more equal roles.

    Societal views and traditional gender roles still play a major role in the influence of violence towards women. Gender based violence is still a major problem in today’s society; however, efforts are being made to reduce it. These efforts are in the form of educating the general public and providing help for those that need it. In the end, the goal is to reduce the impact that gender based violence has on society, and however slow progress seems, it is still happening in a positive direction.

    Sexual assault is generally given less attention, domestic violence is quite often depicted as a highlight for media products, which includes news, broadcasts, social media and films. Domestic violence share many of the same problems as sexual assault. Media used to portray women are show how culpable if they get beaten or abused or in some cases murdered. However, that has changed over the past years, media has begun to acknowledge that domestic violence is a serious problem, this recognition is earned by campaigns such as feminists.

    Some authors have carried out extensive research, on gender equality. Using a sample of 703 Family and Community health service with the data from 2000. They evaluated neighborhood level gender equality and violence. They found that boys and girl’s violent behavior is unevenly distributed across neighborhood. Gender differences in violent behavior are less pronounced in gender-equalitarian neighborhoods compared to those characterized by gender inequality.

    Gender gap narrows in gender-equalitarian neighborhoods because boys’ rates of violence decrease whereas girls’ rates remain relatively low across neighborhoods. This is in s contrast to the predictions of theorists who argue that the narrowing of the gender gap in equalitarian settings is the result of an increase in girls’ violence. The relationship between neighborhood gender equality and violence is found by a specific articulation of masculinity characterized by toughness.

    Although the rate of domestic violence has dropped significantly over the past decade, the issue remains extremely relevant and far-reaching, and has been spotlighted recently by cases involving NFL players Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, as well as pop star Chris Brown. While these well-known and well covered stories have shed light on domestic violence and helped alert the public to its dangers, many incidents still go unreported and unknown.

    Between 2003 and 2012, domestic violence accounted for over 20 percent of all violent crime in the U.S. Intimate partner violence – meaning violence involving current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends – is the most common type of domestic violence. Intimate partner violence is very prevalent on college campuses, with estimates of dating violence ranging from 10 to 50 percent, the Department of Justice reported.

    More than 1 in 3 women will be victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes, while more than 1 in 4 men will be, according to a CDC survey. Both men and women are most likely to be targeted by people they currently date or used to date. But the National Crime Victimization Survey showed that male victims were more likely to have been targeted by family members or other relatives than were females.

    Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most likely to experience intimate partner violence. The rate of domestic violence for persons 12 and older dropped by 63 percent from 1994 to 2012, the Department of Justice said. But while that may sound promising, it trails the 67 percent fall in overall violence over the same time period. Domestic violence makes people more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal behavior and often negatively impacts a victim’s ability to perform well at work. Without adequate financial means, victims may find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship without enough money to leave. Altogether, intimate partner violence causes women to lose about 8 million days of paid work each year, according to a 2003 report.

    Some areas, like New York City, have strengthened efforts to help victims leave abusive relationships. Mayor Bill de Blasio is working to bolster city programs that provide shelter to people fleeing domestic violence. The mayor’s plan would provide emergency housing for up to 13,300 adults and children per year, instead of the current 8,800 people, according to The New York Times.

    In June, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill that penalizes domestic violence offenders based on the severity of the attack and other factors, instead of basing punishment largely on their number of previous offenses. It also prevents offenders from owning guns, depending on their crimes, The Associated Press reported. For the state – which was determined to have the highest rate of women murdered by men in 2013, according to a Violence Policy Center study released last month – the new law was a major step to better aid domestic violence victims.

    The presence of violence cannot be attributed to a single factor, as biological and personal factors, relationship quality, and community context all play major roles. For intimate partner violence, or domestic violence, the most consistent marker is marital conflict or discord in the relationship. Economic conditions are also causes and effects of violence. Poor people disproportionally account for the public health burden of violence in almost every society.

    In the past, the American criminal justice system did not perceive domestic violence as a crime, not even a problem. Even with the women’s rights movement in the late 1800’s, women continued to be abused by their husbands, fathers, and boyfriends, however it became socially unacceptable. In later years, society began to view domestic violence as a problem. After World War II, studies linked growing up in an abusive home with the likelihood of criminal behavior later in life. Most domestic batterers showed a consistent pattern of violence and manipulation for the purpose of power and control.

    During most of the 1900’s, domestic violence was acknowledged, but treated as a private family matter. Family violence became an issue with the influence of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As the years progressed, domestic violence in American society began to be seen as a violent criminal act. As the attitude toward family violence began changing so did the criminal justice system. Two major events identified as bringing about this change included the development of professional police standards and the implementation of the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP). Today domestic violence is acknowledged as a serious, violent crime and part of society that harms women, increases child abuse, reduces medical resources, and endangers the lives and welfare of officers. The pursuit of methods in treating and reducing violent behavior by abusers has stretched from counseling agencies, to law enforcement, to the courts, and to corrections agencies.

    Women account for one-half of the potential human capital in any economy. More than half a billion women have joined the world’s work force over the past 30 years, and they make up 40 percent of the agriculture labor force. According to the World Bank, countries with greater gender equality are more prosperous and competitive. An extra year of secondary school for girls can increase their future earnings by 10-20 percent. Girls with secondary schooling are up to 6 times less likely to marry as children than those with little or no education. And countries that invest in girls’ education have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS, and better child nutrition. When women participate in civil society and politics, governments are more open, democratic and responsive to citizens. When women are at the negotiating table, peace agreements are more inclusive and durable.

    The United States puts gender equality and the advancement of women and girls at the forefront of the three pillars of U.S. foreign policy diplomacy, development, and defense. This is embodied in the President’s National Security Strategy, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and the 2010 and 2015 U.S. Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Reviews (QDDR). Gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to building resilient, democratic societies; to supporting open and accountable governance; to ending extreme poverty; to furthering international peace and security; to growing vibrant market economies; and to addressing pressing health and education challenges.

    Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a cornerstone of the U.S. Government’s commitment to advancing human rights and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The scale of gender-based violence is tremendous, the scope is vast, and the consequences for individuals, families, communities, and countries is devastating. Such violence significantly hinders the ability of all individuals to fully participate in and contribute to their families and communities, and for societies to thrive—economically, politically, and socially.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Gender-based Violence against Women and Gender Inequality. (2022, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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