One of the scourges of our society is domestic violence
Physical and verbal abuse
Domestic violence is an ugly word as it implies, in most of the cases, that a woman is suffering abuse. This abuse can be verbal and/or physical and leaves its victim marked for life. In many cases, the woman does not dare to speak up. Depending on where she lives, society might blame her for it. She wants to protect her children and suffers in silence. She does not dare to tell her family less they think she is a bad wife and mother. Often, thru many years of humiliation, she has lost all self-esteem and thinks she is worthless. She is brainwashed into thinking she is inferior and therefore does not find the strength to protest and try to find help.
Some countries do not provide any statistics on domestic violence and some give wrong numbers on purpose.
Some statics on the U.S.
It seems that in the United States, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men reported as having been physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually. It seems that the leading cause of injury to women from age 15 to 44 is domestic violence.
I am surprised that the number of abused men is so high, but the percentage of men reporting abuse is lower than from women. That means that the number of abused men is a lot higher than in the statistics. That would mean the given number of 835.000 is on the low side. American ladies seem to be aggressive, sometimes more than men? I wonder what brought that on. To be emancipated, does that include an inclination for violence? I do not know but I am puzzled.
You will find domestic violence on all social levels but it seems that having financial difficulties, unemployment or low wages can trigger aggression. Being stressed and very worried makes one prone to overreact.
Where you are born does make a difference
Depending on where the woman lives in the world, many awful things can happen to her. Without going into lengthy explanations or very much in depth, I would like to tell you that she might experience one of the following atrocities.
The most common types of acid used are sulfuric acid and nitric acid. The attacker intends to disfigure, maim, torture, and kill the victim. Most of the time it is thrown at the face, causing disfigurement, blindness and sometimes it can even dissolve bones. Besides the physical consequences, are the social, psychological, and economic consequences. Bangladesh had 3,512 cases reported between 1999 and 2013.
In India and Pakistan, these type of attacks is increasing every year. The UK has one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world. In London only, there were 1,200 cases of acid attacks recorded from 2011 to 2016.
The mother of the pubescent girl will say that breast ironing or breast flattening is done to protect the girl from sexual harassment. To prevent an early pregnancy which would harm the reputation of the family. Like this, the girl can study and does not get forced in an early marriage. Hard or heated objects are used for this method. Grinding stones, coconut shells, a wooden pestle normally used for pounding tubers, hammers which are heated over coals. This is practiced in certain parts of Cameroon, West, and Central Africa, in Benin, Chad, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Togo, and Zimbabwe.
Female genital mutilation
UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women living today in 30 countries – 27 African countries, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Yemen have undergone the procedures. This can include partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. This can happen within a few days of birth up to puberty.
The thought behind these practices is to control women’s sexuality. The problems are many. Infections, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, not being able to get pregnant and problems during childbirth as well as fatal bleeding. I have spared you the more gruesome details on the different methods used.
A disturbing film
Did you by chance see Desert Flower, a film from 2009? It is the real story of a Somalian nomad who was circumcised at 3, sold to be married at the age of 13. She flew Africa and became an American supermodel. At the age of 38, she became the UN spokeswoman against female genital mutilation.
To have Lotus feet was considered a status symbol but it caused women a lifelong disability. It probably started among upper-class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China. It spread to all social classes through the years and by the 19th century, it is estimated that between 40 to 50 % of all Chinese women had bound feet. It seems that nearly 100% of upper-class Chinese women had bound feet. The oldest girl of a lower class family might have her feet bound in the hope she could marry higher up.
The toes were folded under the foot till they would break. They were wrapped so tightly that they never really mended. Additionally, the arch of the foot was also broken. Every time the bandage changed, it was tightened causing the broken foot to take on its new shape. No need to say this procedure caused great pain for a long time.
The Manchu Kangxi Emperor tried to stop this practice in 1664 but was not successful. Only in the 20th century did this practice start dying out as the result of anti-foot binding campaigns. The last shoe factory Zhiqiang Shoe in Harbin which made Lotus Shoes closed its doors in 1999.
This form of domestic violence is practiced in countries located on or around the Indian subcontinent. This awful act happens when her family refuses to pay additional dowry. The woman is murdered in the crudest way by her husband or his family. In most cases, the young woman is doused with kerosene and then set on fire, killing her in a most painful way. In India, this has been a major problem since 1993, with 2,500 death each year.
In 1986, the Indian Parliament added dowry deaths as a new domestic violence crime. A charge of dowry death can be made if a bride, within 7 years of marriage, is killed and it is proven that she was subject to cruelty or harassment by her husband or relatives of her husband. The instigators will get a sentence of at least 7 years up to life imprisonment.
The burning of the widow
700 years ago a practice, called Sati, was started that would require widows to be burned together with their deceased husbands. It is said to have started among the ruling class of Rajputs in India. The women preferred to die after their men had been defeated in battle, to prevent being claimed by the victors. This custom was outlawed in 1829 by the British rulers in India.
You might remember the famous film, Around the world in 80 days (1956.) The film was based on a story of Jules Verne. David Niven saves a young widow, Princess Aouda played by Shirley Mac Laine, from burning on the funeral pyre with her late husband.
There are many more awful things happening to women in the whole world like: Forced abortion, Forced marriage, Forced pregnancy, Marriage by abduction, Honor killing, Rape, Forced prostitution, Human trafficking, etc.
I think that it is not necessary to expand this list more as with this information, it is more than clear that women worldwide suffer just because they were born a woman.
Domestic violence in Spain
I live in Spain and every afternoon I look at the Spanish news at 15:00 hours (3:00 PM). More than often, one hears about a new victim of domestic violence. This makes me sad as each man is born of a woman. He has a mother, grandmother, aunts and this should make him realize that women are part of creation, the same as he is. We are different but equal and can complement each other.
Recently I read a special story in the newspaper. The title was: My dog has given me back the freedom I once lost to domestic violence.
A great initiative, the foundation Mariscal
The Foundation Mariscal donates dogs which are specially trained to women who have experienced domestic violence. This project was started 8 years ago and has changed the lives of abused women. It takes 300 hours to train a dog for this new job. The dog and the owner have to go through this intensive programme as it has to be sure they are a good team and can cope with real-life situations.
The dogs which are chosen for this training have to have some typical characteristics. First, of all they must have an imposing physique, but most important is that they have the instinct of protection. The women who are given a dog to accompany them in daily life, regain their confidence. These women dare to go out on the street and talk to men again.
The project of Angel Mariscal has already donated 50 dogs to women in Spain. These dogs help women to come back to normal life. This is a really admirable project which more countries could follow up on. Domestic violence should be eradicated from our world, all violence in whatever form should not exist in a civilized world. This will only happen when we realize we are all equal.
I was born in Australia and my parents had Dutch nationality. I spent most of my life in European countries. I never suffered domestic violence. I realize how lucky I am. The human race has still a long way to go.
Source: Wikipedia and the Sur in English, Nov. 16th 60 22nd 2018, Article by Alvaro Frias and Juan Cano
Photo Source: Pixabay
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