Many, many men still believe they have a right to beat obedience into partners and children rather than earn obedience through respect.
The phrase "to get your kicks" reveals just how widely accepted violence is. Campaigning has successfully raised awareness but domestic violence is still the major cause of death for women.
- Summary put simply
- Introduction to Violence
- Why is there violence against children and women?
- How big is the violence problem?
- What is being done about violence?
- The Lasting Solution
- Learn More (Useful Articles)
- Actions Being Taken
- Sample Letter
- Links to Political Representatives
(Summary put simply) - Violence happens because it is traditional in almost all cultures for the man to be more important than the woman. The man is usually stronger so if he does not get his way, he attacks the woman. Sometimes the attack is a raised voice, sometimes it is a physical beating but it is always a means of one person dominating another person. Until this "I am better - you are worse" relationship is turned into one of sharing and caring, there will always be violence such as that listed below. Stop the violence.
Why is there violence against children and women?
Men use violence against children and women to keep them 'in their place', to retain ownership of them, to assert their 'natural male rights'. It starts in the home as the child quickly learns that the power of the parents controls their lives. Mothers and girls also exercise power over boys and most people see it as natural that power, including violence, should be exerted. But the overwhelming balance of power is with men over girls and women. And this happens in all countries of the world.
How big is the violence problem?
It is so prevalent that everybody, everywhere has a responsibility.
- One in three women is a victim of violence
- Violence in the home is the major cause of death for women
- Domestic violence causes more deaths than cancer or traffic accidents
- Female infanticide has killed more than 60 million
- 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners
And these figures may be low because of under-reporting out of shame and fear of disbelief, hostility and further violence. The experience or threat of violence inhibits women everywhere from fully exercising and enjoying their human rights.
What is being done about violence?
Women throughout the world have organized and put the spotlight on these human rights violations. They have achieved many changes but the struggle is ongoing and in some countries gains by women have been reversed.
The UN now recognizes that unequal power relations between men and women is deep-seated across all cultures, and that violence is one of the crucial social mechanisms that maintain that dominant/subordinate relationship. UN involvement shows that the desire by many governments to end violence against children and women is growing stronger. But there is a long way to go yet.
The Lasting Solution
No amount of violence, power or commanding a 'superior' position over others will ever bring more than temporary pleasure or satisfaction. Inflicting pain and fear on others only reflects the emptiness inside the perpetrator. We like feelings of joy, love and understanding but we do not like emptiness, anger, confusion, jealousy, envy or ignorance. So the lasting solution is simple - discover that all the beautiful feelings already exist inside us and then dive into those. That is not a trite statement because it is possible and available to all who sincerely want it. Prem Rawat helps people from all backgrounds discover the real happiness they have within themselves that is independent of outward circumstances. It is a practical experience not just another do-good theory. Don't take my word for it, find out for yourself.
Political changes will never fully work unless we all change as well, but some actions are being taken in the hope that they will save some suffering.
Useful Articles about Violence
- Amnesty International Reports Index
(Don't miss the SVAW Summary pdf)
- HRW - Children's Rights Summary
- Stop Violence Against Women Index page
- Lilith Project
- 10 Things Men Can Do To Stop Rape
- Quiz about Rape
- Myths about Rape
- Sanctuary for the Abused (blog)
- Rape, Abuse, Incest Facts (USA)
- 4Women.Gov - Sexual Assault
- World Health Organization Factsheet
- UN Declaration
(Women. Read your rights) (Heavy)
- UN FWCW Platform for Action (Heavy)
- Dept for Constitutional Affairs UK
- UNICEF page
- Sexual assault Canada
- Assault Stats Canada
- Stalking, harrassment Canada
- Stalking Stats Canada
- Violence, young women Canada
- Violence Stats Canada
- Freda Stats VAG Canada
- Freda Stats VAW Canada
Actions Being Taken against Violence
- Start a petition like the one below
- Send a letter to your political representative adapting the sample letter below to your needs
(on the web)
- Sign domestic violence petition
- Sign Violence Against Children Letter (USA)
- Sign online letter to George Bush (Mainly for US citizens but Bush is an international figure so sign it anyway).
- Eaves, the Poppy Project and Lilith help women get out of violent situations
- Send a letter as part of a UK-Wide Strategy
- Send these postcards
- Join Amnesty International's Online Action Center
- AI USA action page (Has international actions)
- AI UK action page
- 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help End Violence Against Women - AI UK
- Truth About Rape
- Office on Violence Against Women (USA Men. You can do something)
- Toolkit for action
Petition against Violence
(Summary put simply) - This petition urges governments to be good examples in the struggle to end violence. To do this governments should: dismiss police, prison guards, police or other government officials who use violence; never use torture; put human rights first; spend money on stopping violence instead of spending it on weapons; teach everyone to treat everyone else with respect; teach people that violence is never right and is never glamorous; teach people about the roots of violence; give more help to victims of violence
We call on all governments to:
- Take the lead and show the way by becoming less violent
- Eradicate violence by government agencies such as police and prison guards
- Stand firm for human rights and never use torture or other violence. Violence is never right
- Increase public education so that everyone fully understands the whole domination/subordination culture that is the root of violence
- Base education on solid independent academic research
- Develop a nation-wide strategy against violence and abuse of power
- Increase training and communication within and between agencies connected with violence
- Include marginalised people more in mainstream policies and provide swifter, more targeted support for all vulnerable people
- Eradicate the idea that violence, violence with sex, or violent men are glamorous. No violence is glamorous and action should be taken to stop the insidious glamourization that is so prevalent
- Divert funding from weapons and increase support for all existing anti-violence agencies, campaigns and organizations
I agree and want to sign this petition
Letter writing is an effective way of making politicians take action. This sample letter may help you get started. There is also an excellent letter writing guide at Amnesty International
Sample letter about Violence
I am very concerned about the level of violence in our society today. Without a nation-wide co-ordinated strategy to end violence, especially against children and women, I believe things will only get worse. I often see women with bruises, I often hear men verbally abusing women or parents abusing their children, and this is just when I am going shopping in the town. The newspapers, radio and television always have a violent incident as one their stories.
These are just the tip of the iceberg because many forms of violence are hidden or not reported. Child abuse and domestic violence are well known as under-reported. Even when they are reported the police or agencies seem often to deal with them inappropriately. For example social workers not investigating further, hospitals not referring badly injured women to support agencies, women not getting help because they do not speak English, women being raped while drunk and feeling it is their own fault, etc.
Instances like this show several things. Firstly, people don't know their rights fully or the agencies that can help them. Better and more accessible information is essential. Second, training and communication within and between agencies is inadequate. It needs to be greatly improved. Third, cultural differences are poorly understood. Marginalized people need to be involved more in mainstream policies. Fourth, and most damningly, violence is accepted as a normal part of life. Widespread education from an early age must be implemented to reverse these false notions and complacent attitudes.
A nation-wide integrated strategy needs to be put in place to address these and other concerns such as honour killing, genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced prostitution, human trafficking and sexual harrassment. It needs to take strong action based on the increased knowledge and understanding gained through research. Violence is very deeply-rooted in our society and treating the symptoms will not eradicate it. The whole dominance/subordination culture must be fully understood by everyone. Only through a deep understanding will a shift in attitudes occur. Only when men in powerful positions understand they have much more to gain through love and tenderness than through coercion and tradition will the violence decrease. Violence is not glamorous. Sex with violence is not glamorous. Rough, tough men are not glamorous.
This understanding will only come via a nation-wide co-ordinated strategy involving public education, specialised training for agencies in all sectors, improved legislation and swifter, more targetted support for all vulnerable people.
Please press the minister with responsibility for an integrated strategy against violence with emphasis on the government showing the way by eradicating all state violence such as torture of detainees and by protecting human rights in all circumstances.