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What is abuse against women?-This is any assault on a woman’s body, physical integrity, orfreedom of movement through individual acts and societaloppression.- Abuse can take many forms - 1. battering - 2. rape - 3. sexual and physical abuse of young women - 4. verbal and emotional - 5. murder - 6. forced sterilization - 7. female genital cutting - 8. stalking - 9. prostitution
Understanding Violence• There are many reasons in which a man may engage in violence, the main reason being power and control, however, sexual frustration, childhood abuse, unbearable life pressure, drug or alcohol abuse, and an innate urge toward aggression all play equal roles.• Men use many tactics to abuse women • Coercion and threats • Intimidation • Verbal attacks • Isolation • Minimizing, denying, and blaming • Using loved ones • Abusing authority • Economic control
Understanding Violence• Men still feel superior to women• Men are thought of as dominant, whereas women are thought of as dependent.• They believe that violence is an appropriate way to gain control
Race, Class, Prejudice, and Violence Against Women• The race of a woman and violence are shown to have a connection• Women of color, older women, young women, immigrant women, refugees, lesbians, poor women, transgender individuals, and women with disabilities are at greater risk• Women who are unable to speak English (in the US) are at a disadvantage because many hotlines speak English only • Also, many times the abuser is able to speak English and therefore puts himself/herself at a greater advantage when talking to authority figures
Reactions to Experiencing Violence• Isolation is a common feeling after being abused• Some even experience PSTD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) • Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing recollection in images, thoughts of perceptions • Flashbacks, hallucinations, nightmares, and disassociation are common • Many women may even blame themselves for the abuse inflicted upon them
Regaining Our Lives• This is a gradual process and varies with each person• Some common things to remember during the healing process: • The violence was NOT your fault • We made the best choices we were able to • There is no right way to feel or heal • We deserve support • We need to give ourselves time to heal
Intimate Partner Violence• Also know as domestic abuse • A pattern of behavior that causes fear and intimidation • Can include slapping, choking, kicking, hitting, threatening with weapons, sexual assault, verbal and emotional abuse, control of finances/physical freedom, destruction of objects, and harm to children or pets • “I have been threatened with he’s had a bad day and when he’s had a good day”• If domestic violence is not addressed immediately, it can end in murder • Often times women will stay with their abusive partner because they feel love for them still or because they simply are too worn down to leave
Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children• Children that grow up with a mother who was battered are more likely to be battered themselves• They believe that violence is the best way to solve conflicts • Being in an abusive relationship in the future is more likely for them• “I was raped and beaten by my father. By the time I…stated dating, I had lost my voice. I didn’t think that I had the right to say, ‘No, you cant do this to me’”.
What do you do if you are being battered?• Become aware, inform others, and make a safety plan• Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE• Familiarize yourself with state laws regarding domestic violence• Build a support network• Watch for warning signs of abuse• Teach children how to call the police
Legal and Medical Considerations• All 50 states have consistent laws that protect battered women• Hospitals are trained to deal with women how have been battered (especially if the abuser goes to the hospital with you), they are able to assist you in getting the proper help• Restraining orders can be implemented• There are anti-stalking laws• However, going to the authorities may put you at a higher risk because it can enrage your abuser, so consult your local advocate on the proper plan of action
Rape• Any act of sexual penetration that is unwanted• Nearly 18% of women have been victim to rape • 22% of women reported that they were under 12 years old when raped, and half were under 18• Men and women alike can perpetrate rape• Generally happens with people we know, not strangers
Medical Considerations• KEEP THE EVIDENCE and seek help• Go to the hospital and request a rape kit• Ask for the examination to include the following • History of the sexual assault and medical concerns • Pelvic exam • Examination and treatment of external injuries • Treatment for STIs • Treatment for prevention of pregnancy • Information about AIDS/HIV • A follow up exam
Legal Action• Even if you don’t initially want to press charges or report it, it is a good idea to keep the evidence in case you want to in the future• Can report a rape anonymously• Work is being done to make rape cases progress quicker so prolonged pain is avoided
Protecting Against Rape• Keep in mind these simple steps in order to prevent rape • Safety in social situations • Safety in intimate relationships • Safety at home • Safety in your neighborhood • Safety on the street • Calling for help on the highway
Incest and Sexual Abuse of Children• Sexual contact between family members• This can include: sexually suggestive language, prolonged kissing, looking, and petting, vaginal or anal intercourse, and oral sex• We often blame ourselves for this• Don’t keep it in, reach out and tell someone about what happened
Sexual Harassment• Unwanted sexual attention • Leering, pinching, patting, repeated comments, subtle suggestions of a sexual nature, pornography in the workplace, and pressure for dates• This is not limited to just the workplace, it can also take place at: school, doctors offices, welfare workers with clients, and police officers• Sexual harassment can lead to physical abuse and rape• Refusal to have sex with someone can lead to loss of job and decreased attendance in school• Again, we often blame ourselves for the sexual harassment
Prostitution and Sex Trafficking• Those who engage in prostitution usually do so because they need the money or they run away from abusive homes • Becomes a means of survival• Prostitution is illegal and it is usually the women who get in trouble with the law rather than the pimps• These women are at a higher risk of contracting STDs, and medical help is not readily available for them
Sex Trafficking• Because the demand for prostitutes out numbers those who are willing to engage in such activities, women are traded throughout the nation • Roughly 700,000-2,000,000 women and children are trafficked internationally, and about 50,000 of them are right here in the United States• If they refuse at first, they will be repeatedly raped until they agree to living a life of prostitution
Defending Ourselves• Taking self defense classes is great way to prepare yourself in case of an attack • Might have to defend against a date, friend, partner, parent, teacher, or coworker• Self defense includes • Assertiveness training • Exercise • Boxing, and other sports that promote self confidence, self knowledge, and self reliance• Helps us think clearly at the moment of an attack
Ending Violence Against Women• Women and men alike are taking steps in fighting back against violence against women• “Imagine a world free from gender-based violence: where homes are not broken into fragments; where tears are no longer shed for daughters raped in war, and in peace; where shame and silence break into new melodies; where women and men gain power and courage to live to their full potential. Into such a world, I pray, let the twenty-first century awake”.