‘Justice is Blind – But Not in the Case of Gender Violence’

Have you ever wondered why women live lives under threat of physical and emotional violence? Why do men hit women who love them? Why do women stay? What does a woman do who experiences threats to her safety? Why are women not empowered to flourish in a culture? 

It isn't very hard to find answers: gender roles taught at home, in religion, in employment, and in politics places women in vulnerable positions. Many women self monitor themselves to fit in and to be accepted. Many fathers and husbands expect their wives to submit to male domination. From where does the notion of domination come?

DURBAN, South Africa , Feb 20 2013 (IPS)

In South Africa, "a powder keg that has been waiting to go off in South Africa, where violence against women has reached record proportions."  "According to one-year statistics from the South African Police Services released in 2011, seven women were murdered each day. Meanwhile, crime trackers estimate that one woman gets raped every 17 seconds, bestowing upon South Africa the dubious title of the world’s rape capital, according to Interpol. Yet, less than one percent of rape cases are reported to police."

"Only two weeks ago, the country was left in shock when 17-year-old Anene Booysen was brutally gang raped, mutilated and disembowelled, dying of her injuries soon thereafter."

"Research published this year by South Africa's Medical Research Council revealed that more than a quarter of the test group of 1,738 men from all races and economic backgrounds had admitted raping at least once."

“If the nation as a whole doesn’t take action soon, we are at risk of becoming known as a place where no woman or girl is safe anywhere, especially near her intimate partner. This should not in the least be anything we should be aspiring towards,”



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Replies to This Discussion

Joan, first, I'm glad the Repubs in Congress woke up and passed the VAWA.

Now, I'll charge out onto the minefield and hope I don't trip a mine.

Your "Why do men hit women who love them?" has two parts.

First, regarding the "who love them":

1) The rules taught when we were young differ greatly from the rules being taught now. (Details later if you wish.)

2) Then, men lied to women to gain access to their bodies and women lied to men to gain access to their money.

3) Now, birth control, rule changes, and more nearly equal pay and opportunities make some of that lying less useful.

Second, regarding the "Why do men hit women...?":

First and briefly, the ancient Roman Seneca said it well: violence arises from weakness.

Second, when I was about ten, I overheard some women on my mom's side of the family at a reunion. One of them made her opinion clear; "If he hits me one time, there won't be a second time!"

I don't know the context because I never again heard anything like that from either side of the family.

I was almost thirty and still in college when, based on what I'd learned from women I'd met, I wondered if women were masochists. The idea bothered me; I wasn't a sadist and knew I wouldn't be able to sustain an S/M relationship.

From where does the notion of domination come?

If it didn't come from the time long ago that big blue-green algae engulfed small blue-green algae, I don't know.

The question deserves its own discussion.

There was a time in history when god was a woman, a fact which most people don't know. The evidence is clear, especially for those interested in archeology ... ooopppsss that is not true. Many archeologists do not accept that premise. Going to a dig in Greece, only 1% of the recovered images from early humans were male. It appears women were very special because they bled and did not die, they had children from their bodies, they suckled young, none of which males could do.

Along came a thunder god, who lived in the sky, who had a male head, who gave instructions to special men, who valued power of male gender over reproductive ability, and perceived god>male>nature> and then women and female children at the bottom as chattel. We still live under that impression. To get rid of male dominance, get rid of hierarchical thinking.

The paradigm shift has already taken place and many realize we live in a "partnership" society, where all of the universe exist as part of a whole system, with laws provided by natural forces.

There are some great videos on this subject:
Marija Gimbutas:

Riane Eisler:

Of course there are books by these two, and by many others who support this new paradigm of partnership.

"There was a time in history 'when god was a woman',...."

About 25 years ago I read Merlin Stone's book with that title. It's been republished (2012) and Amazon has the ebook for Kindles. Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Tiny discount: list price 14.95; ebook 13.99.

Amazon always tells "Customers who bought this book also bought...." The Spiral Dance, The Living Goddesses, The Chalice and the Blade.

One quarter admitted to rape, probably more were rapists who didn't admit it. From all races and economic backgrounds doesn't surprise me, rape culture is broader than race or class subcultures.

Back when Reagan's war talk was scaring people, someone asked Berkeley students what they would do if they knew missiles would arrive in thirty minutes. You know the answer. Many more than a quarter gave it.


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