Women fall victims to violence because of their gender. It is a manifestation of the power disparity between the two sexes. The right of women and girls to a life free from violence is a legitimate right of humans. Reality is completely different. This is not only happening in Algeria but it is transcontinental and present in all countries of the world. Even the most advanced ones!
Since the world is celebrating in this period 16 days of activism against violence against women and girls under the name of “orange the world campaign” starting from November 25th:” The International Day Against Violence Against Women and Girls” to December 10th: International Human Rights Day, I wanted to seek the opportunity and talk about this subject. So, if you are interested in the subject keep on reading this article. If not, keep also on reading it can change your thinking about the topic or add new information to you!
What is violence against women?
The United Nations defines violence against women as any violent act that the aggressor’s nervousness leads to, and that results in harm or suffering for women. Whether from a physical or psychological point of view. Including the threat of such acts or the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether this occurs in public or private life.
Usually, the perpetrators are either current or ex-husbands, parents, siblings, or colleagues. Often women and girls are exposed to violence in places where they are supposed to feel safe. For example in their homes or their social surroundings.
Women most vulnerable to violent practices are those who are separated from their partner, married, or who were exposed to violence during their childhood.
A report of the United Nations confirms that only 10 percent of the women who are victims of violence report that they are exposed to that and only 40 percent talk about it with relatives, which highlights the need for action to sensitize women to the importance of changing their reality. Despite the existence of the laws, they lack accompaniment and enforcement mechanisms. The World Health Organization believes that violence against women is one of the biggest health risks that women face all over the world!
Violence against women in Algeria:
Algeria has seen a significant rise in violence against women in recent years, both in the family and in the street according to an article published by Al Jazeera. Security Services statistics say they recorded nearly eight thousand cases of violence against women only in the first nine months of 2019.
The general figures of the National Directorate of security-which are now recording violence against women – show numbers that need to be seen given the significant growth of the phenomenon, since in 2016 more than 8,000 cases of violence against women were recorded, 50% of which were domestic violence.
In the same context, Algeria counted more than 7,586 violent cases against women during the first nine months of 2017, as well as those who did not file a complaint against those involved, often because of fear of husbands and the reaction of society.
The figures also found that violence against women is 65% and that men are 90% responsible.
However, despite all the alarming numbers recorded about violence against women, the real figure is much greater because of the lack of reporting by abused women for several considerations. Also because of the nature of society and local norms, which often reprimand women who report violence.
Causes of violence against women:
These include low levels of Education. Widespread ignorance among members of society. Consequently, vulnerability to misconceptions that spread in society, as well as the adoption of macho views that manifest themselves in the form of both physical and sexual violence.
The psychological factors that formed in the personalities of perpetrators of violence against women in childhood greatly influence their behaviors. The most prominent of these psychological factors is the victimization of the perpetrator in any form in childhood, his presence in a family environment where the father attacks the mother in any form. The absence of the father from the family can be a cause too. Besides personality disorders that may lead to the creation of an antisocial personality.
Low living standards, widespread unemployment, and poverty are among the most common causes of violence in many societies today. These causes, combined, pose significant psychological pressures on the breadwinners of the family, which often collide with the consumerism of women.
Sometimes, women themselves can be one of the main factors that lead to violence against them! Such as when they are very afraid of the man himself or of the society in which they live. They are forced to silence and submit to violence, such as ridicule, to avoid the most severe physical violence. Women are forced to refrain from violence if there is no one to protect them when they are subjected to any form of violence. Also, most women are afraid to go to court and lodge complaints because they are convinced that there are no laws to deter violence. In addition to the domestic pressure that women may be subjected to if they file a complaint against men. Sometimes the husband may force her to all these things, combined, do not encourage women to resort to the courts to respond to violence against them.
Violence against women is a clear and blatant violation of human rights. It prevents them from enjoying their full rights and has serious consequences not only for women but for society as a whole, with serious social and economic consequences.
The effects of violence against women:
Violence results in severe physical, psychological, sexual, and reproductive health problems in the short and long term and high social and economic costs for those exposed to it.
Also, it can cause fatal consequences, such as violence, induced abortions, and women’s health problems. In addition to that murder, preterm birth, and low birth weight. These forms of violence can also lead to depression and suicide.
Sexual violence, especially during childhood, can increase the likelihood of drug and alcohol addiction. Also dangerous sexual behaviors later in life. There is also a relationship between exposure to violence perpetration (for males) or becoming a victim (for females) in adults.
What about children?
Kids raised in families where violence is common are more likely to experience a range of behavioral and emotional disorders. This can lead them to commit or fall victims to such violence later in life.
Research of Uppsala University showed a link between cohabiting violence and higher infant and child mortality and morbidity rates (e.g. diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition) was also revealed.
Social and economic impacts:
YES! Violence against women incurs huge social and economic costs. Women may experience isolation, inability to work, loss of pay, lack of participation in regular activities, and limited access to care for themselves and their children.
Solutions to the problem of violence against women:
From a personal perspective, I believe that prevention begins through school curricula. It must include programs to identify and respond to violence. In addition, programs that demonstrate the need for the relationship between couples within society to be based on principles of respect.
Violence against women must also be addressed through the correction of gender-specific cultural norms with the contribution of active official institutions, civil and civic organizations in society. Reformists, and religion, as well as local media. Developing the health sector and respond to situations of violence and raise awareness on the subject will help a lot.
Besides, legislation to protect women’s rights, whether at the family level, at the employment level, and legitimate rights, must be implemented. As well as numerous amendments to the old laws, which are no longer relevant in the current situation.
People must be pushed to practice life side by side with the participation of women. Many families are afraid to give responsibility to women, for fear of being attacked with words and vilified. This reinforces the existence of social and cultural backwardness, making it gnaw in the minds of societies for decades.
The role of civil society in eliminating this phenomenon:
Algerian society, like Arab societies, continues to subject women to male control. Along with the authority of traditions that contribute to the humiliation of women.
Despite holding high positions in various fields and entering areas that were exclusive to men, she remains in the eyes of society as a minor. Incompetent, unable to decide the fate of her life, and only created to marry, have children and serve the family. Unfortunately, the authority of tradition has excelled in insulting her, taking violence as a means of disciplining women as if they are in need of that!
Youth leaders can be a powerful component of social change as they have the desire to change social and political structures for the better. We need to empower them! Invest in their skills and abilities to achieve peace and justice. This will end all forms of violence, either against men or women!
Author: Rania Boublal.