In Bullying Facts

Violence Against Women Act

The United Nations defines violence against women as any form of violence that results in the physical, sexual or mental harm and/or suffering to women. These acts can include threats, coercion or deprivation of liability. Throughout the years many have banded together to help prevent these heinous acts and protect women around the globe. Activists, politicians and local community members work to create equality among the sexes, which is the first step to stopping the violence. The Violence Against Women Act 2013 was implemented right here in the United States in an attempt to prevent any further violence. It also holds those committing the violence more accountable for their actions.

Facts

Here are some key facts regarding violence against women as reported by the World Health Organization:

  • Many major health problems are caused by violence against women
  • Of all the women worldwide 35 percent have experienced a form of violence in their lifetime
  • An average of 30 percent of women have reported being subjected to violence, physically or sexually by a partner
  • As many as 38 percent of the women murdered were attacked by an intimate partner

According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, trafficking is the modern-day slavery where women and girls are abducted and traded with the intention of sexual abuse and/or forced labor. Women and girls represent 55 percent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labor and 98 percent of the estimate 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.

Also according to the United Nations, the annual cost of intimate partner violence in the United states is calculated at 5.8 billion dollars. This money mostly goes toward the medical expenses associated with the violence.

Types of violence

There is no one method of violence women can be subjected to. Violence can strike in multiple different forms, among women of all types. Though violence does occur more often among certain social and ethnic backgrounds, women of all backgrounds, ethnicities and ages can fall victim to violence.

Different types of abuse women can experience include:

  • Physical aggression
  • Psychological abuse
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Sexual coercion
  • Rape
  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual assault or abuse
  • Stalking
  • Violence at work
  • Abuse among women with disabilities

Risk factors

Though violence against women is not set to one group, there are some factors which put women at a higher risk of abuse than others. Some of the following factors can increase the chances of a women being victimized:

  • Lower levels of education
  • Exposure to violence and maltreatment as a child
  • Witnessing violence within the family
  • Pre-existing antisocial behavior
  • Abuse of alcohol
  • Infidelity
  • Gender inequality
  • History of violent behavior
  • Marital dissatisfaction
  • Difficulties communicating between partners
  • The belief in sexual purity
  • Strong belief in family honor
  • The idea of male sexual entitlement
  • Unemployment and money issues

A woman who is already at risk may find the risk is greater if she her partner fits in one or more the following situations:

  • He has access to weapons
  • He is going through major life changes
  • He blames her for ruining his life
  • He has no respect for the law
  • He has easy access to her, her kids and her family

Signs of abuse

Some women do not even realize they are involved in a violence and abusive relationships. In most cases, these women believe that it is their duty to do what every their husband, or boyfriend wishes. Some of these wishes are in fact illegal and very abusive toward women.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the following list of signs a woman could be facing a violent situation, especially if he:

  • Monitors what she is doing all of the time
  • Regularly and unfairly accuses her of being unfaithful
  • Prevents her from seeing friends and family
  • Prevents her and/or discourages her from going to work or school
  • Gets even angrier after drinking or using drugs
  • Controls how much money she can spend and on what she can spend it on
  • Controls her use of medications prescribed by her physician
  • Makes decisions for her about day-to-day living, including what to wear and eat
  • Humiliates her in front of others
  • Destroys her belongings, especially things she truly cares about
  • Threatens to hurt her and anyone close to her
  • Hurts her by hitting, beating, shoving, punching, slapping, biting or kicking
  • Uses or threatens to use a weapon against her
  • Forces her to have sex against her will
  • Controls her use of birth control or insists she get pregnant
  • Blames her for his behavior
  • Does not allow her access to a phone
  • Listens to her phone calls, views her emails and follows her
  • Threatens to harm himself
  • Threatens that no one can have her if he cannot

Health risks

When a women has been violently attacked, there are some health risks she may face in the future. Depending upon the severity of the attack and if these attacks are ongoing, a woman could suffer from long-term health consequences.

Some of the health risks associated with violence against women include:

  • Physical injuries, including breaking of bones, cuts and bruises covering her body
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Gynecological problems
  • Transmission of STDs, including HIV
  • Miscarriage, still birth, low birth weights and preterm deliveries
  • Depression, including post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Health effects including headaches, back pain, gastrointestinal disorders and overall poor health
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Fatal results, including homicide and suicide

Prevention

Teaching women the different signs of abuse is one of the best ways to help prevent violence against women. Knowing if someone is in an abusive relationship is key to recognizing and taking action against the men who intend to cause harm to women.

The following are some tips to help prevent violence against women:

  • Remember no always means no
  • Stop supporting movies and shows that depict women as subordinates and sex objects
  • Do not support the porn industry
  • Avoid strip clubs
  • Stop demeaning femininity
  • Speak up against the violence
  • Get the police involved if you or someone you know is a victim of abuse
  • Be a hero and show victims there is help available
  • Speak up against sexism, including comments and jokes
  • Become familiar with the Violence Against Women Act
  • Learn local violence against women laws
  • Do not buy from sexist companies
  • Do not show support for sexist communities
  • Donate or volunteer to legitimate organization that are against violence against women
  • Teach children how to be respectful of women
  • Do not engage in revenge porn
  • Never believe a woman had it coming to her because of how she is dressed
  • Think before you speak
  • Stop prematurely sexualizing young girls
  • Reach out to a local women’s group or shelter for help
  • Take a self defense class
  • Start and teach school based programs
  • Recognize and understand the risk factors and signs of abuse
  • Promote gender equality

Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first major law to be passed in an attempt to help government agencies and victim advocate groups to work together in a fight against domestic violence, sexual assault and any other type of violence against women. The law include punishment standards for certain crimes and started several programs to help prevent violence and help those who have been victimized.

Community programs created by the act include:

  • Violence prevention and awareness programs in local communities
  • Protection and help for victims who have been evicted from their homes as a result of domestic violence and/or stalking
  • Funding for assistance services for victims, including rape crisis centers and help hotlines
  • Programs to help meet the needs of immigrant women and those of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs to help victims of violence who have disabilities
  • Legal aid for those who are struggling with violence
  • Special services for children and teens

According to the White House, the VAWA act has improved the criminal justice system’s response toward violence against women. This is done primarily by holding those causing the violence accountable for their actions. Other facts about the VAWA include:

  • Mandating that no victim should have to pay for the expense of their own protection order or rape exams
  • Making protection orders available to help keep victims safe
  • Communities now have higher conviction rates
  • Victims are assured the police will respond when they call
  • Easy access to services available for victims and families
  • State laws are more serious about violence against women

The White House claims that the rate of intimate partner violence has declined 67 percent between 1993 and 2010.. Since the VAWA was passed, more than 35 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have all adopted laws addressing violence against women, including domestic, sexual and workplace associated abuse.

No woman should be treated in a poor or violent manner. Know the warning signs and where to get help. Never let anyone cause harm or threaten to cause harm to you or anyone you know.

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