How Sexual Violence against Women is a Curse for Society?
Sexual violence is an act of violence in which an attempt is made to obtain sexual favor from a person who is reluctant to engage in any kind of sexual act.
In layman’s terms, it is an act of forcing someone to have sex who is otherwise unwilling. Sexual violence is not just limited to the act of sex. In the broader sense, it includes groping, molestation, making lewd remarks, intentionally revealing private parts, showing pornographic images, threatening to have sex, etc.
Sexual violence is harmful
Sexual violence is injurious to physical, mental and psychological health; it is a violation of human rights and dignity and a serious issue to be dealt with. Sometimes domestic violence perpetrators – mostly men – sexually assault their victims. In case of rape – sexual violence of highest magnitude – victims are often killed by rapists so they couldn’t prosecute them.
When the violence is not physical, the harm could be incalculable. Stalking, making sexually provocative comments, etc causes untold psychological harm.
Scars originating from sexual abuse stay within the victim’s psyche and ruins their life, strips them of self-esteem. And cause them to suffer immensely.
Who are the victims
The victims of sexual violence are almost always women. In theory, men can also be the victims, but more than 90% of cases, the victims are women. According to studies, women tend to suffer silently. Even when they encounter first degree sexual violence, they hesitate to report to authorities.
It is found that in less than 5% of cases, an incident of rape is reported to the police because of the shame women feel and the way society treats them. It is also found that they receive harassment and threats from the rapists/harassers when they report the crime. Though it’s a global problem, it is worse in developing nations.
In many Asian, African and South American countries, women don’t usually reach out to the police because of lack of support system, the way they are treated after being announced as a victim. At times, despite having no fault of their own, they are blamed for the act; such brazen insensitivity discourages them from reporting the crime.
It affects women’s health
Sexual violence can have severe health consequences for women. It can leads to serious physical issues and even death.
Unwanted pregnancy from rape is very common. The risk is even higher if the victim is an underage girl. Because her body is not mature enough to bear a child, pregnancy can be life-threatening for her. Forceful penetration can be incredibly painful and can gravely wound the female reproductive system, rendering the victim unable to bear children.
Then there’s STD risk. Compared to men, women are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases because of their biology. If a woman is raped by a man with an STD, she is likely to contract the disease, more so because rapists don’t use protection during intercourse. There are innumerable cases where HPV, HCV and HIV were transmitted during the act of rape, and victims were both women and men.
Sanity of victims is shattered forever. They suffer from depression, experience mental stress, revisit the traumatic experience again and again. In short, they end up becoming broken individuals. Many commit suicide. Meditation, stress management and yoga can help them, but they don’t feel the desire to get better for the stigma and self-hatred.
Preventing sexual violence
For preventing and eradicating this problem from society, following measures should be taken.
- Strict laws should be made and enforced.
- Women should be cautious while interacting with strangers.
- Kind and compassionate attitude should be taken towards the victim.
- All women should learn self-defence techniques from an early age. Learning martial arts like Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, Karate, etc can save them from attackers and ensure healthy mind and body.
- Raise awareness about the topic
Countries most affected
Several countries are in this list. Countries like Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Canada, France, Germany, UK, India, Sweden, South Africa, and even the United States. Not all of them are developing nations, which is an important observation as it articulates why spreading awareness is more important than introducing new laws.
Treatment with the survivors
This is how survivors of sexual violence, especially rape, should be treated.
- Emergency first aid should be given to them, if the wounds are acute, they should be taken to nearby hospitals.
- Complaint should be made to the police without wasting time so that evidence could be collected.
- Victims should be given support and care.
- Survivors should be respected, loved and sympathized by others.
In some societies, women are believed to be goddesses but in reality, treated as slaves. Isn’t it an irony? These societies should stop ostracizing women and take violence against them very seriously.
Violence against women is a curse for society. A society cannot grow until it starts treating women as equals and gives them the respect they deserve. This awareness should be brought into the social fabric and not just in the legal sphere.