By Nancy E. Jeba
This world is a place which still has social inequality that results in violence. With social inequality comes social injustice and violence. Gender inequality is a type of social inequality. Gender inequality paves the way for gender-based violence. With the norms set in place by these inequalities, crimes against women are noticed more than crimes against men which is comparatively less than the crimes against women.
One of the social inequalities is that women get payed less than their men counterparts. Statistics show that women earn less than eighty percent of what men earn. Women hesitate to ask for a raise in pay because they are afraid that they might come off as greedy and rude. Also, women are promoted less than men and this is visible in the negligible number of women in positions such as CEO’s and top earners. There are various other instances of gender inequality. It begins from the moment of birth when the girl child is given less care and less opportunities for education. Because of child marriage which still exists, girls do not receive education necessary to make them independent because lack of education will also decrease the scope for employment. Women and girls are also in greater risk of being human trafficked. Apart from these ways of inequality, women also face gender-based violence.
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex OR gender identity. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.” Gender-based violence arises due to the fact that there is gender inequality prevalent in the world. Women face more violence and one out of three women are found to have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. Women and girls are the ones who are at most risk. But violence against men, boys and sexual and gender minorities are also committed.
Domestic violence is the most common form of violence women is exposed to such as forced abortions, marital rape and bride burning. Women are forced to abort the foetus if it is found to be a female. Moreover, marital rape is not considered a crime in some countries, thus giving men the right to rape his adult wife. Marital rape needs to be recognised as a crime because women have the right over their own body and marital rape is violating their personal space. At an extreme level, if the woman refuses to pay more dowry, she is burned by her husband or his family. Dowry reduces the value of women to mere objects and the world needs to change so that dowry is not required for a woman to get married. Apart from married women, women in relationships also face domestic violence from their intimate partner. Along with domestic violence, women also face violence in their workplace. Workplace violence is often overlooked. Women are abused physically, sexually and mentally in their workplace by their co-workers and their employers.
Women face violence in many forms due to the social and gender inequality prevalent in today’s society. While the empowerment of women is fought for, the violence faced by men is still a silent crisis. Only when social inequality is erased and gender equality formed, will all the violence against women and men stop. It is high time to start trying to reform our flawed society.