It’s not just about not hitting good women
When you think about violence against women, what do you think? Instantly we go to an image of a man physically beating a woman.
However, this stunted view of violence leaves many people vulnerable.
Violence is not just physical
Outside of physically assaulting someone, there is so much more to violence. When confronted with the fact that violence is a lot more than getting hit, you are forced to re-think what it means to stop violence against women and children.
Not only are there different types but also comes on various levels, such as interpersonal violence and structural violence.
Levels of violence
Interpersonal violence does not only look at physical violence but also includes sexual, mental, emotional, and financial violence.
Structural violence is violence that operates higher levels and can be found in spheres like the state, religion, or even culture.
Erasure can be a form of violence as can a lack of access to education or even healthcare all which function at a much higher level than face to face interactions. When a girl child cannot go to school because of a lack of access to sanitary material this is an act of violence at a societal level.
Looking at the subtleties of violence is an important aspect of truly halting the widespread phenomenon, as well as understanding how it is everywhere. For example, sexual violence is often collapsed into physical violence but there are more subtle ways to enact sexual violence it can include street harassment, unwanted sexual advances, coercion into sex even within intimate partner relations, and people who have sex with each other on the regular.
Rape culture and other harmful attitudes
This ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ is not just about not putting your hands on someone, it is about looking at the entire spectrum that encapsulates violence, and the ways in which this spectrum is held into place. The societal attitudes that allow for the various forms of violence, the structures that remain in place that perpetuate violence at the micro and macro level. The personal and social attitudes that allow for violence.
If you are out here thinking that women should dress a certain way to not get sexually assaulted, then you are lending your mental mind towards ideas of rape culture and sexual violence against women. Are you saying that there are certain instances in which women can (and probably should) be sexually violated?
It is about unpacking the societal aspects including religious, state level, cultural, and moralistic structures that mean it is okay to rain down a world of hurt on some bodies.
There is no ‘perfect’ victim
The period is one in which our thinking needs to go further than ‘she is a good woman/they are only a child do not hit them’ to why is violence so prevalent the other 349 Days of the year?
What ways are there that violence is manifesting that we do not even think about. And how is this is harming women and children?
Who are the people being left out of this violence conversation because they do not fit the bill of the ‘perfect victim?’
The stand against violence cannot just be for some women. It must be for all women.
The woman who posts nudes online, the woman who does not want to be a wife or mother, the woman who is not the perfect daughter, queer women, sex workers.
When the prerequisites to who deserves violence meet with the stunted idea of violence, we shall find that a lot of people fall short and are left squarely in the firing line.