Sexual Violence Against Women Essay, Research Paper
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
In today’s society, sexual violence against women isn’t a rarity. Every year, large numbers of women are becoming victims of some kind of violent act. This has caused sexual violence to become a growing concern among societies. Let us ask ourselves, “When will it stop?” Women always say to themselves, “It will never happen to me.” If you were to look at the number of victims there are, you might come to the realization that it could, and it might. Sexual violence will not go away if we continue to let it happen. We as women have to stand up for ourselves and stop being such weak individuals.
Sexual harassment in the workplace has become very widespread. It has become one of the most serious problems across Canada. “Recent surveys of letters to the editor indicate that most women feel that sexual harassment is the norm and not the exception.” For me personally, I cannot believe that this is accepted by women. Women need to stop being so weak. We have to stand up and take action. This is not acceptable! Most women have male bosses. If they are harassed they tend not to report it, for they are scared to lose their jobs.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advances, comments or requests that make one feel uncomfortable. “Sexual contact or threat of sexual contact or coercion for the purpose of sexual contact which is not freely entered into a mutually agreeable to both parties.” It is difficult to know what ones perception of sexual harassment is. An arm around the shoulder to one person may not make them uncomfortable but to another it could be harassment. For me a pat or a pinch on a woman’s bottom is sexual harassment. I feel we need to make sure to let that person know that this is not acceptable. No doesn’t mean “NO” anymore. You have to show your harasser by your body language as well. It could possibly be stronger. “Every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace because of sex by his or her employer or agent of the employer or by another employee.
Sexual harassment can be verbal, visual, psychological and possibly physical, that may go as far as rape. It is not at any one level or class. Men that are accused often deny the charges are never willing to deal with what they have done. Because of this, most women will often find it hard to go against them. You must tell the harasser ‘NO,” and explain in a very serious way that their behavior is not acceptable. Keep a journal, and record any event and time they occurred. You may even have a witness. Ask around to see if the person is harassing anyone else. Then, go further to report it to your employer or even further to the Human Rights Commission. It is important for women to be strong and you must act immediately! You don’t want to wait, for you cannot let a harasser get away with something like this. Why put yourself in a possibly dangerous situation. Act right away!
Other forms of sexual violence against women include incestuous relations. Incest is a topic society does not wish to discuss, even though it occurs everyday. It is difficult for many women to deal with the fact that they have been raped, sexually abused, or harassed by their own relatives and loved ones. It will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
It is uncomfortable to discuss fathers having sex with their daughters, uncles with their nieces, or grandfathers with their grandchildren. Not every case has a male aggressor and a female victim. The roles can be reversed, like mothers having sex with their sons. Sexual relations can also occur between siblings. “Incest is any sexual activity between family members or close relations such as adoption or step-relations.”
“The exact number of families affected by incest is unknown. Some professionals believe many cases are unreported because society is so uncomfortable with the idea of parents performing sexual acts on their own children.” If incidents are reported, it is usually the abusers that deny it is occurring. They tend to direct the blame on the victims.
The most generally reported type of incest is between a father and his daughter. The father is the aggressor and the daughter is the victim. The relationship is based on trust and as sexual activity is introduced in to the bond, it breaks down this trust in a slow process.
Innocent affection by the father such as a hug or a kiss slowly develops into sex in many ways. The father may encourage sexual curiosity or show pornography. The father then begins begins to manipulate the daughter’s mind by telling her the relationship is not wrong, but should be kept a secret because others will not understand. Fear of the family breaking up is pressed towards the daughter to make sure she does not tell.
Another side to the situation is that the daughter has the courage to tell. In many cases, she is not listened to by anyone other than the abuser. The mother is the first person she will go to. Usually, the mother denies any knowledge and will also shift the blame on the daughter in order for herself to deal with such an accusation. The general incestuous relationship is not about sexual satisfaction, but also about control and power.
“Sexual relations have many forms and bonds, but the most traumatic type of sexual abuse is considered to be incest between a child and a parent.”
Incest isn’t the only form of sexual violence that involves close relationships. Date rape is a very common form of sexual violence that occurs with someone who is also important to you, your date. Date rape is when you have been forced to have sex by a date. Chilling statistics show that 1 in 4 women surveyed were victims of rape or attempted rape. 84% of women knew their attackers; 57% had been raped by a date; 30% had been raped by a friend; and 11% had been raped by a boyfriend. 41% of raped women said they expected to be raped again. Out of the 2,971 college men surveyed, and they reported that they had committed 187 rapes; 157 attempted rapes; 327 episodes of sexual coercion; and 854 episodes of unwanted sexual contact – all in ONE year. Many of the rapists have tried to say it’s the victims fault, but it never is. No matter what you’re wearing or doing, if you say “No” to a date who wants sex, it’s date rape. We as women should learn to try things other than “No,” because it just doesn’t seem to work anymore. We should learn to be more aggressive. If I were in that situation, I wouldn’t be afraid to push the guy away, or even hit him. We should use any means possible to get the message across – I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU!! We need to learn how to make men listen, and pay attention to US. We need to communicate clearly with them. For example, one girl went to a party, and her date’s friends were making comments about her legs and her breasts. Even though she felt very uncomfortable, she pretended that she was enjoying it, and the rest of the evening continued in that same pattern. The problem was that she didn’t get the message across CLEARLY in the first place. Instead of pretending, she should have simply asked the guys to refrain from making comments about her.
There are many things that women can do to reduce the risk of being raped.
1. You have a right to set sexual limits and to communicate those limits.
2. Be assertive.
3. Stay sober.
4. Find out about a new date.
5. Remain in control!
6. Take care of yourself.
7. Trust your feelings.
8. Students should take extra precautions.
There are a lot of myths about rape that people may think are true. They are listed below.
Myth: Guys have such strong sexual feelings that they can’t control themselves, so it’s up to the girls to make sure the guys aren’t tempted. Wrong! Everyone can control their emotions, and everyone knows what they are doing. If a girl says no to a guy, then he should accept the response.
Myth: If a girl dresses in a sexy way, she is as good as telling a guy that she wants to have sex with him. False. No matter how a woman dresses, that does not mean she wants to have sex with that person. DO NOT MAKE ACCUSATIONS!
Myth: If a girl starts to be sexual with a guy she has to go all the way. Not true. Guys and girls have the choice of when to stop. If you say no to your partner, he or she should listen to you and respect your feelings.
Some girls reach their teen years with a history of being sexually abused by men and it may continue throughout their life. The physical and emotional trauma is the same if abused or raped by a stranger, an acquaintance, or a man that you are romantically involved with. No matter who it is, let someone know. Either a doctor, police officer, or a family member. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible to make sure there is no physical damage. Most of all, make sure that you are not pregnant, and to see if you have any signs of STD’s. It may add more emotional pain, but the sooner you get checked out, the sooner you can get treated.
There are a lot of ideas that may come into the mind of someone who has been raped, sexually abused, or a victim of incest. Some may feel that suicide is the only answer, but it never is. Your life is worth much more than you probably think. Other women may seize some type of mental disorder, and others may seek therapy. Prevention is not easy, and breaking away is even harder. Try to avoid situations where the abuse can be easily induced, for instance, being alone with the abuser.
It is very difficult for a woman to put her life back together, and it may be hard for family members to deal with it as well. Some members of the family will believe it is partly their fault. They may feel guilt, frustration, pain, or anxiety. If you are a friend of a victim, there are three things you should say to that person. I believe you, it wasn’t your fault, and you are not alone. It is very difficult to cope with any type of sexual violence. The one thing you should never forget is that if you say “NO” to physical intimacy, you may lose your partner, but you won’t lose yourself.
Over the years, sexual violence against women has increased dramatically. It has been ignored and allowed by our aggressive society. It seems as though it’s almost permissible. Everyday women are beaten, raped, harassed, and killed by someone they don’t know, or by an acquaintance. Many cases of sexual violence are not reported, which is why it is a reoccurring act. We cannot let this crime become a part of our lives. We must overcome our fears, and find the courage to fight back and say “NO!” We should no longer play the role of the weak, and vulnerable. We have to show those men that we can take care of ourselves, and we will do that by not letting them take control of us.
“Today, prevention of not being assaulted is not easy, but women should maintain equal control in situations with men who might not be interested in such equality.”