How and Why Might Violence Against Women Be Perceived As an Indicator of Unequal Citizenship Essay

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Violence Against Women

Since the beginning of times, women have been subjected to violence, not just of one kind but many different kinds. It should be noted here that although all sorts of violence against women are common in all parts of the world, some particular kinds of violence are location specific. Political and democratic governments have taken a number of steps all over the world and have passed bills to protect the rights of women, but somehow these have not been enough to completely eradicate this evil from the face of the earth (Gerstenfeld, 2013).

In this paper, we shall discuss sexual violence, domestic violence and discrimination against aboriginal women. The aforementioned types of violence would be discussed according to the areas of the world where they are relatively more common and if any steps have been taken by the government regarding this matter. At the end of the paper, we shall also shed some light on the main question of the paper that is whether or not violence against women can be perceived as unequal citizenship.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in public places and especially at offices is not a new idea for anyone. In every part of the world, this practice is quite common and women have always been subjected to such behavior. In this part of the paper, we will be talking about sexual harassment in Australia and how the government approaches to deal with the situation. It is noteworthy at this point that according to the Anti-Discrimination Act of the year 1977, sexual harassment is considered to be a sort of gender discrimination and there is no separate public legislation for sexual harassment (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2013). While many people in the country, especially women rights' activists, want sexual harassment to come under the act of violence, other stakeholders believe that it is in fact gender discrimination. The first argument that is given to support the aforementioned statement is that it is mostly women that are subjected to sexual harassment and there are barely any cases that have been reported in which any man was sexually harassed (McCann, 2005). Therefore, when women are harassed, the entire burden is on them. Firstly, they have to prove that they have been sexually or verbally harassed. This is not an easy task to do and many women even fail at doing so. Secondly, most of the women who have any such bad experience, they prefer to quit the job than to make claims. Thirdly, there are many organizations and employers that do not take into consideration sexual or verbal harassment against women, meaning they are tolerant to this behavior. When such is the case then again it is the women who have to suffer.

Some amendments have been made to the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 pertaining to the definition of sexual harassment. According to these amendments, any unfavorable sexual move towards the opposite gender that might be offensive to the person is now considered to be an act of sexual harassment in the Commonwealth nations including Australia.

According to the latest advancements that have been made in the legislation of the Commonwealth nations including Australia, sexual harassment should be taken as a matter of morality and not a matter of equality. Sexual harassment does not necessarily have to mean rape, but is any act that intimidates or humiliates the other person. The government has given that person the right to call on the law for protection.

It cannot be said that incidents of sexual harassment can in all totality be perceived as unequal citizenships, however the government and legislation of many countries considers it to be a subject of morality and not equality and deals with it as such.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and abuse against women is one of the few subjects that have inspired women and human rights' activists all over the world to take some major steps (World Health Organization, 1977). Domestic abuse and violence cannot be localized to any particular part of the world since it is common all over the world. Men have always been taking out their frustrations on women, be it their wife, mother, daughter or sister (Cunningham, 2000). For example, in the United Kingdom, there were thousands of domestic violence cases that were reported. Many women could claim that their husbands would come home drunk and start beating them up for no apparent reason. Some women are also forced to go out and work against their wishes just because the husband is too lazy to go out and earn for a living.

In the last 15 years, the situation pertaining to domestic abuse and violence against women has changed considerably with respect to its perception as well as legislation, policy and practices. The local as well as the central government of the United Kingdom as well as that of many other countries have been working day in and day out to combat this evil of the society. Many movements are working for the protection of women rights all over the country. The most significant of these organizations is called the Women's Aid. There are other campaigns running in the country that are working against gender discrimination.

However, it should be noted that there are some countries of the world where domestic abuse and violence against women has not declined despite many steps taken by the government. One of such countries is Pakistan (Report of Human Rights Watch, 1999). There are some parts of Pakistan where the literacy rate is very low and here the men of the society treat women no less than animals. There have been thousands of reported cases of honor killing in the region (Niaz, 2003). Many bills have been passed in the parliament and there are many organizations that are working for the protection of women rights but to no or negligible avail. The issue of domestic violence in South Asia and particularly in Pakistan has also been raised on international forums and there are many international non-profit organizations that are working hand in hand with the government to improve the situation for women. In this particular part of the world, it will not be wrong to say that women are treated this way because they are women; equality is not there.

Discrimination against Aboriginal women

Aboriginal women have been subjected to violence of all sorts in parts of the world where remains of colonization can still be found. One such country where Aboriginal women are having a really tough time is Canada (Statistics Canada, 2006). It should be noted here that reports have revealed that the Aboriginal women in the country are the ones that are the poorest and that possess the worst health. These women are subjected to every possible form of violence in Canada and elsewhere in the world. First of all, these women are not given employment opportunities. Even if they do end up getting a job, they will be paid way less than the other citizens and even their male counterparts. At the workplaces, these women are sexually and verbally harassed. Most of the employers are also tolerant to such kinds of acts against Aboriginal women. Many reports have also concluded that these women are the ones that are raped and sexually abused the most at public places and at shady private places.

Apart from the kind of torture that these women have to go through in the public, situation is no better for them at home. The husbands of the Aboriginal women treat them like objects and do not take care of them at all. This is one of the main reasons why most of these women are forced to live below the poverty line and therefore they have to suffer from diseases and there is no…

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