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Violence against Women

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Violence against Women
This paper discusses violence against women (VAW) in relation to social stereotypes and other social constructions, which alienate women in society. Feminist movement advocating for equality in society started in 1960s and gradually continues to free the society from patriarchal tethers. The paper will also aIDress concepts in the course of Psychology of Women as well as relevant aspects that are associated with violence against women (Matlin, 2012). Although women’s lives in the contemporary society have significantly improved, biased treatment in the workplace and at home are to blame for the violence against women. Feminist approaches showcase the biasness extent highlighting on gender differences and similarities, and why gender violence remains rampant.
According to DeKeseredy (2011), violence based on gender should not be equated with violence against women given the awful reality that girls and women face, men constituting the perpetrators. This reality exposed the structures of society, which fail in aIDressing the inequalities women experience in private and public spheres. Violence against women results from psychological, sexual, or physical harm to women as they are coerced, threatened, or deprived of their liberties in private or public life. Just like Matlin (2012) brings out the distinctions that explore on the differences on gender and sex, violence against women is perpetrated in society using the same mechanisms. Women have been exposed to sexual harassment in places of work because of the long held social construction that women should be submissive to men. Research in 1970s on women’s psychology expounds on gender as a significant factor why few women held top management jobs. Biased stereotypes and institutional policies denigrated the social status of women in society as Matlin (2012) points out in sexism and gender discrimination in workplaces.
Scholars empirically stress on violence against women as a masculinity reflection in the society. In exploring the gender differences, the violence against women highlights the inherent set of economic, social, sexual, cultural, and political factors showcasing the domination by men on women. Renzetti and Bergen (2005) argue that the masculine identity is a societal construction, which is embeIDed in the relations of violence and domination. This aspect outlines the different perspectives where scholars strengthen the violence as based on the stereotypes created by the society on gender. In this case women hold low status in the society, and thus are supposed to be submissive to men. Empowering men through masculine stereotypes is inherently exhibited where power lies, and this is to blame for violence against women in the bid to exploit domination by men.
Researchers and scholars exploring on Black and indigenous women in America suggested that the manifestation of violence should be viewed as plural given that historically indigenous people have endured violence collectively and as individuals in society. This is not to say that women are a homogenous group, but that oppression has weighed heavily on gender hierarchies. Harne and Radford (2008) argue that gender is a theoretical variable that cannot be taken away from the oppression axes. Racism, for example, is viewed as a constitutive factor of societies in Latin America and establishes the hierarchies of gender. The violence perpetrated against women is analyzed from a feminist perspective to reflect on the matrix of the patriarchal power. Rosenthal (2013) states that the inequality of gender is the lenses through which feminists should recognize and theorize the simultaneous oppression axes at the workplace, especially in the denigration of the minority races’ women. This is what Matlin in her book analyzes as the social class and the concept of white-privilege. White people, unlike the other ethnic groups’ women, have experienced special privileges even when they were not aware such privileges exist. Although VAW is known to transcend social class, ethnicity, lifestyle, culture, and age, women from minority groups experience more violence as compared to their white counterparts.
The course on women’s psychology aims at deconstructing the stereotypes, policies, and biases, which have over time contributed on internal inequalities in society brought about by patriarchal systems such as violence against women. According to Matlin (2012), understanding the women’s psychology is an important step in analyzing how gender and sexism have contributed to violence against women so that deconstructing contemporary ideologies become easy to the system that has generated stereotypes and biasness against women. Although women have also had their share in violently abusing men, WHO reports show a startling figure of 97% of the gender violence as being perpetuated by men.
Further studies and findings have shown that violence meted against women, especially sexual violence by intimate partners, amount to violation of the rights of women and a major concern as public health. According to a report by UN released in 2005, 35% of the women have been exposed to sexual violence by non-partners or intimate partners. In aIDition, 38% of the reported murders committed on women globally are perpetuated by intimate partners (Rosenthal, 2013). Although some people, especially white, may experience fewer cases of violence, intersectionality explores the issue where one advantage may be the cause of a disadvantage on other areas. The high number of women exposed to violence is as a result of poverty, which further makes the victims continue to suffer for fear of losing a home. The case of Koreans, Chinese, and Filipino women working in garment factories and exposed to stressful conditions of labor in Canada and U.S. exemplifies a case where the minority ethnic women are facing violence (Matlin, 2012).
Gender violence is accelerated by certain risk factors on top of being caused by social stereotypes and patriarchal systems in society. Recent research indicates that among the risk factors which increase the cases of violence against women in society are gender inequality, low education, violence in the family, and abuse of drugs. These risk factors applied to both the perpetrator and the victims are products of a society ailing from gender inequalities and domineering patriarchal system. Inferior status contributes to the VAW in a society dominated by men economically, educationally, socially, and politically. Loopholes in the court system (which have over time led to few prosecutions on the domestic violence), little evidence on the crimes, and other inequalities have contributed to rise in VAW (Bajaj, 2013).
Feminist scholars have strived to assert their influence in the contemporary society where VAW should be viewed as a human rights violation. The society hinges on systems and structures, which exhibit bias against women. The oppressive nature of VAW on the power of women takes toll on their very existence. Inequality systems and discrimination relate to the rate of exposure to women violence and tend to increase as the systems intersect for different women groups (DeKeseredy, 2011). In the views of Harne and Radford (2008), the four inequality systems that significantly increase the probability of VAW are: social class (poverty is a major influence), residence in rural or urban, displacement, and ethnicity. The inequality systems intersect, especially with hierarchies of gender embodied in the social constructions, thus intensifying the women’s subjugation in various ways in society. Discrimination intersects with sexual orientation and disability as the intervening factors in women rights’ violations and therefore making women vulnerable and at risk of VAW.
According to a research report by the World Health Organization, women’s subordination is a main precursor to violence and continues to raise the rates of VAW. Violence incidences cross the barriers like culture, religion, income, and social class (Renzetti & Bergen, 2005). Thus VAW is attributed to be among the greatest impediments to achieving gender equality. However, the recent research findings indicate a changing knowledge base where women have become empowered through education and are changing the societal thinking. Matlin (2012) points out that women in the United States constitute about 72% of the people with PhD degrees in psychology whereas had Canada 77% in 2008. Matlin candidly calls for researchers to deviate from the trend of generalization, which was previously done by researchers before. As women continue to challenge the social structures and systems that had denigrated them to the periphery of society, fundamental rights and liberty are of paramount importance. On the other end, research on women has on many occasions been generalized leading to the wrong conclusions on the information and thus further the stereotypes and bias.
Feminist approaches to VAW have immensely led to the changing trends in the empowerment of women in society as well as helping the victims of VAW. Shelter homes, women lawyers, and feminist activists have vehemently championed for the rights of women and are calling women to leave abusive marriages and men so that they can preserve their dignity and liberty in life. Freeing women from orchestrated violence in society is a model form of liberating women and children so that they can live without being subjected to torture (Bajaj, 2013).
In conclusion, violence against women is a stigmatized and hiIDen issue, which society creates through stereotypes and social constructions. Feminism movement of 1960s and 70s gathered the momentum advocating for the rights of women in the patriarchal society. The course of women psychology explores on the gender differences and similarities that society employs in the profiling of men and women. Biasness extent as explained by the feminist approaches show that violence against women is real and the society has contributed to its manifestation given the inequalities of gender thriving in society. Girls and women are the victims of the violence as intimidation, threats, and harm by male perpetrators violates their rights. Research findings on VAW have shown that women’s status in the society is ingrained in the social stereotyping of women as well as social construction, which should be alleviated from the contemporary society.

References
Bajaj, V. (2013). Violence against women in India. The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2013. from http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/violence-against-women-in-india/?_r=0
DeKeseredy, W. S. (2011). Violence against women: Myths, facts, controversies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Harne, L. & Radford, J. (2008) Tackling domestic violence: theories, policies and practice. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Education.
Matlin, M. W. (2012). The psychology of women. 7th Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Renzetti, C. M & Bergen, R. K. (2005). Violence against women. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Rosenthal, L. (2013). Ending violence against women. Council on Women and Girls. Retrieved October 4, 2013. from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/13/ending-violence-against-women-19-years-progress

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