Inequality in relationships is what mainly causes abuse and violence between men and women
By Jordi Cerarols
Circa 35% of women around the world have suffered physical and / or sexual abuse at some point in their lives, according to a study carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The UN defines gender violence as “an act of aggression towards any person on the basis of sex or gender” and considers its effects on a physical, sexual or psychological level.
Besides, not only aggressions are considered gender violence, but also “the simple threat of these actions, coercion or the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, either if they occur publicly or in private.”
Chauvinism, defined as the idea that the man is superior to the woman by nature, is manifested in multiple social relationships.
That is why it is common to use terms like violence against women or sexist violence to talk about gender violence, since in most cases the man is the aggressor and the woman is the victim.
Gender violence or Domestic violence?
Although many times they are used as synonyms, gender violence and domestic violence are not the same.
Most of the time, gender violence occurs against women, both inside and outside the household. Domestic violence, on the other hand, occurs in the home and can be suffered by any member of the family.
According to WHO data, 38% of murders of women are committed by the victim’s partner. However, most women have experienced some situation of discrimination and inequality both inside and outside their relationships.
La violencia feminicida debe conocerse, dimensionarse, referenciarse y atenderse sin excepciones. Exhortamos a respetar el derecho de las mujeres y las niñas de vivir una vida libre de violencia. #NiUnaMenos pic.twitter.com/1CY598gJuM
— ONU Mujeres México (@ONUMujeresMX) May 15, 2018
More than just Beating
There are different forms of gender violence, although in all cases the aggressor seeks to destroy their victim’s self-esteem to feel that they are the ones in control.
On the one hand, physical violence means any act of force against the body of the victim, with the risk of causing physical injury. On the other, there is psychological violence, which includes verbal or non-verbal behaviors that aim to underestimate, belittle or cause suffering to the victim and degrade them emotionally.
Sexual violence occurs in forced acts by the aggressor, like for example non-consensual intercourse, abuse and sexual assault.
Economic violence defines those situations in which the aggressor reduces or deprives their couple from resources, which can harm both their physical and psychological well-being and their children’s. And beyond that there is patrimonial violence: the theft or destruction of the victim’s objects, assets and property.
Social violence is when the aggressor separates the couple from their family and friends, to deprive them of any kind support and consequently isolate them.
Starting in schools
To prevent gender-based violence, it is essential to raise children in an Education that is free of gender stereotypes and one that promotes values like respect and equality.
It is necessary to encourage empathy towards others and develop a balanced self-esteem, based on an equal relationship between men and women.
Finally, it is also important to raise awareness among the population on the seriousness of this type of violence, which in most cases is silenced: the victims themselves do not report the abuse out of fear or shame of being judged by society.
So it’s up to all of us to fight against gender violence!
Information put together in collaboration with Facultat de Comunicació i Relacions Internacionals Blanquerna