Thereare different kinds of abuse among women.
Most common is intimatepartner violence also known as domestic violence. This kind of abuse is physical, sexual, emotional abuse, byan intimate partner. Women of domestic abuse often go back to their abuserbecause of fear of their safety and the safety of their children orfamily. Some women are financially dependent on their abuser to support them,while others return to their abuser because it is a cycle.
Emotional abuse cango on without the victim even knowing they are being manipulated and controlled.Women who are sexually abused or harassed live in fear and most times remainquiet. Human trafficking is a form of abuse that women are sold into withouttheir consent. These women are forced into a cycle of intimidation, humiliationor feel powerless. They are afraid and have no hope of breaking the cycle. Theyneed safety outlets to go to, support groups or organizations to teach them howto make it on their own and that abusive behavior is not acceptable for anyone.
Anykind of abuse is traumatic, and it affects people in many ways. However, formsof abuse are traumatizing because the victim is left with bruises on the insideand the outside. Victims form a bond with their abuser physically, emotionally,sexually, and economically.
The consequences of having this bond broken byabuse are deep and extensive physically and emotionally. Some women’s trauma canresult in physical and psychological disorders that can have long-term effects.Aldridge states, “Twenty-three out of the 35 mothers interviewed for thestudy disclosed abuse and talked, without being asked, about their experiencesof domestic violence. These women also said that they believed their mentalhealth problems had been triggered by past sexual, physical and/or emotionalabuse from their former partners” (3). The more abuse women encounter thegreater the psychological disorders are formed. Their mental status andself-esteem are affected by the degree of abuse they have experienced.
A womanwho stays in an abusive relationship is more likely to endure mental abuse thatcan lead to depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stressdisorder, and common mental health problems. Women who already have mentalhealth problems are more likely to be in the abusive relationship than womenwithout these issues. Females who are abused as children tend to grow up anddate or marry men who are abusive. The effects of the abuse that happens duringand after the relationship have wellended. Victims may never be able to get over the effects of abuse and they cancarry it on to other relationships that will be dysfunctional. According to theMental Health Weekly Digest,”The influence of abuse can persist long after the violence has stopped,and women of color are disproportionately impacted” (Violence AgainstWomen 40). This research shows that after the violence there is still long-termeffects from it.
Emotionally abused women are intimidated, controlled, andfeared by their abuser. Most women are not even aware that the abuse is takingplace. Women are isolated in their own homes and their abusers are “gaslighting” them, to maintain power andcontrol over them. Abuser likes to “gaslight”because it makes the victim feel like they are losing their minds and can’tremember anything. This kind of abuse has a long-lasting effect on the victim’slife physically and mentally. Male abusers like to criticize the victim andmake her feel unworthy.
They are also jealous and possessive of the victim, constantly accusing her of infidelity. Ifthey have children together, the male would use the children as pawns to getwhat he wants from the victim. He can control her with money, by telling herhow much she is allowed and what it can be spent on.
It is manipulating thevictim’s emotions, so the abuser can stay in control over them. According to Mental Health Weekly Digest, “Datawere collected from a community-based IPV intervention program. Logisticregression found an increased likelihood of depression for respondents whoexperienced emotional abuse more than once per week and were worried aboutcontact by the abuser” (Depression in Women 115). Emotional abuse is not easilyreported and hard to prove, that many women will wrongly endure it. It is hardto prove because the bruises are not visible marks on the outside of the body.The bruises are psychological. This typeof abuse can start as emotional and then continue into physical and sexualabuse. Emotional abuse is where the abuser likes to start to see how far theycan go and how much the victim is willing to accept.
If an abuser knows that hecan control his victim emotionally then there is not a reason to stop there. Accordingto Wood, “The American Bar Association reports that approximately 1.3million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partnerevery year in the United States. Survivors of domestic violence often do notleave their abusers initially, and the reasons they stay in the relationshipvary drastically” (263).
It is very hard for women to leave the life they haveknown. They do not know if they can survive. Woods continues to explain, “Someof the most common reasons that survivors remain are lack of resources andinformation about escape, continuing love and hope that their abusers willchange, community pressure, mental health problems, fear of both non-violentand violent retribution, and lackfinancial resources resulting in dependence on the abuser” (263). Domesticand intimate partner violence does not discriminate against anyone.
The abusehappens in all class, nationality, age, sex, or religion. Women who are avictim of this kind of violence suffer in silence and in secret of their ownhomes. A home is a place where women and children should feel safe and securebut for the victim and her children, it is more like a nightmare. The abuse hasa pattern of assaulting and controlling behavior. It may seem minor at firstbut as time goes on it becomes more frequent and severity of the abuse becomeintense, that the women are in fear for her life. The emotional andpsychological abuse become more damaging than the physical assaults. Rosenbergstated, “In total, 1,007 males aged 15-19 living in disadvantaged neighborhoodsin the four study cities were asked about their past-year perpetration ofphysical IPV (defined as having pushed, slapped or thrown something at apartner; dragged or beaten a partner; choked, kicked, shoved or burned apartner on purpose; or used or threatened to use a weapon on a partner) orsexual IPV (defined as physically forcing a partner to have intercourse, orpressuring a partner to have unwanted intercourse or insisting that a partnerdo so)” (228). Young girls and women are likely to use drugs or alcohol to copewith the abuse.
It can cause women to have severe depression or worse they willcommit suicide. Abuser that have guns in the house are more like to murdertheir victims than homes without weapons. Accordingto The New York Times, “Nearlyone in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced anattempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by anintimate partner. One in six women has been stalked, according to the report avast majority of women who said they had been victims of sexual violence, rapeor stalking reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as did aboutone-third of the men” (Rabin A32). These types of an assault are more likely tobe from someone the victim has a rapport with and feel like they can trust. Afterthe assault, the victim’s body goes through traumatic shock. Rabinalso stated, “Women who had experienced such violence were also more likely toreport having asthma, diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome than women who hadnot. Both men and women who had been assaulted were more likely to reportfrequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, limitations on activity,and poor physical and mental health” (A32).
Female college students aremore likely to experience some sort of sexual abuse while incapacitated fromalcohol or drugs. A victim of incapacitated rape is too intoxicated to giveconsent to sex and no force is used because the victim is unable to resist.Most rape occurs between friends much more often than it does between strangers.
While some men do not see women as equals, they see women’s sexuality as their worth and are more likely violate a womansexually. CNN wire explains,”Society needs to establish a zero tolerance for sexual violence. Insteadof saying, ‘don’t get raped,’ which shifts the responsibility onto a potentialvictim, the message should be ‘don’t rape’ and focus on holding perpetratorsaccountable” (How to prevent rape). Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largestcriminal activity in the world. It is a violation of women’s civil rights,self-integrity, and a form of prostitution and slavery. Men are using women’sbodies as a disposable commodity. They are brought for their organs, forcedinto marriages, sexual exploitation, labor, and sex.
Withlittle to no money, beaten, and starved they are forced to perform any labor orservice in inhumane environments. Zaharia stated, “Measures should beadopted to afford victims of trafficking the opportunity to cooperateeffectively and safely with law enforcement officials. They should includestays of deportation; exempting trafficked persons from detention andprosecution for offences directly relating to their trafficking; giving themthe opportunity to seek justice and compensation for abuses they have suffered;guaranteeing their personal safety and the safety of their family members;facilitating their safe and humane repatriation; and offering alternatives ifsuch repatriation is not possible, including third country resettlement” (171).Women should have the right to fight back and seek justice and compensation.
Somany women are afraid for their lives or just want to escape the abuse, theywill not prosecute their attackers. Zaharia also stated, “Unless governmentsand law enforcement agencies are prepared to combat trafficking with increasedvigor and, at the same time, prepared to provide adequate protection to thevictims of trafficking, the majority of trafficking cases will continue to goundiscovered” (171). Not only are women being abused in their own homes but attheir school or workplace too. Sexual harassment affects your job or educationby interfering with your work or schoolperformance.
Sexual harassment can be verbal, physical, and visual. TheWashington Post states, “One-third of women say that they had experiencedsexual advances from a male coworker or a man who had influence over their job,and one-third of this group of women say their male coworker’s behaviorconstituted sexual abuse. About 8 in 10 women who experienced unwanted advancesinvolving work considered it sexual harassment, while over 3 in 10 consideredit sexual abuse” (Gibson and Guskin). While many women are in fear of losingtheir jobs, retaliation, or no one will believe them, many cases go unreported.
Keller states, “Sexual harassment inAmerican work life is affecting as many as 80 percentsof women in certain sectors, according to one study. But most women don’t standa chance of winning a lawsuit. There seems little doubt that sexual harassmentin the workplace persists and has measurable and immeasurable impacts on thosewho are victimized by this form of discrimination and on their employers” (247).Women that do have the courage to report it, not always win their case. Thereare forced to go back to face their abuser and are subject to more attacks in ahostile environment.
Victims feel isolated, ashamed, and must quit school orresign from their job. Their trust in the justice system is broken and is neverrepaired. They are left feeling weak and defeated for something they had nocontrol over. Every woman has the right to live a safe and free ofviolence life. No woman should have her human rights taken away from her orviolated by any form of abuse.
To end violence against women it starts by moregender equal opportunities in all parts of society. The government shouldstrengthen laws, give longer sentences, and give communities grants for women ofabuse to have access to a better education, help them to find jobs, affordablehousing, healthcare, and childcare. No women deserve to be abused, by educatingyoung women on what healthy relationships are and building up their confidenceand self-esteem, stops the cycle. Women need outlets to go to like shelters,women organizations, victim counseling, and trained professional advocates atno cost or obligations. Victims need to feel that the authorities believe them,sympathize, and will ask the appropriate questions to make an arrest.
Whenasked “What were you wearing” or “How much did you have to drink”, is puttingthe blame on the victim and making them feel as if they did something wrong. Asa community, everyone needs to educateand learn what the signs and symptoms are of someone being abused and what todo to help. We need to learn tactics and strategies on how to safely interveneor make a distraction to give the person endanger time to get away.
If the victim is afraid to talk, earntheir trust by being consistent, understanding and supporting them. By steppingup to the plate and acknowledging someone is in a crisis can make a differencein someone else’s life. By teaching children at an early age of whatappropriate and inappropriate behaviors are, they can understand the need tospeak up when they see something wrong. Children need to be taught to tell anadult they trust if someone acts inappropriately to them. Young childrenknowing the “golden rule” and how to respect authority and adults is wheresociety will break the cycle of abuse. The cycle of abuse stops now by being anexample for others, speaking out against violence, not looking away but byasking questions. Abuse against women can stop if we change the mindset of themen that find no value in women.