This afternoon in a seminar for my Gender and Politics course, we discussed the occurrence of violence against women. Specifically, we focused on a text written by Simone de Beauvoir titled “The Second Sex” in which de Beauvoir writes of women as being deemed ‘the other’ because of a societal view that perceives women to be less significant than men. We discussed how perhaps women tend to be more vulnerable to sexual violence than men because there seems to be a sort of intrinsic characteristic imbedded in males that allows them to be more likely to make use of violence or aggression than women. Furthermore, it seems that such aggression imbedded in men tends to be exuded in a display of sexual power and authority over women.
We conversed of how sexual violence is often used as a weapon in war. Sexual violence impacts female soldiers as well as the women who inhabit war-stricken regions (female civilians are often raped by invading soldiers), and we examined how when women are sexually violated as a result of war the act itself can be interpreted as a political weapon to benefit the soldiers of a country perpetuating these crimes.
According to an article posted on UN.org, women between the ages of fifteen to forty-four are more likely to experience sexual violence and rape than they are likely to develop cancer, being involved in a car accident, being impacted by war, or being impacted by malaria. The website also states that up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime.
I find these statistics to be immensely alarming, and it is these very statistics that prompt me to question why there is not more effort being made to end sexual violence against women. There are more resources being established to aid women who are victims of sexual violence and harassment, however there are not nearly enough in a global spectrum. No means no, and it is disturbing that individuals are not able to comprehend this concept in the case of sexual violence.