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  • Writer's pictureBurak Yetistiren

The Scope, Seriousness, and Solutions: Violence Against Women

Violence is one of the many acts that an individual conducts. The act of violence is one of the most important subjects that the science of human psychology is concerned about, especially the branch of social psychology. Among all of the behavior of humans, the act of violence needs careful consideration and evaluation, because the consequences of the act cause physical or psychological harm to other individuals or the originator of the violence. For instance, the statistics show that violence causes over 1.6 million cases of death each year, around the globe (The Peace Alliance, 2018).


According to the World Health Organization, the definition of violence is as follows:


the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation (World Health Organization, 2020).

As it can be drawn from the definition that the World Health Organization makes too, it should be emphasized more and more, that the act of violence is extremely important in the regard, that it must be evaluated carefully to reduce it, as it the physical and psychological wellbeing of humans are in question. “Aggression is a behavior that is intended to harm another person who is motivated to avoid that harm” (Allen & Anderson, 2017). From this definition, it can be seen that violence takes its roots from aggression. Additionally, if the ways of reducing violence in a certain context are being evaluated, aggression is one of the main aspects, which should be carefully considered. There are two main types of aggression: Hostile aggression and instrumental aggression (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, 2019). Hostile aggression can be defined as an act of violence stemming from feelings of frustration and is targeted to inflict pain or injury, whereas instrumental aggression can be defined as, an act of aggression which is an intermediate step towards a goal that is not aggressive (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, 2019).


 

In this paper, one of the many kinds of violence will be evaluated, and that is violence against women. Violence against women is one of the most important problems that the world has been facing, as this problem has been always present, and it seems that the problem is yet to come, as the instances of violence against women are present in many societies around the world. Yet the instances of violence against woman is present in most of the societies around the world, the types of violence differ from one society to another, meaning that one special kind of violence against woman finds a place more than the other types differing in different societies. The types of violence against women include domestic violence, femicide, sexual violence, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and online or digital violence (UN Women, n.d.).


As stated above, in some countries some types of violence against women take place more than the others, for example in Turkey there are many instances of honor killings, which is a subtype of femicide. According to a study, there have been 474 women murdered in Turkey in 2019 (McKernan, 2020). Whereas rape is common in countries like South Africa with 132.4 cases per 100,000 citizens, Botswana with 92.9 cases per 100,000 citizens, and so on in 2020 (Shah, 2020). On the other hand, female genital mutilation is a common practice in some countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. According to the statistics, more than 200 million women alive has been affected by this practice (World Health Organization, 2020). The list continues to grow with different types of violence in different countries, and appallingly there appears no country where there are no or few cases of violence against women. Which makes the problem, as stated before, a global problem, and as the problem threatens the wellbeing of humans; it bears high importance, and high urgency in the regard that the actions that are to be taken, those will contribute to the solution of the problem of violence against women, should not be postponed.



There are many stories reflected in the media, to unveil them and maybe draw attention to the importance, and the severity of the situation, which are to remain hidden otherwise. There are some stories told by women reflected in the media, in which the women who are on the receiving end of the violence. For example, we have the story of Cali, who was trafficked by her adoptive family, and forced to appear in adult videos, even when she was a child; now she is 23, studying law to become a lawyer, but she says that the videos are being reuploaded again and again, that she is still getting sold, in her own words (Kristof, 2020). She feels nervous, that she will not be able to get out of this situation in the future too (Kristof, 2020). We have the story of Sarah, whose name was changed to protect identity, explains that her husband has been beating her over the past months, he has been threatening her that he would hit her children, that she should endure his behavior (Zhimo, 2020). There is the story of Juli, whose name is again changed to protect identity; she is a working woman, she has a two-year-long marriage (Zhimo, 2020). Juli had been verbally abused by her husband because she worked late and did not cook, and when she suggested getting a helper, she had been verbally abused again and slapped several times (Zhimo, 2020). Sorrowfully, the list continues to grow with different stories coming told by different individuals, yet the common ground of all the stories is violence against women.


Having been found out about the extent, significance, and impact of the problem of violence against women, now the methods for reducing it should be discussed. The definitions of aggression and violence were given at the beginning of the paper. From those definitions, it can be interpreted that these two phenomena are closely related to each other. It can be further stated that violence is a subset of aggression (Allen & Anderson, 2017). Thus, if we want to assess the ways of reducing violence, we must be considering aggression too. There are several methods to reduce aggression, and when thought about it punishment is one of them, which may usually come to one’s mind first. However, the method of punishment is not easy to conduct, as the method itself has some downsides, in the regard that the persuasiveness of the punishment is weak unless certain conditions are satisfied. A psychological experiment has shown that using punishment on adults is not useful, that it does not reduce the violent behavior of an individual unless the following two conditions are satisfied: Firstly, the punishment should occur right after the violent act has been conducted, and secondly, the punishment should be inevitable (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). This situation has a prerequisite of a fast-functioning law system, and a sophisticated citizen monitoring system, that every act of violence against women could be caught. This is not likely with the current regulations of countries, that many acts of violence towards women are easily being unnoticed. Additionally, the punishment should not be severe, that it should not offer harsh practices. For example, it is seen, that in countries, where the practice of death penalty is used as a method of punishment, it is seen that, in these countries, there are no fewer cases of crime in contrast to other countries, where there is no death penalty for crimes (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). In spite of the using method of punishment, there are different methods, which are more likely to be beneficial, in the service of reducing violent behavior. These methods take their roots from reducing the anger that people build up in their minds. There are different methods to accomplish this ambition. These include venting versus self-awareness, defusing anger through apology, modeling nonaggressive behavior, training in communication and problem-solving skills, and countering dehumanization by building empathy (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). For our case of the reduction of violence towards women, we can emphasize the methods of venting versus self-awareness, modeling nonaggressive behavior, and training in communication and problem-solving skills, as they are more suitable as a solution for reducing the violence towards women more than the others. In the venting versus self-awareness method, an individual expresses his/her anger towards the target person in neither a hostile, nor a demanding way (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). In this method, the anger is not dissipated, the intention is to make the partner aware of the anger, such that this is a discomfort of the behavior of the partner, in a nonaggressive and a nonviolent way. This is much more favorable in our case of violence towards women, as this method offers a healthy communication between partners, and both sides are aware of the discomfort of their partners. On the other hand, there is a method of training in communication and problem-solving skills, which is somewhat similar to the method, which is just discussed. In this method, it is believed that humans are not born knowing how to reflect anger or frustration, constructively and nonviolently, that they should be educated for the right set of skills (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). To reduce violence towards women, people should be taught about the methods of expressing their anger in a communicative, and constructive way. Following this idea, the governments, or the ministry of education of the countries may take action to educate their citizens on these skills. In this way, people may start to use these skills, instead of violent behavior, and the violence towards women, and indeed towards anyone could be reduced. Lastly, the method of modeling nonaggressive, which is again similar to the methods that have been discussed can be used, again to reduce aggression, which leads up to violence, and especially in our case violence towards women. This method is fairly more difficult to conduct in comparison to the other methods, as the impacts are the best when the receiving end of this method is a child. What the method suggests is that when a child tends to carry out the behavior of the people that s/he sees when s/he grows up (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). Furthermore, if a child sees violent acts of his/her models, which can be his/her father or mother, or a different person, it is more likely to expect violent behavior from this child in the future (Aronson, Wilson, & Sommers, How to Decrease Aggression, 2019). Therefore, it carries high importance, that an individual is grown up in an environment, where s/he sees no violence. Therefore, if the ambition of a society or an individual is to reduce violence against women, which it should be, it bears high importance that this method is implemented properly.


To conclude, violence against women is a serious problem, which must be considered. The effects of the problem are widespread, affecting women globally, as explained previously. Additionally, the number of victims of violence against women is seriously high, that there are many women affected by this problem. Nevertheless, the solutions to reduce this problem is not as difficult as it sounds. There are some basic methods, that can be applied to reduce violence towards women, which are easy to implement, but the results are impactful. But to be able to implement the methods, first, the individuals of the societies should be aware of the seriousness of the problem and act upon to service for the problem to be solved. In my opinion, one of the main causes of the ongoing problem of violence against women is the silence of many individuals, those think that they are outside of the scope of the problem, but one day their loved ones or even themselves can be in the receiving end of this type of violence.


 

Allen, J. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2017). Aggression and Violence: Definitions and Distinctions.


Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. R. (2019). How to Decrease Aggression. In E.


Aronson, T. D. Wilson, & S. R. Sommers, Social Psychology (pp. 389-398). New York, NY: Pearson.


Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. R. (2019). Is Aggression Innate, Learned, or Optional? In E. Aronson, T. D. Wilson, & S. R. Sommers, Social Psychology (p. 367). New York, NY: Pearson.


Kristof, N. (2020, December 6). The New York Times. Retrieved from Nicholas Kristof: Pornhub makes money from the abuse of children: https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/12/06/nicholas-kristof-pornhub/


McKernan, B. (2020, July 23). Murder in Turkey sparks outrage over rising violence against women. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/23/turkey-outrage-rising-violence-against-women


Shah, S. (2020, September 13). Startling rape statistics in India and worldwide . Retrieved from The News International: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/714186-startling-rape-statistics-in-india-and-worldwide


The Peace Alliance. (2018, 03 29). Statistics on Violence & Peace.


UN Women. (n.d.). Frequently asked questions: Types of violence against women and girls . Retrieved from https://www.unwomen.org: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/faqs/types-of-violence


World Health Organization. (2020). Definition and typology of violence.


World Health Organization. (2020, February 3). Female genital mutilation. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genital-mutilation


Zhimo, V. (2020, November 28). Domestic violence victims tell their stories . Retrieved from The Morung Express: https://morungexpress.com/domestic-violence-victims-tell-their-stories


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