End Violence Against Women

by | March 11, 2015

Over the centuries, women have endured and sometimes survived brutal and cruel attacks, ranging from systemic assaults on the emotional, physical and psychological person through to acts of such horror that they should be unspeakable.  But they must be spoken.

Some anti-feminist critics will be screwing up their tiny and indignant courage just about now in anticipation of hopping on a favorite hobby-horse.  I do not understand or respect people who insist on minimizing or deflecting attention from real and significant problems, travesties and outrages by drawing attention to themselves or lesser problems. They’re like that person with a broken finger who wants priority attention in the emergency room while fifty more serious patients are hanging by a thread.

All violence should be condemned whether the victims are men or women; whether the perpetrators are men or women. Let’s start where matters are the most serious and where the most good may be done.

For example, the Chhanv Foundation, an NGO in India works to oppose acid attacks.  If you choose to visit their website, the brutality of the attackers and the suffering of the victims are frightful and wrenching.  There is also a fundraising calendar produced to celebrate International Women’s Day.  It is crushing to use the term celebrate in relation to acid attacks.  But the celebration is for the endurance and strength which these women carry despite all attempts to literally and metaphorically dissolve them.

In this Quartz India story,  there is a picture of a woman holding a sign which says “I wanted to be a Doctor”.  There is also this story:

Dolly was 12 when she was attacked by a 25-year-old man. He wanted to have sex with Dolly even though she was a minor. The acid ruined her nostrils, causing a permanent breathing problem. For more than a year after the attack, she refused to step out of her house.

Those four sentences, or that picture, tell a story which should fill a library.  Please follow the link to read this child’s letter to her attacker and his family which includes this small passage “You burnt my face, but not my will to live. You can’t throw acid on that. I will fight this case in court, not only for myself but for other girls, so they do not lose their courage before people like you.”

Violence Against Women is a real and significant problem.  It needs to stop.

Violence is real.  We need to make it stop.

10 thoughts on “End Violence Against Women

  1. Randy

    Shame on you, for hiding behind a real issue, to take swipes at people with whom you disagree, but who obviously as humans share your horror at acid attacks. Among anti-feminists, I’ve never heard anyone praise acid attack or any sort of violence. Anti-feminists are neither anti-woman, nor pro-violence. Your weaseling is defamatory and cheap.

    To be clear, the solution to gender-based violence cannot come out of a sexist ideology like feminism. It must be gender egalitarianism, and as a result is necessarily anti-feminist. When Canada comes calling to India’s men, they’re going to see the hypocrisy and ignore your message. Most men, yes even in India, are good people, and you want them on your side to pressure their government. It’s not going to happen if you come to them with sexism.

    By the way, as we live and vote in Canada, a place where we can actually have some influence on what happens, unlike a foreign country, some facts about our own country might be instructive. StatsCan shows that men are equally likely to be domestic violence victims in Canada, but have no domestic violence shelters designed for them. And when it comes to aboriginal people, as Andrew Coyne noted, men are being murdered at over twice the rate of women, but rather than trying to reduce the number of men dying, it’s all about the women. “Let’s start where matters are the most serious and where the most good may be done”, indeed.

    1. Neil Ives

      Your statement ” StatsCan shows that men are equally likely to be domestic violence victims in Canada” is patently false. Kindly provide a reference for your claim. Thanks.

  2. Corwin

    I’m kind of with Randy and Ultra. The Quartz India story links to a BBC story that suggests 75-80% of acid attacks are perpetrated against women and girls. If that’s true, 20-25% are perpetrated against men, and I simply don’t see what you gain by implicitly writing off 20-25% of the problem as irrelevant.

    Of course, that same BBC story notes that acid attacks “appear to be disproportionately common in South Asia”, where acid is widely available. Is it really the job of Canadian atheists to solve a problem whose epicentre is more or less on the far side of the world?

  3. Heather Hastie

    Great post.

    As I’ve already said on another website today, I have no time for this idea that feminism is anti-male. The definition of feminism from Google is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. synonyms: the women’s movement, the feminist movement, women’s liberation, female emancipation”. It is not what some of those above seem to imagine. What I want to know is: what problem do anti-feminist men have with the women in your life having the same rights and opportunities as you do?
    The World Economic Forum produces an annual report about the gender gap. You can find a link to it in my piece about International Women’s Day: http://www.heatherhastie.com/international-womens-day-8-march-2015/

  4. Diane Bruce

    Good balanced post. The anti-feminists have assumed that all feminists are alike and, that we all agree with every other feminist. As I have written in my own blog, there is only a small set of concepts all feminists agree with, everything else is “We are feminists plus something else.”. Without qualifying which branch of feminism one is against, ons is attacking a strawman.

    1. Indi

      May I have a link to what you wrote? Feminism has actually been on my mind recently.

  5. Eric Adriaans

    I appreciate all the comments. Whether you agree with me or not about an example of where the most good may be done is a matter of opinion; whether you actually do something will be a matter of fact. If it matters and you’re not merely an idler, then please do get out there and do something with an organization to put an end to violence. Volunteer some time. Donate some money.

  6. Joe

    “All violence should be condemned whether the victims are men or women; whether the perpetrators are men or women. ”

    It amused me that this is probably the part where feminists and the antis will probably agree, but where I don’t.

    Specific types and acts of violence might be learned behaviour, but I don’t think humans can ever divorce themselves from our violent evolutionary past. We are a cunning and violent species. And in part that is what drives us. Violence is one of those cross cultural things that we crave on a basic level. Internet flamewars are just one manifestation of channeled aggression. I love a good scrap, have faced formidable female opponents in the ring, and been punched unconscious by one or two men.

    I’m not advocating a psychopathic killing spree… But those who posture about violence are often blind to their own manifested passive aggression.

    If ‘stop violence against women’ is your thing, have at it, but male on male violence is more common, more valourized, and much ignored by a lot of feminists. When I took psych/sociology in school we learned about the cycle of violence, how violence as a solution to problems is reinforced by society. Women may face unique hurdles, but they are only part of the bigger picture.

    Human societies are not linear, they involve a web of dependencies and no easy solutions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.