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Violence and discrimination against women has been an issue in the United States from time to time. In the country, women experience violence as a result of gender inequality as well as uneven power relations between men and women as pointed out by Smith (404). It happens across all states and in all the social classes. Although different policies as well as legislations in the United States have been put in place, it has been a human rights issue for a long time and even today, women continue to face it. In a research conducted by the United Nations, racial violence against women of minority groups as well as immigrant in the United States continue to be evident as pointed out by Tilley and Sidebottom (221).
Violence against Women
Although there is not enough research present, available data suggests that all the states in the U.S. experience the challenge of women violence (Smith 404). Issues such as rape and murder continue to emerge; it is a contentious aspect that has seen many women go out to the streets to demonstrate their concerns. In 2011, the National Crime Victimization Survey indicated that more than 500 women across the United States are raped every day (Tilley and Sidebottom 223). It also declared that violence against women is one of the most underreported crimes in the country with the perpetrators being men. When these cases are reported, they are rarely prosecuted and in case of investigation, there is always a low rate of conviction. The challenge with violence against women is that it does not have boundaries in terms of social-economics, religion or even ethnicity.
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In 2015, more than 60 percent of female homicides were perpetrated by family members or intimate partners and in most cases, it is because women are undermined and discriminated upon as asserted by Tilley and Sidebottom (225). One in five women also fall victim to rape or attempted rate in the U.S. and though some human rights are put in place, some of them make women more vulnerable. A significant portion of female citizens continue to face the challenge of violence due to lack of human rights to protect them.
Causes of Violence against Women
The major cause of violence against women in the United States is lack of a set of standards or human rights that protect certain groups of individual females. Insufficient human rights protection as well as destructive norms of gender makes it difficult for women to protect themselves against violence which makes them very vulnerable as pointed out by Tilley and Sidebottom (229). In a U.S. government survey in 2016, approximately 45 percent of the women experience sexual victimization and most of the perpetrators are American citizens as pointed out by Shams and Shams (2017). This is as a result of racist ‘orientalism’ which makes some people to discriminate against others. For instance, African-American women in the United States experience violence from their intimate partners at rates which are 35 percent compared to the white counterparts (Smith 404). African-American women account for less than 10 percent of the U.S. population and yet in 2014, they accounted for more than 25 percent of violence cases.
Immigrants as well as undocumented women in the U.S. are yet other groups in which violence is prominent as pointed out by Shams and Shams (2017). In most cases, they face a very high rate of sexual harassment in their workplaces and other environments. Due to their legal status, it is difficult for them to report these cases, making them even more vulnerable. Since many people realize that they cannot report these cases, the perpetrators take that advantage. Most of the female homicides in different cities involve immigrants as pointed out by Shams and Shams (2017). In addition, the rate of violence victimization among Native American Women is also higher. A congressional source found that more than 30 percent of Indian as well as Alaska Native women are more likely to be raped in their lifetime as pointed out by Smith (404).
Another group that is prone to violence is women in the military due to hierarchical as well as masculine conditions which make it difficult to report gender based violations. In a report conducted in 2016, less that 30 percent of military women who experienced sexual harassments got to report it and most of the cases remain uncovered as pointed out by Tilley and Sidebottom (231). Moreover, women in detention face the same problem, despite the fact that they are in the custody of the government. Sexual assaults by the inmates and staff members are evident in detention as pointed out by Smith (404). This is mostly due to lack of human rights and legislations that are active enough to prevent such felonie. Most human rights violations target cases such as lack of healthcare access, poverty and incarceration but there has not been emphasis of certain groups of women who face violence in their families.
In order to bring down the rates of violence against women in the United States, careful consideration of the most affected victims should take place. When the victims are identified, the government must have a clear picture of what should be done to adequately minimize the violence. As pointed out by Tilley and Sidebottom (239), the government is focusing on eliminating the immigrants who are perpetrators but surveys indicate that most of the victims are undocumented individuals. Therefore eliminating such people will not solve the problem of violence since most of the perpetrators are Americans who commit vast majority of rapes more broadly. The main focus in violence against women should be to solve the problem of illegal immigration in the country.
The conditions of women in homes and different places should also be improved to make sure that violence does not occur. For instance, women in detention are facing challenges. An act that eliminates rape of women in detention should be put in place to control the issue. Policies and legislations that govern women rights, including the minority groups such as African-Americans, should be improved. Human rights should also enforce the improvement of response of reported cases making sure that those guilty are convicted since Shams and Shams (2017) assert that just a few investigated.
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Violence against women as well as discrimination is a contentious issue that has been debated for a long time. Evidence outlaid by reports from the government and independent bodies makes it clear that it is a menace which needs reforms so as to safeguard the rights of women. To escape violence cases such as rape and murder, the government should focus on identifying all the affected groups of women in order to come up with a strategy. To make the situation better, major reforms, with regards to human rights protection on women, should be achieved. This move will make sure that women in families and in detention, whether from a minority group or not, are equally fully protected. As Tilley and Sidebottom (245) point out, response to any case related with violence against women should be made a top priority concern.
- Shams, A. and Shams, A. (2017). Trump’s ‘honour crimes’ order is a racist distraction. [Online] Aljazeera.com. Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/03/trump-honour-crimes-order-racist-distraction-170309080923757.html [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
- Smith, Andrea. “Heteropatriarchy and the three pillars of white supremacy: Rethinking women of color organizing.” Women in Culture: An Intersectional Anthology for Gender and Women’s Studies (2016): 404.
- Tilley, Nick, and Aiden Sidebottom, eds. Handbook of crime prevention and community safety. Taylor & Francis, 2017.