(Authors Note: *EQUALITY=Raising All without Holding Down or Punishing for Past Transgressions)
The debate is ongoing on issues of Women’s Rights. One only needs to pick up the daily paper or watch the news to see that whether the issue is equal pay or violence against women there are incidences and occurrences which point to the fact that these issues are a persistent social problem that need constant monitoring, attention and focus.
It does seem a bit preposterous that protecting women (or any human being for that matter) should be a debate, but as is the case with the “Father’s Rights Groups” there are some subtle points made that not only slow progress for all involved, but impede on the rights of some of those accused. Jocelyn Elise Crowley from Rutgers University describes this as a “boundary-push back response…how an unlikely countermovement can use the accusation of enemy boundary creep by its social movement opponents in an effort to shift the political discourse on a significant public problem.” Crowley explains that some of the efforts used by the BWM (Battered Women’s Movement) have turned an issue that was once private into a legislative issue. While explaining her points thoroughly and citing all statistics; one can’t help but wonder if the tone of the paper is anti-BWM. Concluding this thought would mean that Crowley did her job investigating the facts and making sure both voices are heard. Making the point that the public is often more apt to accept the voice of the BWM, this fact alone can influence the State’s decision in legislative concerns. It also proves that there is a deep social problem with violence against women, and the answers to those problems will be difficult to solve, and men or women accused will sometimes face unfavorable opposition. Would it have been better to keep this issue as a private issue? The answer is surely no, due to the fact that whether you violate a human inside your home or violate a stranger doesn’t make the action OK. Violence is violence and should be addressed as such.
Another hotly debated issue concerning violence against women and children is the use of firearms involved in such acts. Legislation is being pushed in a few states that address the firearms used in the deaths resulting from intimate violence situations. This could be seen from the “Father’s Rights Side” as an unnecessary policy that takes away their right to bear arms. In concordance with the statistics mentioned in the article relating to gun violence in “Women with Protective Orders Report Failure to Remove Firearms from Their Abusive Partners: Results from an Exploratory Study” the author’s of the article state “shootings are the most common method by which women are killed by an intimate partner in the United States”. The report emphasizes that more laws are needed to protect victims. This issue could also be hotly debated; if a criminal wants somebody dead they will find the tool needed for the job. The opposite argument could be made that often times a person commits a crime due to its convenience; in this case, already owning a gun. But the point made in this article is if the perpetrator is a known gun owner than any and all actions should be taken by the courts to disarm a violent person. Even when States have current laws disarming the accused in domestic violence cases, a good point was made by the Maryland police officers. The article mentions that in Maryland the officers had no other course of action they could take if the offenders denied having firearms (meaning they weren’t able to force entry and search premises). Bearing arms is a very big deal for many Americans as it was for the for-fathers of our country as stated in the Constitution so it’s not surprising that a group like the “Father’s Rights” would have a problem with such a law. The argument would follow something as such “Just because my wife and I disagreed on a few things that made me very angry shouldn’t take away my right to hunt or protect myself”. The focus should be on the rights that were taken away from the victim; these counter punches seem to just build a smoke screen over the real issue. Many would also argue that the person who forced another to lose their rights should be punished by losing rights of their own.
In order to battle issues on gender in-equality; the battle must also be fought against stereotyping. A report published by the United Nations states that “mass media could do more to promote more diverse portrayals of women’s roles, such as women as breadwinners and not just mothers, caregivers…sexual objects”. A year’s worth of progress on the legislative front can be hindered by the mass appeal of violence and abuse that is glorified through TV and videos aimed at the younger generations. In order to change the attitude of abusers, the world in which they live in must also be changed.
A few things that would help:
1. Education to break the cycles of abuse found within families.
2. Education and counseling for all families involved in domestic/violence.
3. Change in attitude of the audiences that watch or promote the violence on video/TV.
4. Help cultures that have long held women and their roles negatively to adjust the culture to view women as equals.
There are no clear answers, but there are adjustments that could be made on all levels including the way the victims perceive their abuse and the perceptions of the perpetrators, with education being a key in all roles. While even one woman believes or thinks she deserves her abuse or that she is not worthy; the chance is there for the cycle to continue. While even one man or woman thinks it’s ok to belittle or abuse their partner; the chance is there for the cycle to continue. From an educated point of view; the current progress made by all groups is imperative and the hopes for family/women violence to some day cease to exist as a social problem is very unlikely, but a positive outlook none the less.
Crowley, J. (2009). Fathers' Rights Groups, Domestic Violence and Political Countermobilization. Social Forces, 88(2), 723-755. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite database.
Wagner, C. (2008). Progress Report on Discrimination against Women. Futurist, 42(3), 9. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite database.
Webster, D., Frattaroli, S., Vernick, J., O'Sullivan, C., Roehl, J., & Campbell, J. (2010). Women with Protective Orders Report Failure to Remove Firearms from Their Abusive Partners: Results from an Exploratory Study. Journal of Women's Health (15409996), 19(1), 93-98. doi:10.1089/jwh.2007.0530.