Today is the 61st day of my 90-days writing challenge and I'm super excited. Yeah, I really didn't know I could do it. I mean thinking of what to write and writing everyday has not been easy but it's been a test of discipline, consistency and commitment. Also, I want to appreciate everyone who likes, comments, encourages and criticises a post or the other, you all are amazing. Today, I'd like to do a summary of all I've written after the first 30 days.
The effects of emotional abuse look quite subtle but they hurt deeper than pains and injuries sustained by domestic violence. It causes confusion while it plants fear, hopelessness or shame within the victim. Here, they start to doubt the relationship while they feed on fear. They are always frightened and can’t even express themselves well to their partners.
Emotional abuse is not just common in relationships but with children. Child abuse is when a caregiver deliberately denies a child appropriate care or intentionally inflicts harm or harms on a child while disciplining them. It involves corporal punishment that results in physical injuries like bruises, scratches, welts or broken bones. Physical child abuse is the injury inflicted on a child through bodily contact with a wicked or malicious aim. It can be as a result of beating, kicking, punching, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child physically. That is, it is an intentional act. It’s not physical child abuse if it’s not intentional. It’s intentional if you see it as a means of exercising control, demanding respect and proving or showing your role as a caregiver. This act is common as stated in an article in medicineNet, ‘next to child neglect, physical abuse is the second most frequently reported form of child abuse accounting for 25% of all cases of child abuse’.
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines sexual violence as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. From the same source, it encompasses acts that range from verbal sexual harassment to forced penetration, and an array of types of coercion from social pressure and intimidation to physical force. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to rape within marriage or dating relationships; rape by strangers or acquaintances; unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment (at school, work etc.); systematic rape, sexual slavery and other forms of violence, which are particularly common in armed conflicts (e.g. forced impregnation); sexual abuse of mentally or physically disabled people; rape and sexual abuse of children; ‘customary’ forms of sexual violence, such as forced marriage or cohabitation and wife inheritance.
Consent is a voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, informed, mutual, honest and verbal agreement. It is an active agreement and cannot be coerced. Consent is a process which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask! (marshall.edu). You don’t just assume consent. I mean if the other person wants it, it’s fine since they are sane in every sense of the word. Plus, seeking and acting based on consent reduces or eliminate sexual violence.
Consent doesn’t mean silence or putting on sexy clothes, dancing or flirting. It’s not being drunk, high or being in a relationship with you. Also, thinking you can have sex or any other sexual activity with your partner because they are in a relationship with you is very wrong and it’s sexual assault. It doesn’t mean consent if the other person is not fighting back or they have at a time consented before. You don’t assume consent because someone has at a point consented before. If you assume consent, you have sexually assaulted such person. Plus, it doesn’t mean consent when the other person who is way younger, that is, a child is silent or threatened to be silent.
It's consent when you know and understand what is going on. It’s not like you are unconscious, blacked out, asleep, underage, or have an intellectual disability. You are conscious and aware!! It’s consent when you know what you want to do. It’s of not influence. You are not impaired. It’s consent if you are able to say what you want to do or don’t want to do and you are aware that you are giving consent and are not impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Rape is a type of sexual assault, according to Wikipedia which usually involves sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without the person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, it’s a forced sexual intercourse including vaginal, anal or oral penetration.
Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture defines rape culture as a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. In a rape culture, both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable. However, much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change (Brandonu.ca).
Blaming victims for being raped is like blaming a man for being robbed or blaming a random person for being a victim of circumstance(s). Is it their fault? Are they to be blamed? Rape culture makes innocent victims feel guilty of the act they have no idea or clue about. They say stuff like, ‘why did she attend that party? Why did she go out? What were you doing alone with him? What did you expect? Why would she wear that skimpy skirt? He is your husband. He can have sex whenever he wants and you have no right to counter that because you are a woman…’. All these are said to make the females feel insecure. The woman can’t walk on the street without watching her back. She can’t stay out late without munching on fear as she walks home silently. She can’t wear whatever she wants to because she would attract some men! Really? Are these what a woman should suffer from for being a woman? Does being a woman make you feel less a human?
Rapists rape because they know the victims would be blamed. They know the society has a way of blaming the victim, therefore, they know they’d go scot free because the victims wouldn’t have the courage to speak out. Even if they do, they won’t be reported or they’d be taught how to prevent rape. You see how we embrace rape and sexual assault in our society?
Men are assaulted too. Most men who become perpetrators of domestic, emotional or sexual violence in relationships or marriage experienced such violence while growing up while some saw it as a means to being in control because their fathers beat up their mothers to get what they want; use threats and demeaning words to show power or have sex with their mothers violently or forcefully just to demonstrate dominance! Whatever the case may be, most perpetrators of today were victims yesterday. Hence, the need to educate the men to end the cycle. Yes, the trend.
Using sexual violence as a weapon in war makes the victims feel useless and traumatised. They feel worthless which affects everything they do. It destroys families and destabilises communities as well. It’s not the victims’ fault for being raped, hence, sexual violence in our thoughts, words and actions should be eliminated.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Centre defines Sexual Harassment as an unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when either the conduct is made as a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a University community. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive working or learning environment or is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a person’s ability.
Harassment in schools is not normal and it shouldn’t be seen as a way of deriving fun. It is wrong and an uncultured act! It’s a way of promoting sexual violence because it’s unruly. It does more harm than good to the society. It might eat up an individual’s self-esteem or lead to depression due to the impolite comments regarding their sex. It should be curbed in schools and the workplace.
As an employer, you should state the rules clearly. Make sure there is a conspicuous rule against sexual harassment. Do make it clear before your employees assume their positions. It's prudent to know that women are not the only victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Men are also victims. Therefore, set the rules and penalties for both sexes. This would prevent sexual harassment in your workplace as an employer.