VIOLENCE AGAINST women is a global phenomenon prevalent in all societies, but differs in its form from one society to another, depending on the level of development and the extent of patriarchal control within the family, as this system prevailed in human societies for thousands of years.
According to Dr. Manal Almanshi, the concept of dominance is differentiated in favor of one side against the other. The reason for this is because of biological differences between women and men that created psychological and social gap between the sexes within a family.
This in turn, affects the roles of men and women propagated by customs and social traditions that aim to make one partner more in control (usually the Alpha male) of others in a family, by threats, and corporal punishment. According to several variables, family disputes could sometimes lead to violence.
So the definition of violence against women is that it is a gender-based action that results in or is likely to cause bodily harm, sexual or psychological trauma to a female, including threatening language, forced coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether in public or personal life.
Violence against women is divided into two parts: direct violence such as physical, and indirect violence, which is the structure of social and cultural values, customs, traditions and social norms, as well as laws and regulations that differentiates between men and women.
In order to prevent violence against women in all its forms and promot the status of women in societies, the international community was involved in fighting against this phenomena through various conferences, especially the Beijing Declaration, which included the protection of women from violence.
In 1994, efforts led the United Nations to appoint an independent rapporteur on violence against women. This rapporteur submitted various reports plus a description and analysis of, patterns of violence against women and the individual remedies for their protection.
The General Assembly of the United Nations’ declaration issued in 1993, on the elimination of all manifestations of violence against women, separated between violence against women and discrimination against them.
The declaration has made it clear that violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and eliminates the enjoyment of those rights and freedoms are constrained.
The first article of the Declaration of violence against women states: “Any act of violence that has gender-based implications, or results in injury or suffering to women, whether physical, sexual or emotional, including threats of such acts, or coercion or deprivation of liberty, whether in public or private life”.
And this includes violence against women such as physical, sexual and psychological acts of aggression occurring within the family, or within the general community or condoned by the state.
In Saudi Arabia, four years ago, the President of the Council of Ministers issued a decree that contained a number of actions related to addressing the problem of domestic violence, including the authorization of the Ministry of Social Affairs to “prepare a comprehensive national strategy to deal with the problem of domestic violence at all levels, estimate the necessary budget, and increase from that according to established procedures”. However, Work is still in progress for that strategy.
In addition, the Ministry of Education, is in the process of preparing educational curricula to include information about the issue of violence against women after the decision of the Council of Ministers No. 366, which stated in article II “the Ministry of Education is to produce new curriculums to include clear concepts that urge tolerance and renounces violence.”
Thus based upon these decrees by the government, several programs were launched to protect women from violence within the family, under the auspices of government institutions and programs such as the Family Safety program, to improve the status of women and the role of institutions involved in combating domestic abuse.
However, we are still a long way away from achieving the goals set up by the Council of Ministers, and therefore, it is imperative that the media continues to shed light on domestic abuse. And as a community, we must all take responsibility, beginning with enlightening our own children.
— Courtesy of Alsharq newspaper