The World Health Organization recently released findings from a global study that shows 35% of women around the world have been raped or physically abused and that about 80% of the time this violence occurs at the hands of a partner or spouse. One of the contributors to the report, epidemiologist Karen Devries BSc PhD says, “For me personally, this is a shockingly high figure.”

Which figure is it that is shocking, I wonder? That more than a quarter of women on the planet have reported being raped or abused? That the majority of violence is at the hand of a man whom the women should have been able to trust?

It is unclear to me why Dr. Devries is quoted in the article as saying she finds this figure to be “shockingly high.” Is the figure shockingly high to her because she was unaware that violence against women is prevalent, crossing socioeconomic, age, and racial lines all over the planet? Is the figure shockingly high to her because statistics continually show little advancement in attitudes toward women even in countries claiming to be world leaders? Is the figure shockingly high because since the beginning of recorded time violence against women has been entertaining and sexually stimulating to men? Don’t believe that? READ THIS NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE written in 1984.

Yeah, almost thirty years ago!

For all the talk about violence against women, the best attempt of not-so-shockingly ineffectual policy makers was the 1994 Violence Against Women Act which was allowed to expire. It is unclear to me if the reason for this shockingly troglodyte lapse in judgment was to gauge whether or not women would notice or if the national priority is not the health and safety of its citizens, but the gross domestic products Viagra and Debt. Perhaps it was just another congressional tragic hero/comic villain drama that needed to be played out on the public stage for two years. Price of admission – our tax dollars.

The article concludes with the quote, “There is no magic bullet, no vaccine or pill” for rape and abuse. […] “But what we hear from women is that often times, just having an empathetic listener who can provide some practical support and help her get access to some other services — that in itself is an important intervention.”

I think we can do better. We MUST do better. Check out this video to see how people working together solves problems.

15 thoughts on “Shockingly Solvable

  1. you can never provide too much information on the topic – thanks again Honie–

  2. Honie – thanks for this one. I am going to reach over the county line and see if they can maybe use another volunteer. This strikes close to home for me.

  3. The Hook says:

    The legal system, society’s views on violence against women and indeed our entire perception of how we treat each other, must change. NOW.

  4. mairedubhtx says:

    What’s shocking is that these figures are low. These are reported statistics. The actual figures are much higher. The article is sickening, for sure. Thanks for posting this important topic, though. It’s something that should go on Le Clown and Madame Weeble’s Outlier Collective, I think. You should write for them a piece on this topic, Honie.

  5. fransiweinstein says:

    A good friend of mine, who suffered abuse himself, has started a foundation called Stopped Abuse Campaign. It would be worth your while to see what they’re up to; and what their short and long term goals are.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Hey Fransi,
      You shared a link to that site once before, didn’t you? I remember checking it out. Thanks!

      1. fransiweinstein says:

        I may very well have and just forgot. Loved your post.

  6. acflory says:

    😦 One of our star football players has just been charged with rape – at least ten years after it happened. The victim reported the rape at the time, but the police basically swept the whole thing under the carpet. This is not the first incidence of violence amongst women by high profile sportsmen, but its only recently that authorities have begun taking the matter seriously.

    There is also another scandal to do with the degradation of females in the armed forces. That had not been taken seriously either.

    It’s all part of a culture that turns a blind eye to ‘sexual misdemeanours’ that occur in the privacy of the bedroom. Yet as your post has pointed out, rape is not about sex, it’s about power. It’s the /power/ that is sexually stimulating.

    That said, I admit I was shocked by those figures. In many ways we are still neanderthals. 😦

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I wouldn’t want to be a part of the judiciary. Prevention and education seem to be worthwhile endeavors for me. Besides, if it were up to me, the laws would include sterilization or some such measure (castration) for those convicted of rape. So, it isn’t likely I will ever be asked to consult with law makers on that.

      Aside from criminal acts such as rape, domestic violence isn’t perceived by most people as a crime. People tend to believe women choose to stay in an abusive relationship and therefore no crime is committed. According to agencies that specialize in working with those affected by domestic violence here in the U.S., one in four women has been abused or knows someone who has. One in Four!

      Attitudes toward private family matters are difficult to change. Community, religion, social stigma all play a role and when children learn violent behaviors in an intimate setting such as their home, the cycle often continues until there is an intervention or death.

      It’s unfortunate that women, with all of our “granted rights” (don’t get me started) still accept being treated as chattel for the sake of tradition and that fairy tale “special day.” I’ve known too many young brides who, when the party was over, didn’t know what hit them. Bringing children into a marriage does NOT make the abuse stop. I could write post after post on the many sides of this topic. In fact, I have.
      Thanks for your comment, Meeks.

      1. acflory says:

        Keep writing about it Honie. The only way true change will happen is if /we/ say enough is enough and teach our daughters to value themselves enough to do the same.

  7. Impower You says:

    Maybe she lives in a bubble or never goes online, near a high school or uses public transportation? Because I see it everyday on t-shirts, advertisements, and in the memories of my family and friends.
    There may not be a magic bullet but there is a simple (simple doesn’t mean easy) way to solve violence. Stop it before it starts. Why are boys allowed to wear shirts that demonize or degrade women with violence and sex? Who would let their son walk out of the house wearing that? Why doesn’t every mother and father sit their son down and tell him violence is wrong, jokes about rape are wrong, and that their only choice in how they treat women is with respect. Why don’t parents have actual conversations with their children? I’ve had conversations about gender violence with my brother, my nephews, my friends sons, and a few male friends.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      All good questions, Leah. Solutions to a problem that manifests itself in so many different ways takes us all asking the right questions. The dialogue often gets derailed, when it happens at all, and that’s one reason it is so important that women support each other. It’s great that you reach out to your family and friends.

      1. Impower You says:

        Thanks. I was able to mostly pretend things that happened to me and people I knew weren’t that bad until I worked at the Domestic Violence center. It was then that everything boiled to the surface and I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    I could barely read past the first few paragraphs of that New York Times article. Makes me viscerally ill. Although I’m a fan of horror movies involving ghosts and such, I can’t stand slasher films, mostly because it’s usually women that are the prey.

    I had to come say hi to Ms. Honie. Glad I did. Wonderful post as always. 🙂

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      The article, yeah, sickening, I know. Can’t be separated from this topic. A topic always on my mind, you know.
      Hope your summer is shaping up nicely. Things are heating up around here. So glad you checked in. Seems most everyone is keeping a low profile lately, including me. No time to post too much or even read posts. Summer session is LOADS of fun!!!

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