Nov 24, 2014
Since Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens brought into focus the enormous problem of domestic violence, more and more has come out about other sports figures. But violence against women does not begin or end with NFL players. Violence against women is pervasive in the U.S. and invisible except when someone famous is accused. Every 90 seconds a woman is raped in the United States. Approximately 1.3 million women are physically assaulted each year by an intimate partner. Five percent of all children are homeless due to their mothers trying to escape domestic violence.
In this society, violence against women is not considered a problem. Rather, it is encouraged. The fundamental basis of this violence is the treatment of women as the property of “their man,” sanctified by marriage.
Not all violence is so obvious or physical. Recently a young woman did an experiment where she walked through New York City. As she did, the men around her made all sorts of comments about how pretty she was. Some followed her, some even touched her – all of this was captured on video. The behavior of these men scared her; she had no way to know it would not lead to something violent. This happens to many women every day. And it is a kind of violence, because it terrorizes women.
In much the same way, all the pervasive jokes and comments about women are also a kind of violence that most women are numb to by now. But it is the mark of how much women in this country are degraded.
This violence against women does not always stop at a punch or a kick. It can and does lead to murder. Every day, three or four women in the U.S. are killed by their partner.
The U.S. is not unusual: across the world, within the capitalist system, women are treated as property of men, to be degraded or destroyed as men see fit. Only major social movements have pushed this oppression back.
The United Nations has declared November 25th International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Only one day out of the year, to pay attention to this disgusting situation. With violence this pervasive, tolerated and encouraged, EVERY day needs to be a day for the elimination of violence against women.