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Women fight back - Essay Example

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In ‘Women fight back’, author, Susan Brownmiller has discussed rape as most heinous crime committed against women across the globe. …
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Download file to see previous pages Brownmiller has traced the history of sexual violence and violence against women. According to her the socio-cultural and religious paradigms are key factors that promote male domination and irrational perception towards the role of women in society. Author also asserts that constitutional and legal parameters of rape against women need to be ‘within the context of modern violence and not within the purview of ancient masculine code, crime retains its unique dimensions’ (52). She has also raised one of the most critical issue within the context of rape. The male perceive rape as violation of the ‘male rights of possession, based on male requirements of virginity, chastity, consent to private access as female bargain in marriage contract’ (52). It is only viewed in horror by men only if their wives or partners are raped by others! This is also one of the most crucial aspects that often serves as major weapon of vendetta as has been proved time and again in wars, inter-personal rivalry or tribal wars of previous era. While constitution defines rape as ‘forcible penetration of vagina by penis, howsoever slight’, author has correctly interpreted it as heterosexual offence which undermines the dignity of women and significantly reduces the enormity of criminal act, carried by other means to degrade women’s sensibilities. The consent by victim has been construed as major element that gives a twisted slant to consensual agreement to sexual act and absolves rapist of the crime. Indeed, rape if proved still draws life sentences and in some states, even capital punishment but convictions have been few. The narrow definition of rape within the law has been responsible for low rate of reporting and even lower rate of conviction as violence against women’s body can be construed or perceived differently by the society and lawmen. The gender equality was not an option in the olden times. The gender biases, enforced by the patriarchal society and supported by cultural and religious dictums, have not only tried to confine women’s independence but they encourage men to create social environment that smother their potential and creativity. In short, religious guideline and cultural compulsions do not allow women equality and force them into subordinate roles so they are easy to subject to violence and rape. The sanctity of rape within marriage by religion is horrendous in concept. Brownmiller has quoted Deuteronomy in Bible which says that woman’s hands should be cut off if she catches hold of men’s genitals in her hand even if the act is done to protect man when two men are fighting. Indeed, unequal distribution of wealth, power and privileges between the genders, have been important reasons to ensure women’s subjugation to men’s will. Woman’s body has remained main focus of exploitation and is seen as ‘commodity or thing’ to be enjoyed by men. Pornography and prostitution have therefore evolved as means to satisfy the carnal desires of men without actually resorting to force within or outside the marriage. The article is succinct in its abhorrence of prostitution as it reinforces male mentality that it can gain access to female body through monetary transactions. Legalization of prostitution is no guarantee that violence against women can be contained or eliminated. In fact many scholars believe that prostitution is actually started as only means of earning by persons who have been sexually abused in childhood (Belton, 1992; Simons & ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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