Violence against women is misunderstood. Hang with me for a moment—when I first started writing this article I had the topic of domestic violence which turned into violence against Native women…until I thought “Why am I writing using racial divisions?” That’s when it hit me: Violence against women is misunderstood and this misunderstanding is leading to a mess of a deconstruction.
The world as we know it looks at it like this…
Problem: Violence against women
Now I know many of you are reading the above and thinking (or I hope you are) prevention is bullshit. You’re correct. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million times more—the only true prevention of violence against women is education. I digress—let’s take a look at how we’re currently dealing with this issue.
For starters, the definition is all skewed thanks to media, patriarchy, colonization, and this list could go on and on. Point is, I can almost bet when one is asked to define violence against women the first thought to come to their mind is one of physical acts. We often forget violence includes emotional and verbal abuse. Given the right view, societal oppression could even fall into this category—and arguably does. I mean, you’re against violence against women but are perfectly content with women being paid less than their male counterparts….uhhh okay then.
Furthermore, all those “prevention” methods only help if you happen to be a straight, middle class (at least), white woman. What about other ethnicities? Sexual orientations? Black, white, brown, red, yellow, pink, purple, and bright green—all our sisters. Trans, bi, lesbian, etc. etc. etc.—all our sisters.
What I’m getting at is we’re trying to tear down a pyramid from the bottom up—leaving everything else to tumble down on top of us.
To truly counter violence against women two things need to happen. First of all, it must be all inclusive—meaning all ethnicities, financial brackets, and sexual orientations. Secondly, we must start from the top down—you can throw every awareness and prevention method you want at this issue but the problem will still exist. Why? How can we expect this attitude to change when the media, music, education, and everything in between degrades women on the daily (directly or indirectly).
I know we can (and have) make huge strides towards eradicating violence against women, but we’ve got to stop dividing, compartmentalizing, and excluding.