Thursday, February 3, 2011

Man-Up Campaign

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations — from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide.

Psychological and Emotional Abuse
Psychological and emotional abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological and emotional abuse includes but is not limited to, humiliating, controlling or withholding information from the victim, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. Psychological abuse involves not only hurt and anger, but also fear and degradation. Psychological abuse leaves the victim doubt their self-worth and/or safety and subsequently helpless and/or not able to escape further abuse.

Domestic violence
Domestic violence is behavior used by one person to control the other. This includes emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Victims and perpetrators may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; related, not related, living together, separated or dating. Some examples of domestic violence include: physical assault or the threat of physical assault, name-calling, forced social isolation, withholding money or jobs, stalking, and name calling, among others.

Rape is the crime of forcing somebody into sexual activity against his or her will through use of physical force, threat of injury, or other duress. If the victim is under the legal age of consent or is unable to say "no" to intercourse due to the effects of drugs or alcohol, it is still considered rape. Rape is a medical emergency. In addition to physical trauma, rape has profound psychological, social and financial implications. The word rape comes from the Latin verb rapere: to seize or take by force.

Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the name for procedures that intentionally alter, cut or injur female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice has no health benefits. FGM is practiced in many places as a coming-of-age-tradition and is usually performed on girls between infancy and 14 years old. The practice is related to a blend of cultural, religious and social ideals of womanhood, femininity and modesty. There is no textual basis within any religion for FGM. The practice is recognized as a violation of girls’ basic human rights and disrupts healthy bodily funtion. Many practitioners believe FGM to reduce libido and therefore keep young women from desiring “inappropriate” sexual relationships. The fear of pain caused by opening a vaginal opening that has been narrowed or covered with FGM is also believed to discourage “illicit” sex. FGM can cause immense pain, severe bleeding, problems urinating, sepsis, shock, infertility, childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

Forced and Early Marriage
Early marriage is the marriage of children under the age of 18, while forced marriage occurs when one or both of the parties do not willingly enter into the marital relationship. Both are forms of violence against girls. Health and Childbearing: Women and girls in early and forced marriage are significantly suceptible to STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Although they are monogomous within their marriage, their husbands are usually older and sexually experienced and create serious risk for their young wives. Pregnancy is another serious risk to young brides whose bodies are not prepared for childbirth. Girls ages l0-14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20-24, while girls ages 15-19 are twice as likely to die. Education: Early and forced marriage interrupts education, creating lost opportunity, social isolation, and dependence. Studies show that a higher median age at first marriage directly correlates with higher rates of girls in school. Violence: Because forced and early marriages are based the power of one spouse over the other, they are more likely to become violent. Rape is common in these marriages.

Sexual Abuse within Marriage
Rape and abuse that occurs within marriage often goes unreported and sometimes isn’t recognized by the victim as abuse. In many places around the world, it is assumed by women that enduring sexual abuse within marriage is a spousal obligation and a part of “normal” life. Marriage is often used by perpetrators to legitimize abuse often creates confusion for the victim around issues love, responsibility, and matrimony but is none-the-less a crime.

Son Preference
Son preference is the strong partiality to boys over girls by parents. Son preference often results in the neglect of daughters’ basic needs such as health care, sufficient nutrition, and education. Son preference can lead parents to abort female fetuses or commit female infanticide.

Honor Killings
An honor killing is the murder of a family or clan member justified by a failure to comply with the expectations of the culture, religion or tradition. In many cases the victim is a woman who has been raped, engaged in premarital sex, sought divorce, or refused to marry the man chosen for her, all of which might bring perceived dishonor to their family. Although accusations may not be based on strict, tangible evidence, they often result in violent retaliation and death.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual attention or advancement that may affect one’s ability to function in every day life. Qualifying behavior can be as subtle as an implied comment, but is still considered gender discrimination and often leads to more serious criminal offenses. Situations can vary from involving implied to direct behavior, from targeting one to a group of individuals, or from involving a pattern of behavior to a single incident.

Human trafficking is the use of fraud, force, or coercion to exploit a person for profit.

Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict
Violence against women in armed conflict is the intentional abuse of women in order to achieve military objectives. These may include breaking the resistance of a community or spreading political terror. Rape is the most common form of violence against women during war Because of the traditional views of women as matriarchal symbols of a nation or community, targeting women for sexual violence may be believed to dishonor an opponent or attack cultural values. For this reason, in periods of war women are often treated as sexual objects and victims of violence directed against their customs.

Violent or forced sex often causes tears or lacerations for women that significantly increase the likelihood of HIV transmission, while forced sex also renders women unable to negotiate safer conditions, leaving the vulnerable to transmission of the disease. An HIV positive status, known or perceived, can also increase a woman or girl's risk of violence leaving her open to angry abuse by a partner and others, and rejection by family and friends.

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