[Marxism] Amnesty: Violence against women terrifyingly high

usman x sandinista at shaw.ca
Fri Mar 5 16:50:15 MST 2004


Violence against women terrifyingly high
Fri 5 March, 2004 12:41

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - From battlefields to backstreets and bedrooms, women
across the world are being subjected to terrifying levels of abuse, human
rights pressure group Amnesty International says.

"This is not something that just happens 'over there.' It happens here,"
said Amnesty's secretary general Irene Khan, launching a campaign to end
violence against women on Friday.

"It is not something that only happens to other people. It happens to you,
your friends and your family," she added. "Until all of us, men as well as
women, say 'no, I will not let this happen' it will not stop."

In a report "It's in our hands. Stop violence against women," Amnesty said
up to one billion women -- one in every three -- had been beaten, forced to
have sex or otherwise abused, often by a friend or family member.

In Zambia, five women a week were murdered by a male partner or family
friend, while around the world one woman in five would suffer a rape or
attempted rape at some point, and the practice had even become a weapon of

"Armed conflict is having a devastating and desperate impact on women that
goes far beyond the inherent violence of war," Khan said.

Each year two million girls between the ages of five and 15 were forced into
prostitution and the traffic in women was worth up to $7 billion a year,
Amnesty said.

The problem was by no means confined to developing regions.

In the United States, a woman was beaten by her husband or partner on
average every 15 seconds and one was raped every 90 seconds, while in France
25,000 women were raped each year, the report said.

But such was the stigma attached to rape victims -- some of whom might later
be murdered by a family member in so-called honour killings -- that the
level of reporting was a fraction of the truth.

"Behind closed doors and in secret, women are subjected to violence by their
partners and close relatives, too ashamed and afraid to report it and so
seldom taken seriously when they do," Khan said.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, nearly 60
percent of infected people were women -- a rising trend exacerbated by the
belief in some countries that raping a virgin would cure the perpetrator of
the disease.

Worldwide more than 135 million girls and women had undergone female
circumcision, and the number was rising at a rate of two million a year,
Amnesty said.

"The effects of economic globalisation are leaving more and more women
trapped in poverty on the margins of society," Khan said.

"In this, as in so many other ways, governments are failing to address the
real terror of our world that millions of women face every day," she added,
urging global action to end the abuse of women.

"The obstacles are ideological rather than political. It is the expression
of patriarchal thought that permeates everything, that makes for a one-sided
vision of society ... Not only is there tremendous ignorance of a feminist
agenda, but when it is addressed it is addressed paternalistically,
condescendingly, in welfare terms. We are lacking in
profound and serious reflection on the subject." -Sofia Montenegro,

More information about the Marxism mailing list