Juan Carlos juancarloscruz at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 27 07:24:00 MST 2005


I think that the problem of all oppression and violence from a stronger 
class toward a weaker class of society in this world comes from capitalism.  
The root and real causes of domestic violence against women, children, and 
weaker people is caused by capitalism itself.  I think that another system 
is possible and that the world must move toward a more equal, and democratic 
peaceful world instead of the one we have today.  Thanks I live you with an 
article about domestic violence i found in the internet:

Sexism’s logical outcome
Capitalism breeds violence against women
By Donna Goodman

Thousands marched in Juarez City, Mexico on May 27 against murders of women 
around the maquiladoras.
Photo: Barbara Vazquez
There are many ways to assess the position of women in a society. We can 
look at their participation in the labor force, their income compared to 
that of men, laws promoting equality, the number of women in government and 
the right to divorce, own property or control reproduction.

One unambiguous indicator of women’s place in society is the incidence of 
violence against women.

A global problem

Despite the many advances made by women over decades of struggle, violence 
against women remains pervasive worldwide. This violence cuts across 
culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age. It may take the form 
of domestic abuse or murder. It may take the form of female infanticide, 
genital mutilation, dowry burning, sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, 
forced suicide of widows, honor killing, or rape within marriage. It takes 
place in the United States as well as in exploited countries like India or 

But in every case, violence against women is a vestige of women’s historic 
status as property—a product of the division of society into exploited and 
exploiting classes. It is a symptom of their continued subordinate status in 
class society. Global capitalism, far from solving the historic inequality 
of women, has incorporated violence against women into its business 
practices and its imperialist military strategies.

Worldwide, one out of three women has been beaten, forced into sex or abused 
in her lifetime. Up to 70 percent of female murder victims are killed by 
their male partners.

In the most oppressed countries, structural adjustment programs are forcing 
governments to privatize resources and eliminate social services. This has 
lead to increased inequality and an accompanying upsurge of violence against 

For example, in the transnational sweatshops doing business under free trade 
agreements like NAFTA, young women working for slave wages are routinely 
abused at work. In a dramatic case, more than 300 girls and women have been 
killed since 1993 in Juarez, Mexico. Most were workers in the “maquiladora” 
factories in the free trade zone on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The formerly socialist countries in Eastern Europe have seen capitalism 
destroy their economic safety nets and shatter their many gains in gender 
equality. Sexist violence has been a dramatic result.

War causes massive suffering to women. Civilian casualties of today’s wars 
far outnumber those of armed combatants, and 80 percent of those are women 
and children. Women and girls are routinely the target of sexual violence, 
especially rape.

Every year 200,000 women in the United States are victims of sexual 
Photo: Bill Hackwell
Violence against women in the United States

In the United States, men are more likely than women to be victims of 
violent crimes. But violence against women is specifically gender-based and 
often sexual. Every two minutes, somewhere in the United States, a woman is 
sexually assaulted and every six minutes one is raped. This amounts to about 
200,000 victims per year.

It is estimated that only 40 percent of sexual assaults are reported to law 
enforcement. Many women prefer not to risk the shame, blame or indifference 
of law enforcement and the courts.

Since 1993, official statistics show a decline of nearly 50 percent in all 
violent crime. But that figure hides differences in crimes against men and 

Crimes against men have decreased more sharply than those against women. In 
some areas, reports of sexual assault have risen. In New York City, for 
example, sexual assault cases rose 10 percent from 2001 to 2002. This is 
sometimes attributed to better reporting. But it is also important to 
understand how data are collected and reported by police departments.

In 2001, the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that local police were 
misrepresenting rape complaints, leading to fewer investigations and lower 
rape statistics. The newspaper also raised concerns about police practices 
in four other cities. Since police reports are a source of federal data, the 
reliability of certain rape statistics is questionable.

The most vulnerable women are most often targets of violence. About half of 
all rape victims are poor, in the lowest third of income distribution. Women 
in prison suffer sexual assault, body searches, shackling during childbirth 
and rape by prison guards, few of whom are ever prosecuted. Women who don’t 
fit traditional gender roles, like lesbians and transgendered people, are 
especially vulnerable to attacks by police and prison officials.

The frequency of domestic violence

One of the main forms of violence against women is domestic 
violence—beatings and murder of women by their partners. In the privacy of 
the home, this remnant of property rights within marriage or the monogamous 
relationship lives on. It is a problem that affects not only the women who 
are attacked, but also children who are abused or witness the abuse.

The scale of domestic abuse in the United States is dramatic. A woman is 
battered by an intimate partner every 15 seconds. One-third of female murder 
victims are killed by an intimate partner. Sixty-four percent of women who 
are raped, assaulted or stalked are victimized by a current or former 
intimate partner.

More than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every 
day. Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women. Thirty-one 
percent of U.S. women have been physically or sexually abused by an intimate 
partner at some point in their lives. Up to 14 percent of married women are 
raped by their husbands.

Violence against women affects poor women most severely. Those who work risk 
losing their jobs because of harassment or absenteeism. A disproportionate 
percentage of welfare recipients were domestic violence victims, many of 
whom used welfare as a means of gaining some economic independence from an 
abusive partner.

That was before welfare was gutted in 1996. The loss of this safety net has 
deprived women of a critical option for physical and economic survival. Poor 
women who flee their homes often become homeless, with no affordable housing 
available to them. Access to an independent income, childcare and 
transportation are among the primary needs for women who seek to escape 
violence at home.

Although women experience the vicious cycle of violence and poverty in 
isolation, it is not an individual problem. It is a social and political 
problem in a country whose ruling class has appropriated an increasing share 
of society’s wealth to enrich itself, deplete social services for workers 
and the poor and expand military conquest abroad.

Like other forms of violence against women, domestic violence is 
underreported to law enforcement. Not only do women fear reprisals, but they 
are also skeptical of police officers’ commitment to help them.

Domestic violence among cops, military

One reason for this mistrust may have to do with what is happening in more 
than a few officers’ homes. According to the National Center for Women and 
Policing, domestic violence is two to four times more prevalent among police 
families than among U.S. families in general—with 24 percent to 40 percent 
of women in police officer families experiencing domestic violence. Victims 
of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the abuser has a 
gun, knows the location of battered women’s shelters and knows how to 
manipulate the legal system.

Nor is this due to individual “bad apples” in the police department. A 2003 
incident in Los Angeles reveals that domestic violence by cops is officially 
tolerated. According to a report by the Feminist Majority Foundation, a 
criminal defense consultant leaked confidential files that revealed a 
pattern of domestic violence and cover-ups by officers in the Los Angeles 
Police Department. Of those accused of domestic violence, 29 percent were 
later promoted. Thirty percent were repeat offenders. But the whistle blower 
was jailed for contempt for leaking the files. Although the LAPD instituted 
some reforms after the incident was publicized, the case highlighted the 
institutional nature of anti-women violence within the state’s repressive 

The same patterns of victimization of women can be seen in the 
military—another instrument of state repression. Despite a growing number of 
women in the military, there is a pervasive culture of hostility toward 
women that is promoted from the highest ranks of the officer corps. Widely 
publicized incidents like the 1991 Tailhook incident tell only part of the 

A recent Pentagon report noted a 25 percent increase in the number of 
reported sexual assault cases with service member victims from 2003 to 2004, 
as well as a 41 percent increase from 2002 to 2004. Domestic violence rates 
in the military are two to three times higher than in the civilian 
population, with only a small proportion of violators prosecuted or 
disciplined. These crimes are most common among the elite special forces, 
including the four widely publicized 2002 murders of military wives at Fort 
Bragg, North Carolina.

This violence is above and beyond the violence against women civilians that 
occurs wherever U.S. armed forces are stationed, whether in U.S.-occupied 
Iraq or near U.S. military bases in Japan.

The women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s won important 
Photo: Ron Innell/Toronto Star
Women win important reforms

Following the mass women’s movement in the 1970s, women have won important 
reforms in the struggle against gender-based violence. Mass education and 
publicity campaigns have led to increased awareness of the issue and 
pressure on the legal, educational and health care system has produced 
significant remedies. Thousands of rape crisis centers, battered women’s 
shelters and domestic violence hotlines have been established; medical 
practitioners routinely screen female patients for abuse; and police receive 
mandated training in dealing with victims.

Legal changes include defining the degrees of sexual assault, eliminating 
the requirement for witnesses in sexual assault cases and excluding victims’ 
prior sexual history as evidence. In 1992 the National Council of Juvenile 
and Family Court Judges published model state codes on domestic violence.

Years of street action and intense lobbying for a federal law culminated in 
the 1994 passage of the Violence against Women Act. The law, which is up for 
reauthorization this year, brings national attention to gender-based crime 
and gives legitimacy to the issue in all government agencies.

Many states have coalitions, task forces or inter-agency programs dedicated 
to ending violence against women. In 1993 marital rape became a crime in all 
50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. New York 
State has a “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” and the attorney general’s 
office website shows an extensive list of rights and resources for women. 
This year New York State’s highest court ruled that women could not lose 
custody of their children solely because the children saw them being 
battered by abusive partners.

There have also been some steps forward for women internationally. The 1948 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights had declared the equality of all human 
beings, including with respect to sex, and called for the prohibition of 
torture or degrading treatment. In 1993 the UN General Assembly passed the 
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first 
international human rights instrument to deal exclusively with violence 
against women. This was a model for other processes, such as the 
Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of 
Violence against Women, and the African Convention on Human and People’s 
Rights. The 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing included 
elimination of all forms of violence against women as one of its twelve 
strategic objectives.

Of course, for all of these declarations, conditions for the vast majority 
of women in the world remain miserable.

Capitalism: a constant threat to reforms

But in a world economy dominated by capitalism—production for private 
profit—special oppression against women has an economic basis. Having whole 
groups of people subject to terror and insecurity in their personal lives 
erodes the possibilities for organizing for better living conditions—and, 
consequently, lower rates of profit.

So every legal gain made by women under capitalism is under constant attack. 
For every success, there is a setback.

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development now requires 
detailed information on battered women to be collected from domestic 
violence shelters that receive HUD funding. This information is computerized 
and available to other government agencies. Over 40,000 women each year use 
shelters financed by HUD.

The Personal Responsibility, Work and Family Promotion Act of 2005, now in 
the Senate, will spend $1.6 billion to “promote marriage” and force poor 
women to accept low-wage, dead-end jobs, leaving their children in 
inadequate childcare. The government is already spending over $100 million 
on marriage promotion, taking funds from other social programs.

These “marriage promotion” laws do nothing to provide the foundation for 
providing families with adequate wages, health care or childcare. Rather, 
they provide incentives for women to enter into relationships that may be 
abusive or unstable.

Anti-imperialism and the struggle against sexism

The sheer magnitude of the problem of violence against women around the 
world, including in the most advanced capitalist countries, shows that it is 
not a random or an individual crime. It is a tool of oppression that keeps 
women subordinate.

Ideologically, sexist violence in the United States—the most advanced 
capitalist state in the world—is a symbol of the glorification of war, 
violence and the male “hero” that pervades U.S. culture. Imperialist 
expansion and war have intensified the exploitation and suffering of women 
here and in other countries.

The women’s movement has won important reforms in the political, economic 
and social spheres. Every victory was won because women and their allies 
took to the streets and lit a fire under legislatures, courts and police.

The causes of women’s oppression are rooted in class society. The ongoing 
struggle for women’s equality and freedom from violence is an international 
one, integral to the struggle against imperialism and war. The renewal of 
activism in response to the Iraq war and capitalist globalization presents 
an excellent opportunity to unite in fighting women’s oppression, capitalist 
exploitation and militarism.

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