Violence against women in Congo, India and Guatemala
Submitted by Walter Astrada
Violence against women is not only the most widespread example of a human rights violation, but probably the least evident, going largely unpunished. This is shown by the reports published and research conducted by the United Nations, international human rights agencies and the global women’s and feminist movements which have been denouncing this situation for decades.
Violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon affecting all societies, regardless of their political and economic systems; it affects all cultures, social classes and ethnic groups. This violence is largely exercised by men against women, and it both reflects and reinforces gender inequality. However, in most countries, only recently has it been considered a public human rights issue in which both society in general and the State has to react and take steps to halt such a situation and provide care for its victims.
Violence against women takes many forms, from domestic abuse to rape, sexual abuse and harmful cultural practices ranging from genital mutilation and honour crimes to premature marriage. Trafficking in women and girls to be exploited largely in the sex industry is another form of violence; furthermore, the fact that many women, especially young girls and adolescents, are unable to demand safe sex and reject undesired sex increases their risk of contagion with HIV/AIDS. In the context of wars and natural disasters, in which most of the refugees and displaced population are women and children, women are raped, kidnapped, mutilated and used as sex slaves; the systematic rape of women and girls has been used as a weapon in numerous armed conflicts.
The dimensions of violence against women are alarming. According to different sources,
The consequences of violence against women are devastating; survivors regularly suffer from emotional disorders and mental health problems for the rest of their lives, not to mention those who meet their death.
This project aims at contemplating violence against women as a historic and worldwide phenomenon.
I have selected countries from different geographical areas with different situations, cultures, religions and levels of development; in each one, I describe both the specific social context and the different specific forms of violence, as follows:
· Guatemala: the murders of women in Guatemala and Mexico in a climate of widespread violence against women.
· India: It is estimated that there are 40 million girls less in India due to selective abortions and infanticides.
· acid attacks and other “honour” crimes against women.
· Democratic Republic of Congo: In the eastern of The Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of women and young girls are being raped with impunity and extreme brutality by all sides in the conflict, civilians, militiamen, armed groups, foreign-armed groups and members of the Congolese Army.