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Violence Against Women Should Be Properly Named

Now, in the context of COVID-19, more than 50% of the countries that account for the highest number of femicides are in the Americas.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía

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It is worth mentioning that the Center for Gender Equity's report, states that although women can also be violent and abuse also exists in some relationships between people of the same sex (like the rest of the population), the majority of partner abuse comes from of the man against his female partners. According to UNICEF, between a quarter and a half of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner violence, and one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, as reported by the Bank World. As stated by the Population Information Program, at least one in three women in the world has been beaten, forced to have sex, or abused in some other way in her life.

As is well known, both the pandemic and the measures taken by governments to stop the infections had a strong impact on some women in Latin America. This is how the telephone calls to the helpline for cases of domestic violence in Colombia increased by 130% during the quarantine and in Chile by 70%. In addition, the report of domestic violence in Mexico increased by 25% in March 2020 compared to 2019. As stated by Plan International, in the Dominican Republic, Linea Mujer (helpline for women) received 619 calls during the first 25 days of quarantine.

Anne Firth Murray mentions some of the most relevant causes of violence against women, as follows:

1. Imbalanced distribution of power within the family and community.

2. The belief that women and children are possessions that men can control.

Also read: A CHILEAN SONG THAT BECAME A FEMINIST ANTHEM

3. The credibility that women should be financially dependent on men.

4. The deficiency of communication skills to solve problems without aggression.

5. The passivity of friends, the community, and neighbors to stop or prevent violence.

Given the alarming rates of violence against women, as well as its devastating consequences for physical and mental health, it is interesting to question the veracity of the term domestic abuse. Anne Firth Murray in her book "From Outrage to Courage", quotes a domestic violence counselor who claims that the term is a way of sweetening the severity of the assaults suffered by women. The author of the book, teacher and activist, mentions various situations of violence against women to reach the inevitable conclusion that there should be a more accurate term to describe this type of abuse against women, perhaps domestic terror.

To develop her argument, Murray asserts that the term abuse means misuse, such as when there is alcohol or drug abuse, or when we are driving a car too fast. Therefore, abusing women would literally mean that they are being misused, which suggests that there is a proper use for them. If we talk about consuming, there is an obvious objectification of women, which is why Murray prefers to call it violence and even proposes the word terror as a more precise way of naming violence against women. As a first step to stop this violence, it is relevant to question whether we are using the correct terms to describe this horrendous violation of human rights.