Every week, one woman dies from domestic violence in Australia, while three million girls are estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Africa. In both situations, women are limited in their choices, and have their rights ignored.
Since 753 B.C, up until 1882, domestic violence was considered a societal norm. Between 1964 and 1972, Haven House was a shelter that treated over 1000 women and children who suffered from domestic violence. Women across the country finally came together to speak out about ending this violence in the 1970’s. In the aftermath, laws were enacted for the victims who suffered abuse to grant them protection at both federal and state level.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers additional resources for victims of domestic violence. VAWA funded and created programs to help protect victims of violence in 1996.
In addition, foreign nationals abused by an employee of the U.S Government or a member of the uniformed services may also be charged, even without being presented at the U.S.
In 2005, a woman named Veronica went through a tragic experience. Her partner would strangle her so badly, she thought she would die. He did this more than once and after the third time, she took the courage to divorce him.
A majority believe that domestic violence against women as well as men is a disgusting thing to do. Therefore, this is a message to every women saying: “don’t be a silent victim fooled by a so- called love. Say no more to domestic violence.”
The practice of FGM dates back at least 2000 years ago but it’s history is not well known, especially when or where it originated from. It is believed that some cultures believed FGM would ensure women’s virginity and reduction in female desire, but nowadays there are many different beliefs. This particular practice requires removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, which interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies. Traditional beliefs, values and attitudes are the factors that support this terrible practice.
In many jurisdictions, removing, or making arrangements to remove, a child under the age of 18 years with the intention of having FGM performed on that child is an offence. In Victoria, it does not only apply to children, the law states that it applies to everyone. On the other hand, NSW law does not include a “removal” offence. On a Federal level, it is a crime if someone performs FGM on any person; the offence is not limited to the performance of FGM on children.
Any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic and experiencing; FGM can be one of the experiences. Experiences like FGM can stay with you for the rest of your life and have negative effect, leading to low self esteem, depression, anxiety and anger. Other side-effects include flashbacks, panic attacks and sometimes nightmares. Unfortunately, FGM continues to be an issue in some communities, where young women are regularily abused.
Gender equality is important, because women are a vital part of society and without women, our society would fall apart. Women deserve the same benefits men get and to be treated as equals, they deserve equal opportunity. Both genders should have equal rights especially in speaking out, education and respect to their decisions.
Having equal rights means that we, as women, can have the same social, economical and political opportunities as men.
Too many women who have suffered both domestic violence and FGM have stayed silent for too long and have not spoken out. As Zainab Salbi has said “As women, we must speak out, speak up, say no to our inheritance of loss and yes to a future of women-led dialogue about women’s rights and value.”