analysis : Violence against women : a cross cultural perspective
analysis of argumentative essay
Gender ANd VIolence
Analysis :Violence against Women : A Cross-cultural Perspective~
American University of Beirut
Violence against Women: A Cross-Cultural Perspective:written by Nora al Mosaed
According to the United Nations, violence against women is defined as any “gender based act that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological harm, or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life” (Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women resolution 48/104 of December 1993).Violence against women has been present throughout the history of mankind. According to the United Nations, it has “led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women (http://en.wikipedia.org) There is no doubt that violence against women is a major and universal problem that knows no cultural barrier (Al Mosaed 2004). The main objective behind this presentation is to present violence against women through a cross-cultural perspective while analyzing Al Mosaed Al Mosaed’s text. We hope to shed some light over the rate of occurrence of violence against women in different cultures and focus on how society views abusive men and victimized women.
Analysis of Violence against Women: A Cross-cultural Perspective by Nora Al Mosaed (2004):
1- Claim: The author claims that throughout history male violence against women exists in all societies without exclusions (Al Mosaed 2004). The author states that violence against women takes on various forms of oppression which include physical, sexual and emotional methods of domination. Al Mosaed asserts that women are subjects to this oppression and men are the perpetrators who seek control over women. Also, she claims that women are neither safe in their own homes or in public (Al Mosaed 2004). Al Mosaed links the act of keeping certain groups subjugated and women being oppressed by men to physical force. The author stresses that women’s weak state of dependence has led them to being easy victims of violence. Once the link between dominant males and oppressed women has been established, the reader can relate to how women kept “under control makes them subjects of violence” (Al Mosaed 2004).
The claim is clear and directly stated in the introduction. It is straightforward and relates to the text’s informative and expository purpose. It also helps the reader infer the premises which revolve around the claim.
2-Grounds: The author refers to various socio-researchers such as RE. Dobash, P. Sen, and R. Gelles, which strengthen her claim and protect her credibility. The researchers notice that:
- Women in many countries are victims of violence and men are the subjugators (Al Mosaed 2004)
- Al Mosaed refers to Sen 1998 and states that violence has an array of forms and women are subjects of violence at home and in public.
- Women’s dependence, subordinate status, and social position makes them easier victims of oppression and violence (R. Gelles)
The grounds supplied by the writer are credible and support her claim regarding the cross-cultural aspect of violence. They add credibility, strengthen her argument and act as a base for her writing.
-Major Premise: Women in all cultures suffer from violence caused by men as an act of enforcing their control over women.
-Minor Premise: Violence against women takes different forms depending on the culture they live within, and has different effects on the victims.
-Conclusion: Violence against women which is inflicted by men has a cultural aspect and affects women on various levels.
The premises in the text were well defined and closely relate to the claim. Al Mosaed starts by stating that women in all cultures have endured gender based violence. Then, the writer affirms that gender violence is not random and women in general are the victims of such acts. The author supports her arguments by evidence from different cultures and data collected from various studies. She also includes the rates of occurrences, the cultural aspect of the topic as well counter arguments.
Other than limiting and specifying the topic, the premises add coherence to the text and highlight the main ideas and arguments discussed in the text at hand that is the cross-cultural aspect of violence against women.
As for a start, all the arguments in the text are stated clearly in the beginning of each paragraph. The title sections help the reader infer the main argument of each section. Sections are titled as the following: Power Relations, Forms of Violence, Perpetrators, Rates of Occurrence, The Cultural Context, Public attitude towards Violence against Women: A Private Affair, and Violence against Women in the Arab World.
*Argument One: According to Al Mosaed, violence is linked to power and is socially gendered) and is an expression of unequal power relations that is evident in all societies since history (Al Mosaed 2004). Al Mosaed argues that power has always been in the hands of men, and it is due to women’s submissive status in society that women become the victims of gendered violence. Al Mosaed supports her argument by quoting researcher Sen who states that “violence is an expression of power, a means through which people seek control” (Al Mosaed 2004). She also states that this is due to the cultural traits and the effects of some traditions which serve as constraints in our societies. In paragraph two to five, the writer links gender based violence to:
- Men oppressing women throughout history
- Cultural practices and customs
- Women’s lack of independence and knowledge of the laws that protect them as “they have no place to run and are not strong enough” (Al Mosaed 2004)
*Argument Two: In paragraph six, Al Mosaed argues that violence against women takes different forms including physical, sexual, emotional abuse and may reach to murder by male partners. Al Mosaed supports her argument by referring to the statistics published by the United Nations. According to the UN, 20% of the women in the study have been abused by males. According to some report in Canada, an average of 75 women is killed each year by their husbands, and 51% of the women have experienced abuse by their partners.
Paragraphs 7, 8, and 9 serve support for the argument. The section highlights how much violence women is subjected to. And focuses on the different forms of violence, but comes up with the conclusion that battering is the most common form of violence.
*Argument Three: The writer argues that the forms of violence reflect cultural differences as well as patterns of power that men have over women. While paragraphs 11, 12 m and 13 serve as support for the writer’s argument, the writer includes data collected from various countries such as Latin America, China, Bangladesh, and Britain and so on.
The writer brings up the matter of male honor and female chastity in paragraphs 14 to 16 in order to support her argument. Al Mosaed refers to Cairo Conference on Violence against Women which states that 79% of the honor killing in Egypt is based on doubts of her behavior. The study conducted in 2003 showed that 41% of honor killing was committed against the wife, 34% against the daughter, 18% against the sister, and 7% against a female relative. The writer also relates to the issue of female genital mutilation and supports her argument by studies performed in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Al Mosaed refers to Sen, Quattara, and Thompson for support.
*Counter Arguments: Al Mosaed refers to the past attitude that violence was considered a private issue between husband and wife, and that interference hasn’t recommended unless violence becomes serious (Al Mosaed 2004). Hague and Malos concluded that men give different justifications for violence. It was also believed that physical punishment is acceptable as long as it doesn’t take a repetitive nature or leads to serious injuries to the wife and child.
Yet, 1998 studies show a growing attitude towards violence. As public awareness against violence grows, studies and statistics show less tolerance towards abusive husbands. In 2003, Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust noted that 1/5 men and 1/10 women (ages between 13& 19) believe violence to be acceptable.
Analysis Based on Additional Text: Violence against Women: harmful traditional and cultural practices in the Asian and Pacific region Authors:
The conclusions the researchers came up with after the study are:
1-violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women
2-Culture is used to justify violence against women; harmful customs include sex-linked abortion, honor killing, virginity testing and others.
3-Women’s lack of independence makes them easy targets of violence. Empowerment of women, increasing the educational levels in the society, and legal measures
4- Generally, violence is gender based, and women are the victims.
5- The social constraints make the topic a taboo in some cultures which makes it hard to collect data
6- Forms of violence against women include: Marital rape, genital mutilation, early forced marriage, honor killing among other forms.
As a wrap up, through Al Mosaed Al Mosaed’s text (2004) we have seen that violence against women is a universal issue that knows no cultural or ethnic barrier. We have also concluded that violence takes various forms which result in an array of ripples on women’s health, how they view themselves as well as their emotional balance and sense of worth. There is no doubt that women’s subjugate status in society as well as their lack of independence has resulted in male dominance as well as the wide-spread act of gender based violence. And since the situation is getting out of control in some countries due to the constraints set by cultural beliefs, we conclude that there is a growing need for the empowerment of women. And as women earn their independence through education, self-support, and more awareness, we give them the power to break free of men’s dominant role and settle equality between both genders. Indeed gender based violence is a global disease that cripples our society yet, both men and women can help end the everlasting chain of victimization as they embrace their active roles in society and help raise awareness against this global issue.
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