- Posted August 22, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
An attack against the dignity of a woman!
In 2007, a school employee was accused in sexually assaulting two female students.
In 2008, a father raped his 16 year old daughter and a 14-year old girl died a day after she was raped and thrown off by her attacker into a precipice 54-feet high.
In 2012, a security guard raped his friend in a resort. After succeeding with his carnal desire, he decided to kill the girl so she could not talk about the crime. He also disclosed that he shoved a tree branch into the mouth of the victim to restrain her from shouting and he likewise smashed a rock into her head several times, poked her eyes with sticks and thrust another branch into her genitalia.
The objective of reporting crime stories is to tell the story and to prove the crime. I always keep in mind that it is my responsibility to respect the dignity and human rights of my subjects whether they are survivors or suspects.
Sometimes, it is very hard to cover news on rape cases. As a human being, I am also affected by the sight of the survivor. I have questions in mind like: “What will happen to her? What effect will it have on her life? How will it affect her future relationships? How will it affect her view of herself?”
More than an objective, the human rights of a person accused of a crime should always be respected. But I still have questions in mind, “Why did he do it? Did he use drugs? Will he be found guilty or not guilty? Will he go to jail? Does he have a future?”
At the end of the coverage, I still have these unresolved questions, “Why sexual harassment and rape committed over and over again? Why women are portrayed as such sex objects most of the time?”
For an instance, a woman was raped in May 2013. After I interviewed her, she said she was okay. Months later, I heard that she committed suicide. Studies conducted by World Health Organization said that violence against women causes horrific physical, psychological and spiritual suffering and too often, it kills.
Most of the accused came from troubled or broken family. Others are using drugs. Most of them didn't realize that violence against women damages families, communities, and ultimately all of us.
The attack against the dignity of women comes in thousand and one guises. There are many sexual harassment incidents go unreported and the attack is persistent and relentless.
To know more about different forms of violence and abuse of women, Restoring Dignity (http://restoringdignity.religionsforpeaceinternational.org/), a global initiative engaged by Religions for Peace, listed the different forms of violence against women. “These forms of violence are all quite different, as are the circumstances that give rise to them. Each of these practices and all other forms of violence against women, are horrific-as well as criminal-and must be condemned.”
RAPE is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse. Rape knows no borders as it affects females in every country in the world. Rape has even been perpetrated on girls as young as 2, and against women as old as 90. In contexts of war and conflict, rape is prevalent, sometimes using guns and other objects in brutal force.
SEXUAL ASSAULT is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. Sexual assault takes many forms and is pervasive, occurring at work, in the home or within the community and should never be treated as anything less than a serious offense. Perpetrators may be family members or trusted members of the community, but this does not change the severity or danger of their actions.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE refers to physical and sexual attacks in the home within a family or an intimate relationship. It includes intimate partner violence, marital rape, assault and battery, and sexual abuse of children in the household. Worldwide, 40–70 percent of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.
DOWRY MURDER is a practice in which a bride’s husband and/or in-laws kill her because her parents are unable to deliver the full amount or meet an increased demand of her dowry. It has also been reported that dowry demands have played and continue to play an important role in women being burned to death.
EARLY MARRIAGE involves the forced marriage of a young girl, who is then extremely vulnerable to sexual violence. Early marriage refers to a forced marriage of a girl under the age of eighteen; girls as young as six or seven have been victims. Early or forced marriage jeopardizes a girl’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
FEMICIDE indicates the systematic killing of women and girls. This extreme act culminates in murder but may include torture, mutilation, cruelty and sexual violence. Femicide is most notorious in several Latin and Central American countries, though it occurs in other regions as well. Sex-selective abortions are another form of femicide, more prevalent in Asia, particularly in countries that do not value female children or when there is a limit on births per family.
FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING refers to practices that are often deeply rooted in traditional understandings of purity and chastity. In the context of rituals or rites of passage, cutting operations, which can cause irreparable pain and health problems, affect nearly 2 million women and girls each year. Between 100 and 140 million women and girls in the world are estimated to have undergone female genital cutting. Religious leaders must defend the right for all women to live healthy and peaceful lives by condemning this cruel act, which is often based on misused religious principles and misunderstandings
HONOR KILLING refers to the murder of women due to their perceived disgrace to the family’s or community’s “honor” for things such as accused premarital sex, accused adultery, inappropriate behavior such as leaving the house without a male relative, and even rape. Preservation of honor is usually veiled in religious language, a dangerous manipulation of religion to justify an inexcusable practice. Women have been publicly stoned to death, burned alive and attacked with acid for such accused disgraces.