Women are among the most vulnerable groups in any society. The societal perception of women as a weaker sex, cultural beliefs, poverty, sexism as well as racism is among the factors which facilitate violence against women. The major forms of violence against women include rape and women battering.
Rape is one of the most common forms of violence against women. The nature of this crime has proved challenging for the criminal justice system. Despite the reforms in the justice system that has been made throughout the United States to deal with this crime, no notable change has been experienced. Rape is encircled by antiquated myths and typical discriminatory legal requirements which limit the handling of rape cases. The nature of rape as a crime faces serious challenges including the fact that, victims of rape are not ready to report the crime in the first place. Due to the trauma and the social stigma that comes with rape, victims are not usually ready to come forward to seek justice. Even if they do so, it may be too late as they may have interfered with evidence that is required to pursue a legal process.
In addition, women also lack information regarding what entails rape. For instance, most women do not consider marital rape as a crime. Men also do not perceive it as a crime and presume that, since they are married or cohabiting with a woman, it is their right to have sex. Consequently, many women end up being victims of marital rape, and suffer in silence. Ultimately, despite the justice system having a mechanism to deal with rape cases, the society and the legal actors are more concerned with the credibility of the victim than on persecuting the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
Addressing the challenges in dealing with rape cases should be holistic. There is need for serious reforms in legislature to define rape including marital rape and cohabiters. In addition, legislations requiring anonymity of victims including their names and residence must be put in place. Programs to compensate victims of rape including for their lost time in recovery, medication or missed work days need to be established. The law also needs to treat offenders in a serious manner and stop focusing on the victim, as this deters the objective of the law. Educating the society about the crime of rape will help change the societal perception on women as sexual objects. The media and other social organizations need to work together to address rape.
Woman battering just like rape is a common crime against women. In a similar way the crime of women battering result from social, economic and political aspects that make men dominant over women. Women persevere battering when in poverty and they cannot sustain themselves or their children. In addition, the society perceives women as submissive and hence battering is a cultural thing. The justice system also has loopholes in addressing battering and need to address the issue in a holistic manner. Education of the public, reform of legislations, and support for victims of violence, and general awareness can help in dealing with violence against women.
Ultimately, violence against women pushes them into crime. A majority of women who are imprisoned are victims of sexual violence or battering. As women try to defend themselves or deal with the situation, which the criminal justice fails to do, they find themselves in compromising situations like drug abuse, petty theft, and prostitution and even murder of perpetrators which sends them to jail. Addressing the issue of violence against women from an economic, legal, social and cultural perspective is the only way.