Domestic Violence

I Had to Run Away

From a young age, countless women in the Middle East face threats of domestic abuse and child marriage. In these cultures, it is common that girls are forced to marry older men, to have children at dangerously young ages, to endure beatings, and to give up their education for tradition and moral values.  The Afghan government has tried to stop this to some extent, but domestic abuse still remains a cultural norm while many abusers go unpunished and continue their ways.  This report gives first hand stories from women and girls in Afghanistan, and it shows the violence and discrimination that continues to happen repeatedly.  Human Rights Watch wishes to use these accounts to end the institutionalized abuse of women and girls in Afghanistan.

“The authorities typically bring “running away” charges when family members file a complaint after women or girls have fled from spouses and family, often in the context of domestic abuse or forced marriage. There is no prohibition on men leaving their homes without permission. When men face charges related to “running away” it is due to their having assisted a woman in doing so.”

Domestic violence and abuse has become normalized and it is a rational fear that many women are forced the face daily. It is a physical and psychological battle that belittles a victim’s existence. As many women flee in hopes of safety, Afghanistan uses the scarce resources they have in their criminal justice system to incriminate them, rather than accommodate them with asylum.

Barr, Heather. “I Had to Run Away” Human Rights Watch, New York, NY: Human Rights Watch. 25 June 2016. <>.

What’s Gendered about Gender-Based Violence? An Empirically Grounded Theoretical Exploration from Tanzania

Gender-based violence is ubiquitously used as a synonym for violence against women.  Many research studies have shown that in Africa, there is evidence for both domestic violence as being a form of sexism, and others showing that gender is unrelated to the problem. Hilde Jakobsen argues that neither of these are supported by valid reasoning.  Using feminist theory, she pushes researchers to look past the qualitative studying of “who hits whom” and ask, “What is gendered about this violence?”  The exploration of the theoretical ideas of gender in gender-based violence offer a well-rounded perspective on the issue and help readers to understand just exactly what domestic violence is.

“The normative ideal of a “good beating” emerges from this data as one that

is supported by dominant social norms and cyclically intertwined with “doing gender.””

Gender norms maintain gender hierarchies and cause an increase in violence. An abusive husband is emotionally or physically violent towards his wife frequently because this is the only kind of behavior that he knows; this way the way he was raised. This was the way his father acted toward his mother and this is what he sees in current media. These damaging norms are especially dangerous as domestic violence only continues to increase throughout a relationship. It should be noted that emotional and physical abuse is not exclusive to men.

Jakobsen, Hilde. “What’s Gendered about Gender-Based Violence? An Empirically Grounded Theoretical Exploration from Tanzania” Research Gate: Gender and Society, University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway: Hilde Jakobsen. April 2014. 10 July 2016.


As Acid Attacks Rise Against Women, Laws Help to Deter Such Assaults

Acid throwing is a prevalent form of violence against women in various countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan, and Uganda.  This article highlights the fluctuations in the rate of incidences over a span of 15 years, and gives important details on the cultural/societal influences that contribute to it.  Clothilde le Coz gathers insight from several acid survivor groups throughout the world, one of them being the Acid Survivors Trust International in London.  The executive director, Jaf Shah, explains that acid throwing “is a deliberate attack to maim and disfigure a woman’s appearance. To destroy their identity and render them unattractive.”

Acid throwing often results in a woman’s loss of several human rights, and is perpetuated by those who believe in the inequalities against women. It is an attack on women’s self-worth, economic state, and political participation. There are also cases of these attacks in other parts of the world such as the United States, Canada, and Europe. These acts are not new and women continue to be harmed. The perpetrators of these crimes are men, usually former spouses of the victims. As acid throwing rises further, it is critical that these crimes become further investigated and become successfully prosecuted. This article helps to explain the role that power has to play in domestic abuse.

Le Coz, Clothilde. “As Acid Attacks Rise Against Women, Laws Help to Deter Such Assaults” PassBlue, Ralph Bunche Institute, CUNY Graduate Center:  PassBlue, 29 Feb. 2016. 25 June 2016


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