Gender Violence

The high rate of violence in North America shocks many foreigners and frightens many more Americans.   We are fearful of car-jackings and home burglaries, so we lock our car doors while we drive and our homes when we leave.  We fear for our well-being and safety, our kids will be raped or kidnapped, so we rearrange our schedules to escort our children to school , to extra-curricular activities, and to parks. 

Lurking behind these fears is the gender inequality of violence – the fact that females are much more likely to become victims of males.   

Violence Against Women

Forcible Rape: According to FBI statistics, each year nearly 7 of every 10,000 females ages 12 and older are raped.   From the National Crime Victimization Survey, we know that only one third of rape victims report this crime to police.  A more accurate total then, is three times the official rate, or about 21 victims per 10,000 rather than 7.  Contrary to popular belief, most victims know their attackers.  Only two out of five rapes (38 percent) are committed by strangers.   (Statistical Abstract 2005:Tables 306,307)
Just as astonishing, the aspect of rape we often overlook is the rape of men in prison.  These data suggest that upwards of 15 to 20 percent of men are raped in prison.  From court cases, we know that some guards even punish prisoners by placing them in cells with sexual predators (Donaldson 1993; Lewin 2001b) 

Date (Acquaintance) Rape:  Studies show that date rape does not consist of a few isolated events (Collymore 2000; Goode 2001)  Some researchers report that most women students experience unwanted, forced or coerced sex (Kalof 2000), other report much smaller numbers.   Researchers surveyed a private school in Ohio, Marietta College, and found that 2.5 percent of the women had been physically forced to have sex (Felton et al. 2001).  About as many men (23 percent) as women (24 percent) had given into pressure to have sex when they didn't want to however none of  the men were physically forced to have sex. 
Most date rapes go unreported because they victim feels responsible but an excellent quote from Dr. Carpenito, "Would you feel responsible if someone hit you over the head with a shovel - just because you knew the person?" (Carpenito 1999) 

Murder:   Men are more likely to be murderers than women.   While women make up 51 percent of the U.S. Population, they don't come close to the 51 percent of the nation's killers.  Women are more likely, 9 times out of 10 to be murdered by a man. 

Violence in the home:   Women are also victims of family violence.  Spousal abuse through battery, marital rape, and incest are the basic elements found in violence in the home .  

Solutions:  "There is no magic bullet for this problem of gendered violence, but to be effective, any solution must break the connection between violence and masculinity.  This would require en educational program that encompasses schools, churches, homes, and the media.  Given the gun-slinging heroes of the Wild West and other American icons, as well as the violent messages that re so prevalent in the mass media, it is difficult to be optimistic that a change will come any time soon." 
Except taken from Sociology, A down To Earth Approach, Core Concepts, 2007