Violence perpetrated primarily against women is referred to as gender-based violence, also known as violence against women. The majority of international agreements state that gender-based violence is a manifestation of unequal power relations between men and women. Robertson (2016) observed that discrimination against Asian-American women and girls results from violations of their rights, which causes pain for the women and girls who experience them. Physical, sexual, economic, and psychic anguish all exist. Communities in America contend that gender-based violence is a cruel conduct in which men are forced to submit to women. Violence against Asian-American women and girls can be categorized into various forms depending on whether violence gets carried out at an individual or the state level. These forms include domestic violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, and rape. Also of interest is the traditional violence forms namely female mutilation, dowry violence, forced marriages, abortion, and prostitution (Robertson, 2016). The paper precisely studies these gender violence forms while aiming at exemplifying violence against Asian-American women and girls. It will also discuss the adverse effects of gender-based violence among the Asian-American women.
In most Asian countries like India, women, and girls often get sexually assaulted resulting in increased rape cases. In most cases, the sexual assault involves people better known to the women and girls. This form of violence usually traumatizes women who suffer psychological harm, physical injuries, and health issues since they can acquire sexually transmitted diseases and experience stress and depression due to post-traumatic disorder. The notion of forced sex brings about health problems in the Asian-Americans as Tolman et al. (2016) cites. Women who have experienced such sex before narrating its association with poor mental health, substance use, HIV risk behaviors as well as high rates of depression.
Women are also subjects of intimate partner violence which strongly victimizes them. In such cases, they are prone to murder by their private partners in comparison to men. The Asian-American women can also involve themselves in lesbian relationships apart from the heterosexual one when they get poorly treated by their male partners. Robertson (2016) argues that the former consists of the relationship between two women which demonstrates an effect and possible consequence of violence against Asian-American women and girls. Deliberately, intimate partner violence is also associated with reduced physical health, increased sexual health concerns, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression among Asian-American women and girls (Yoshihama and Tolman, 2015). More so, intimate partner violence gets practiced in the form of stalking where the husband is obsessed with the wife to the extent of harassing or intimidating her.
Additionally, dowry violence is another form of gender-based violence against Asian-American women and girls. In this kind of abuse, husbands might kill their wives on the grounds of dowry dissatisfaction. Women and girls, specifically in Asian-American societies find such discontent over dowry disputes hard to condone and as a solution might choose to end their lives by committing suicides (Ung, 2016). Alternatively, they live in discomfort and fear of the unknown as they await the male gender to define their destiny.
Violence against Asian-American girls is also depicted in terms of forced marriages that girls are dictated to conform to by their parents and relatives. Yoshihama and Tolman (2015) postulate that marrying young girls against their will, especially among Asian-American communities, is a form of torture and pain that burdens the victims thereby resulting in psychological stress. Forced marriages occur as a result of cultural dictates or disputes between various families where it gets resolved by exchanging women from the two sides more so young girls. Asian-Americans also features the bride kidnapping custom where a girl or a woman gets abducted by the groom to be with the help of friends. The groom sometimes goes ahead to rape the girl after which he negotiates with the elders for a bride price aimed at legitimizing the illicit and forced union (Robertson, 2016).
Sexual harassment is another form of gender-based violence predominantly among the Asian-American communities. The kind involves an unwelcome and abusive sexual behavior mostly involving intimidation of sexual nature or sexual favors. Sexual harassment is primarily depicted in reliable person against the subordinates verbally or physically as Hahm et al. (2017) argue. In Asian-American societies, this form of harassment does not count as a kind of discrimination which violates constitutional rights of women. Women and girls take sexual harassment to be any kind of unsolicited verbal or somatic conduct of a sexual nature which is aimed at violating their dignity consequently bringing about the hostile, humiliating, abusive, degrading and intimidating environment. Sexual girl child abuse can get linked to various psychological conditions which appear as the girl grows to adulthood.
Relatively, gender roles among Asian-American societies place women and girls at a risk of violence and sexually-related diseases. The validation to this is the fact that women are not granted the right to basic knowledge and awareness of what surrounds them as explained by Robertson (2016). The submission demonstrated by women leads to the conclusion that they are not exposed to the outside world to interact and learn more about their duties and the extent of performing them. Due to this ignorance, there is an assumption that gender-based violence is part of their life which is refuted by the feminists.
Furthermore, the Asian-American practices like forced abortion and sterilization are also instances of gender gender-based. Here, women and girls get denied the right to freely decide and be responsible for the number of children they can have and how they should space them. Their rights to access information and education is curtailed hence they get forced to do that which is against their will and conscience. Importantly, the abortion and sterilization methods used are so dehumanizing and risk women’s lives. For instance, improper anesthetic is used during sterilization thereby inflicting pain on the women (Ung, 2016).
Practices like female genital mutilation is also rampant in the Asian-American communities. The practice includes all the procedures that entirely remove the external female genitalia. By definition, the process has no health benefits to both girls and women as it can cause severe bleeding, infertility, infections as well as problems during childbirth thus increased infant mortality rate (Tolman et al, 2016). Considerably, female mutilation is but just a violation of girls and women’s rights. It is the dominant form of discrimination against female gender as it reflects the inequalities between sexes. Female genital mutilation as a traditional practice spreads across the Asian American due to immigration and globalization.
Women in Asian-American communities face domestic violence even from household family members. Such force cannot be estimated among women due to the culture dictates that they should always remain loyal and submissive to all as Tolman et al. (2016) comment. Women are likely to be murdered by men especially in Asian-American society due to couples’ marital disorders. Again, violence in marriage is evident with husbands battering their wives to the extent of death or serious injuries. Women in such marriages are pessimistic and see the world they live as meaningless.
Furthermore, Asian-American being a male chauvinistic society exercises their superiority over the women. Men view women as inferior beings with less power and no say in the community. Their rights get denied and exploited by men who see them as half citizens hence need not enjoy full rights. In case of any woman at a position of voicing her grievances on behalf of other women, the same is subjected to torture and beatings to silence her. The male-dominated Asian community also believes in honor killings where if girls and women are believed to have caused shame or dishonor among the family, they are killed by the male relatives. Ung (2016) expounds that this follows a belief that such shame ruins the family name.
Additionally, men in this society are allowed to be in a relationship against the consent of the family relatives, commit adultery or leave marriage to another one. For women, this gets termed as an abomination, and at such a point, death is inevitable (Tolman et al., 2016; Yoshihama and Tolman, 2015).
Women abuse relates to gender preference during birth in Asian communities. The inclination of a boy to the girl child is evidence of gender inequality apparent in the society. In case a boy is preferred and unfortunately, a girl is born, the child faces rejection and the violence get inflicted on the mother. A boy child is received with joy and celebration all directed to welcoming him to the male-dominated community and are favored in respect to family resource allocation. Ideally, women are subjected to reproductive coercion which refers to deceptive and violent behavior against reproductive rights (Hahm et al., 2017). The acts included for example domination over a partner and relationship results in forced pregnancy. In consideration to this, women get denied the right to legal and healthy abortions leading to psychological trauma to the victim. Regardless of denial of abortion, the woman receives ill-treatment, tortured and humiliated by men.
Gender-based violence is practiced even to the less destitute people case of widows. The Asian-American community believes that a woman cannot live on her own gender-based the husband dies hence advocates for wife inheritance (Ung, 2016). Under the new partner, the widow can get mistreated by the man who wants to control the property of the family against the widow’s will. The widow lives hopeless and desperate life all through her life as happiness is not assured at all.
The traditional practices also go beyond this to include the characteristics of the girl to be married to a man. For instance, it is believed that girls should be fattened before marriage. In other words, obesity is embraced dearly by men hence the would-be wives are forced to feed against their will only to satisfy the men’s desire in marriage. Failure to feed heavily culminates to punishment as such is viewed an offense by the Asian-American community (Yoshihama and Tolman, 2015; Tolman et al., 2016).
To sum up, gender-based violence is evident in many forms in the Asian-American communities. At least one out of every three women in the Asian-American community has been coerced into sex, abused or beaten in her lifetime with the abuser mostly known to her. Males use all the above-discussed forms of violence to ensure that women and girls submit to them by occupying their subordinate position drawn by the male-dominated community as shown by Ung (2016). Taking into account that all the above gender-based violence forms are dehumanizing to women, it is the high time that Asian community finds a solution to the problem in the light of transforming the society for the betterment of all irrespective of gender.
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