Thursday, September 9, 2010

Turkey Fights Domestic Abuse

Here's an interesting article about one city in Turkey's initiative to empower women.

Basically, this city has come up with a program in which men's salaries are halved and given directly to their wives if they engage in domestic violence. This gives women more economic power, as well as possible means to escape an abusive marriage. If a man abuses again, he could get fired.

The city has also started a program that gives bonuses to employees who send their daughters to college.

Many studies have shown that empowering women in developing nations has improved quality of life for men and women, reduced terrorism, and reduced crime. Half the Sky gives some really good accounts to what the power of education and autonomy really mean for women worldwide. And domestic abuse is a problem for all cultures, countries, and economic classes. (Find out more at Stop Violence Against Women) I'm interested to see how this program in Turkey is going to work out. This is certainly something that I think will help, but violence against women is a deeper social problem that needs to be addressed at a more fundamental level. When women's lives are devalued through domestic abuse, it points to societal issues concerning the treatment of women.

Ecuador has launched a campaign against el machismo, a huge problem here. For this, they have released several very well-made videos, as well as put up some disturbing statistics on billboards. For example, "21% of boys and girls in Ecuador have been sexually abused." Or, "8 out of 10 women have suffered physical, psychological, or sexual abuse." I mean, these are some serious statistics. While I only know a little about the Reacciona Ecuador campaign, it seems like it's doing a really good job at calling out the deeply embedded societal problems that are harming women and families. I don't know how effective it has been, but I am glad that it is being addressed.

And, not to put the spotlight on other countries, domestic violence is a huge problem in the United States as well. Here are some facts:

-There are more animal shelters than shelters for battered women.

-A woman is beaten by her husband/partner every 15 seconds.

-Domestic abuse is the leading cause of injuries among women between the ages of 15 and 44.

-One in four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. (How many women do you know?)

-85% of domestic abuse victims are women

-A women is more likely to get a faster response from the police if her attacker is a stranger (as opposed to someone she knows)

-One in ten calls made to the police about domestic violence is made by a child

For more facts, see this link.

Since domestic abuse is such a global problem, here are some helpful links:

V-Day: a Global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Equality Now: an organization committed to ending violence against women and girls worldwide.

Domestic a website of resources about domestic abuse

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