Sexual violence is considered to be one of the pervasive global problems that are associated with societal beliefs. Women are always disproportionately exposed to sexual assaults and sexual harassment among all genders. Feminist perspective is one of the sociological theories that can help decode the problem. John (2021), notes that feminism attempts to decode the nature of gender inequality in the social context and examines women’s social experiences, roles, and experiences. Regarding sexual violence data provided in the phenomenon, feminists would share several underlying themes. This paper seeks to apply a feminist perspective to decode the phenomenon.
From the phenomenon, feminists’ activism and thoughts have challenged the misconception that sexual violence is declining, demonstrating that it is still a common phenomenon amongst females-both girls and women. From the excerpt, awareness emerged in feminist consciousness and speakouts for women to share their experiences of sexual violence and other forms of sexual abuse. In addition, the data provided in the excerpt demonstrates that females are less likely to report having been sexually abused or harassed. Indeed, there are still many women who still face instances of rape. In addition, the data provided in the phenomenon shows that the majority of the perpetrators are men who are known to the victims, such as friends, bosses, relatives, mates, coworkers, and husbands, among others. However, the perpetrators are held responsible for their acts on very rare occasions.
First, feminists would attribute this problem to the traditional societal view of gender. The traditional view of the feminine gender is that they are property of men. They also view women’s value to be associated with their sexual purity. In this context, feminists view sexual violence as a property crime against a woman’s lover or father (Grosser & Tyler, 2021). For instance, if a girl was raped, she was considered to be less valuable, and she was fined, or the husband would be compensated. This means that traditionally when a woman or a girl was sexually abused or harassed, it was assumed that no crime was committed since girls and women were treated as women’s property. Feminists view these entrenched cultural and historical malpractices as the root cause of sexual violence. Therefore, they would redefine “sexual violence” as a crime against women as nothing short of revolutionary.
Secondly, radical feminists would attribute the sexual violence phenomenon to three features. First, they regard sexual violence as a central defining element of control over reproductive and sexual use of the feminine gender’s bodies. They argue that men are the leading perpetrators because they want to define their position in the patriarchy. Consequently, they consider sexual harassment, assaults, and other forms of abuse to be some of the ways through which men can keep up with this mindset as they work to reinforce women’s oppression. Secondly, they would expand the definition of sexual violence to include verbal output and those that happen in the virtual space. They argue that it is not necessary for violence or assault (Pedersen, 2020). They recognize different patterns in how broad male power and dominance systematically evolves to compromise women’s sexual and bodily freedom. They also recognize how the society has been shaped for female submission to the male gender, and challenging this can be a tall order. Thirdly, the incidences of group sexual violence have also led feminists to examine and decode the role of sexual violence. In response, they argue that it is meant for multiple systems of racism and domination.
Lastly, feminists would first emphasize breaking the silence and creating awareness. It is very unfortunate that very many sexual violence and abuse cases always remain unreported. According to a study conducted by Christensen et al., (2021), on rape cases, it was found that only about 15-35% of women report cases of sexual abuse. These reports are likely done only when the assaults are on the extreme such as rape. Feminists, in the instance of rape, recognize its pervasiveness and severity and how in most cases, victims have always received injustice. They argue that this is why people do not find it necessary to report such cases (Beres, 2020). They argue for that case that for the feminine gender to find justice, people should press for changes in prosecution processes and law. They also argue that governments have not created adequate awareness for the feminine gender. For this reason, they do not even know how sexual violence is defined in law and other related laws that govern them. Even those who understand related laws lack knowledge on how to report. For this reason, they argue that governments should take a proactive approach to create awareness. There can create centers to report such issues and even have hotline numbers to help victims.
Beres, M. (2020). Perspectives of rape-prevention educators on the role of consent in sexual violence prevention. Sex Education, 20(2), 227-238.
Christensen, M. C., Caswell, C., & Hernández, M. F. (2021). Contextualizing barriers to help-seeking after sexual violence: a critical feminist study with Latinx college women. Affilia, 36(1), 97-112.
Grosser, K., & Tyler, M. (2021). Sexual harassment, sexual violence and CSR: Radical feminist theory and a human rights perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-16.
John, M. E. (2021). Feminism, sexual violence, and the times of# MeToo in India. In Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia (pp. 335-350). Routledge.
Pedersen, L. (2020). Moving bodies as moving targets: A feminist perspective on sexual violence in transit. Open Philosophy, 3(1), 369-388.