Saturday 3 December 2016

Wake up to the cold, hard facts of rising worldwide misogyny

Men, start questioning your gender privileges rather than defending or deflecting them

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

Men have dominated and controlled women for centuries. Picture posed. Thinkstock
Men have dominated and controlled women for centuries. Picture posed. Thinkstock

It's been another one of those, "Yes, but what about... ?" weeks. They are depressingly predictable. Anytime the established status quo feels threatened by news of overt discrimination against a disenfranchised group, the "yes, but what about" begins. As in, "Yes, but what about us? We're suffering too you know." And before you know it, the people who are being discriminated against find themselves apologising for drawing attention to this fact.

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Last week an EU survey (by the Agency for Fundamental Rights) found that a quarter of Irish women have been victims of physical violence, a third have been victims of psychological violence, and that nearly half of those who had experienced sexual violence from a non-partner refused to report the crime. (This is an appalling indictment of our society as well as our justice system.) Across the so-called civilised continent of Europe, the study reveals that one in 20 women has suffered rape and a third have been victims of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.

The director of the Rape Crisis Network, Fiona Neary, said, "This survey confirms that sexual violence against women and girls is pervasive and pandemic across Europe." She may well have added, "and in the rest of the world too". Last summer globally linked papers and reports, including one from the WHO, revealed that violence against women worldwide was at epidemic proportions. The rise in religious fundamentalism hasn't helped, but secular Europe is also tolerating horrific levels of violence against women.

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