Sexism and Gender-Based Crimes: With a Special Focus on Women's Struggles

Today’s day and age have many celebratory elements to it. It consists of humankind’s massive contributions to the world and the universe we live in to learn more about it, as well as to preserve and cherish it. However, these constant positive and uplifting developments do not cover-up the inhumane, unethical, unjust, and unscrupulous acts we, unfortunately, do to each other and to the world. This month, among many of the unpleasant realities of the world such as racism, homophobia, and overall bigotry; we will be discussing sexism in correlation with gender-based crimes, with a special focus on women’s’ struggles.

Sexism, contrary to popular ignorant view, of course, does not exist only towards women. Men face sexism as well. However, about 81% of women all around the world face gender-discrimination in their daily lives while only 45% of men face the same. Gender-discrimination towards women is solely and single-handedly a violation of human rights and thankfully with how our brains have improved until today, most people in the world with common sense agree with this statement. Even so, gender-discrimination constantly re-establishes itself by getting ‘justified’ by the public under concepts of tradition, ‘morals’, gender-roles, and even ‘dark humor’. When sexism towards women is practiced under these concepts, people do not even recognize it as a problematic element and ignore the even deathly consequences these may add up to for women.

Let’s talk about these consequences. Women’s’ rights to speak, work, etc. and most importantly to live freely has been put under preservation by the universal declaration of human rights and every country’s national laws accordingly. Although these laws and regulations are agreed on, on paper; they are not practiced enough due to their normalization methods in public culture, especially in under-developed countries, which result in women having to protect themselves from their undeserving mistreatment every day to avoid illegal, unethical and traumatic consequences. From not wearing a skirt to a workplace to avoid the potential disturbing looks and even harassment they might receive because it might be ‘too short’ or ‘too revealing’, to getting murdered by their ex-partners because they did not want to get back together; women have to protect themselves from unjustified and unlawful actions that they might be the victim of while they are not obliged to do so. In conclusion, no matter how women choose to live their life in their legal bubble, they do not ‘deserve’ to be looked at disturbingly and obnoxiously, to be harassed physically or by cyber methods, and they certainly do not ‘deserve’ to be killed.

We come across the tangible outcomes of all this sexism and gender-based hate crimes every day which leads us to think that the issue has blown out of proportion so much, and this thought process unconsciously pushes us to a state of learned helplessness. However, the issue has very basic solution routes which if are executed collectively, can lead to a prosperous, unproblematic, and safe society very quickly. First and foremost is of course the proper implementation and penalizing of such crimes. Although on paper this step seems covered, in reality, many of the loopholes in national and international laws leave an open space for reduced sentences which leads to the potential criminal not being discouraged from committing the crime. When there is no legal basis for the guarantee and protection of women’s’ rights, safety, and freedom, no actions can have an everlasting effect on the issue. Nevertheless, raising awareness and media coverage as a whole can go a long way as well. Non-governmental organizations, especially local ones, provide safety and protection to the women in their community if they are provided with the proper funding and recognition which sometimes can only be gained by excessive amounts of propaganda of the NGOs. Consequently, women’s’ marches, rallies, and protests around the world serve a much bigger purpose than anticipated to ease the struggles that women deal with on a daily basis.

After all, is said and done, the only actual way to overcome this issue is to take the women’s word for it. The importance of personal experience goes unnoticed every time by legal authorities, and this negligence results in conventionally correct but empathetically insufficient precautions that do not last. The essential necessity to tackle discrimination against women is to take the women’s’ word for it; listen to them, help them and educate themselves to empathize with them not only when there is a major headline on the issue, but every second of every day. In the end, preserving the basic human rights for all sexes and genders should be the initial goal for any society to live in prosperity and move on to bigger and better accomplishments.

by Şebnem YAREN

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