The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

Dear all,

In Coeducación (Education for Equality) we have been visited by a group of men (contra la violencia doméstica) who have posed questions which were ill-founded, placing feminists in positions they do not have. You can read that discussion on our Like Page on Facebook (check out the group’s side post, with an external link) and also in comments to some of the latest posts we have on our blog Desarrollando inteligencia feminista.

I’ve tried to write something to see if this could help people control our culturally-learned antifeminism, to make some progress in the question of how we understand we are addressing violence in the cases where this understanding requires some development of a feminist intelligence. I welcome any kind of comments, provided they don’t intend to hurt me personally or defame adorable people who could be wrong, but then they would just need to know why! 🙂 ❤ I can also adapt this text to collaborative writing, so feel free to analyze, too, if you like!

Human Rights and the Overcoming of the Patriarchal Sex-Gender System

The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

What we now call “gender violence” or “gender-based violence” is one of ways in which humans inflict violence. Violence among humans is justified and persecuted in different ways. With the feminist notion of “gender violence” we have come to understand that there is a kind of violence in patriarchal societies that women’s promotion to the status of human being has made us think is unacceptable: the violence men have been encouraged and justified to use against women to make them serve them,, obey them, or simply to use their bodies as objects.

Although Spanish laws are groundbreaking for there is a law addressing the social problem of gender violence, the feminist notion has been distorted to only include the cases in the sphere of domestic violence and personal relationships. The result of this is people’s general confusion about terms and concepts, and considering we have all been brought up in century-old patriarchal societies, the verbal lynching of people with a developed feminist intelligence, who try to clarify the situation. Feminists are mainly told, in rather violent ways, that women also kill and murder.

Because this is just a pedagogical text trying to clarify some of the key concepts, I will not discuss when killing or murdering people is justified or not. I will focus now in clarifying the following:

Gender violence is the violence patriarchal societies have told Man he can inflict upon women, as the master and leader of the group. In other words, gender violence is learned and relates to who has a say in human affairs, who leads their organization, and determines things that affect the group.

Domestic violence includes all the kinds of violence happening in the home, in the place where people who love each other are meant to share. This means domestic violence relates to gender violence (most cases are actually gender violence), but also the violence inflicted by a woman towards a man or a child, by a child or teenager towards an adult or elderly, and viceversa…

Violence against a person by another person who is not allowed to use violence (a citizen, for example) has always been punished by law. So the contention that gender violence should include the violence of women towards men is simply an antifeminist stance full of irrationality and hostility. If women kill, they go to court and if guilty, are sentenced for murder.

The fact we need laws addressing specific kinds of violence results from identified social problems: our society today perceives that gender violence, the violence of men towards women (at least in the domestic setting), is unacceptable AND a social problem. Our society today also finds we need specific laws to address other problems from violence: racist motivated violence, violence against children and teenagers.

But the existence of these more specific laws is not unfair to other groups, because violence by anyone [by people not allowed to use it in the scenarios our society allows (mostly by men, for women in the military are not allowed to work in “combat positions”)] is punished in our law system: we punish people killing other people, regardless their sex, gender, ideology, age, cultural identity… The fact that we need to reinforce these laws with others addressing certain kinds of motives or situations cannot possibly be considered unfair towards any human group, certainly not the group Man in patriarchy, who does not get almost any physical violence from women (the question that women are human and therefore capable of using all kinds of violence too, particularly if allowed, like Man in patriarchy, cannot be addressed here. Simply say that how women have developed the ability to inflict violence through words and attitudes is relevant information for an analysis of human and patriarchal violence). It is a questioning of the patriarchal gender system, and that is initially we reject it, but this challenge is consistent with us having finally understood the idea of Human Rights in the 20th century, this is, for a POSITIVE REASON — we’re trying now to help our society make progress towards a kind of social organization that respects everybody’s human rights, and this means abandoning the patriarchal sex-gender system which established a superiority and an inferiority in terms of two perceived genders and which ignored the diversity in human identities.

Just as a note to help people control antifeminist reactions in favo(u)r and to encourage the use of rationality and empathy: overcoming the patriarchal sex-gender system does not mean abolishing human identities. A man can feel he is a man beyond what patriarchy defines as a man. The same applies to women. Today we know not everybody has or feels their sex or gender identity as what patriarchy defines as being a man or being a woman. We are all kinds of things: men in different ways, women in different ways, humans in all kinds of ways, and we should stop feeling we can force people to BE the kind of identity we understand or have. Everybody deserves respect, unless their identity is built in torturing or murdering other people. Then we need to intervene, but not for reasons of making a certain identity compulsory, but for reasons of not allowing violence.

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