#Opinion

How Violence Against Girls Became A Thing

If boys will be boys, why can’t girls be girls?

It’s no news to anyone that violence against girls happens on the regular. For many, violence against girls is an almost daily experience which is like a whole nother level of eye roll. Like, still? For real?!

Here’s some hard facts:

  • 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, mostly by someone they know
  • Agak-agak 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday (yes, I’m talking about child marriage).
  • 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited.

 

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You know what’s even worse? These figures are just the official ones – tak kira lagi those that weren’t reported. So actually the reality is much worse! This violence is a global problem that exists across so many countries and cultures. And the fact that this is still the state of things in 2020 is really not cool lah.

During MCO pun we saw an increase in violence against women and girls.

This fear of increased violence as some women and girls are forced to stay indoors 24/7 with their abuser is precisely why we need to UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women. This campaign by UN Women just kicked off as part of 16 days of activism, and hopes to kick violence against women to the curb and I am soooo here for it!

The fact though is that violence against girls should not just be a thing of the past; it really should have never existed. So that got me wondering how we even got here in the first place, to a world where this violence dah biasa sangat?

Sexist attitudes lead to violence against girls:

Berdasarkan pandangan saya, it seems like a lot of this starts from girls and boys being raised and treated differently at home and society (thanks, sexism!). And in a way, I feel like sometimes kitorang biar je these sexist comments. Because they have become so normal, which is so messed up! I mean, all of us have experienced and/or witnessed these kinds of situations while growing up. Here are five unfortunately familiar examples:

When it comes to housework

Girls: “Wash up after yourself and others!”
Boys: “It’s okay, mummy will do it for you uwu”

Why This Sucks:
Girls are often raised to be nurturing – which is not a bad thing! But it becomes a problem when boys aren’t held to the same standards. Letting boys unfairly off the hook again and again sends one message: that boys deserve more than girls. It also gives them signiiiiiificantly more privilege – and this privilege stays with them more or less forever so memang tak aci ah! This ketidak-acian  gives boys more power and this contributes to violence against girls.

When it comes to career

Girls: “Having a career is not as important as having a family!”
Boys: “You can do anything you put your heart to, sweetie J”

Why This Sucks:
A GIRL’S FUTURE IS MORE THAN JUST POPPING BABIES OKAY! But girls are always told to prioritise a family and this often starts from a really young age. This reinforces the idea that girls only have value as homemakers. It’s no wonder why child marriage still happens all over the world, when actually their education and ambition should be treated just as important. Their potential is as limitless as that of boys!

When it comes to dating

Girls: “Don’t get pregnant and bring shame to your family.”
Boys: “Just remember to use a condom.”

Why This Sucks:
You could just be hanging out with a close guy friend, but your parents would freak out about you getting pregnant and bringing dishonor on you, your family, and your cow. Boys on the other hand are sometimes even praised for being “a ladies’ man” and rarely have this concept of shame thrown on them for being sexually active. This kinda thinking paints girls as a liability yang slalu at risk of getting pregnant, which could be a reason so many have been forced into child marriages.

When it comes to marriage

Girls: “It is your duty to serve.”
Boys: “It is your duty to protect.”

Why This Sucks:
Girls have been brought up to believe that a wife’s duty is to others and boys are taught that they need to be protectors. But this just pushes the message that supposedly girls are not capable of saving themselves and need a savior (wira lah konon) because they are weaker. It’s totally untrue and also more than just a little ironic considering boys and men are often the people behind the violence against girls. *sips tea*

 When it comes to safety

Girls: “Be careful when you talk to strange boys/men.”
Boys: <insert cricket noises>

Why This Sucks:
Girls are always told not to get raped but boys are rarely told not to rape and honestly apakah logiknya??? Both boys and girls should be taught not just how to stay safe, but how to not harm others too. ‘Cause as things are right now, if a girl’s safety is affected or she is harmed, it is her who is made to bear the blame. This is where victim blaming makes things really ugly and can cause girls to suffer in silence instead.

The Bottom Line: Stop with the Sexist Attitudes!

Violence against girls is a serious issue, one that is age-old and is begging for a funeral tbh. We need to get rid of it ASAP and a lot of it starts with a change of mindset!

Boys and girls are equal and should be treated as such – so if you see these sexist attitudes popping up at home or at school, talk about it and get people to understand why they are 10/10 not okay.

If you experience or witness any violence against women and girls, please reach out for help! You can dial 15999 for Talian Kasih or send an SMS/WhatsApp message to TINA at 018 988 8058. Keep these numbers handy so you can stay safe and keep others safe too.

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Tati Wira

A 20-something fierce believer of children's rights!
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maya maisarah
maya maisarah
December 7, 2020 6:08 am

i live this so muchh thank you for this!!!!❤️
it hurts to see the double standards in society and it hurts to see that women are being seen as an object

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