1Jun

Discrimination and sexual assaults on women and gender equality

Source of original image: duncan c

The year of 2016 has been marked by many events so far: the attacks in Brussels, in Ankara and in Lahore, the talks on EU migration deals and quota system for member countries, the issue of Brexit, and many more. However, this year began with the mass sexual assaults on women in Germany and Finland. Those attacks have been followed by reports of more attacks on women. The issue of discrimination and violence against women is not new and they are works in progress to be eliminated. Herewith I put some cases of discrimination and violence against women which have occurred this year.

The year of 2016 has been marked by many events so far: the attacks in Brussels, in Ankara and in Lahore, the talks on EU migration deals and quota system for member countries, the issue of Brexit, and many more. However, this year began with the mass sexual assaults on women in Germany and Finland. Those attacks have been followed by reports of more attacks on women. The issue of discrimination and violence against women is not new and they are works in progress to be eliminated. Herewith I put some cases of discrimination and violence against women which have occurred this year.

In Cologne, Germany, there were 945 complaints reported by women who went to the city to celebrate the New Year’s Eve event, including 434 complaints for sex crimes. Most of the victims reported that their assaulters were about 500 to 1000 men of Arab and North African origin, who were described as being drunk and aggressive. A few victims reported that they had been raped by the group of drunk men, while others had sustained only bruises from the attacks. Similar attacks also happened in other German cities, such as Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf.

A Belgian reporter was sexually assaulted in Cologne when she was reporting the celebration live on camera. The three German men who assaulted her, were believed to be under the influence. They assaulted her by groping and trying to kiss her as she did the live broadcast.

In Helsinki, Finland, three Iraqi-asylum seekers were arrested for committing sexual assaults during the New Year’s Eve celebration. Many women made complaints that they were sexually assaulted by asylum seekers who were under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Two cases of young girls being gang raped occurred in Brazil and Indonesia. In Brazil, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by more than 30 men in the end of May. As she spoke out about the incident, many people showed their support for her through demonstrations asking the police to catch the attackers. They also showed support online by adding a Venus female gender symbol on their picture on Facebook. In Indonesia, however, a 14-year-old victim did not survive the attack. She was gang raped and then murdered early in May by 14 drunk men, 7 of whom were minors.

The University of Queensland Australia had a feminist week event at their campus. During the event, some students held a Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale, alongside the main events of seminars and panel discussions. The aim of the bake sale was to inform students about the different wage gap between men and women by selling cupcakes with different prices to the customers based on their gender and race. The bake sale was not a new idea, as it was done before in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, despite the success the organisers had during the program, some people raged over the internet and attacked the organisers’ official page on Facebook, their email accounts, their personal Facebook accounts and, in one case, via voicemail, with misogynistic comments and threats of death and rape.

The cases which I have put in this article have shown how the discrimination and violence against women still persist within the society. Despite the important aim of gender equality is to empower women and not demeaning men, many people perceive the movement as threatening towards men. I would argue that it is a problem of the concept of power based on gender norms. The activists of gender equality are trying to eliminate discrimination and violence against women by empowering them and changing society’s perspective on the differences between gender norms and sexual identity. However, with the cases of discrimination and violence against women that have occurred so far this year, gender equality activists and supporters are still facing many obstacles to reach their goals. The goals of the movement, in my own words, are not just eliminating discrimination and violence against women but raising the sense of respect and understanding towards others in spite of their sexual identities.

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