Violence against women happens because women are habitually in a weaker position. Often this is a weaker position in terms of physical strength, but it can be much more complex than that. Weakness is defined by many things other than physical strength.
Women as second-class citizens
Women have always been second-class citizens, even before there were cities. It is a tradition which is long entrenched. Matriarchal societies are the exception rather than the rule. Getting the vote, being able to sign a lease or own a credit card, or get contraception were not things that women could do autonomously.
If this seems outrageous, and hopefully it does, even in the USA today there are still women who believe what goes on in their own body is not up to them. In 2018, there is still discussion about whether or not the word obey should be included in marriage vows. And even at the most watched wedding of the year, one of the most discussed aspects was who would walk the bride down the aisle.
That might not seem a problem, but it is not that long since brides were walked down the aisle by their father who was actually ‘giving them away’. We might call it something more politically correct, but we are talking about the same thing.
Equality does not come from physical strength
Women who are victims of domestic violence are often asked why they stayed. The answer is always complex, there can be literally hundreds of reasons. But one of the big ones is they had no option but to stay as there was no economic way out.
A woman earning 75 cents on the dollar in a blue-collar job is going to find feeding, housing and clothing herself and some children very difficult to do on three-quarters of a single salary. If you physically cannot get away what else are you supposed to do other than stay, or perhaps kill him?
For the record, this is not condoning murder or manslaughter, but it does beg the question why prolonged domestic violence cannot be used as a defense for real mitigation as opposed to lip-service.
#Me too and Times Up
There has been a marked and recent change in women’s own perceptions of what being equal means. The #MeToo movement has proven just how widespread violence in whatever sense is. The Times Up campaign is remarkable on two fronts; firstly because of the idea that women are not going to take it, and secondly because of the way in which it is expressed. Time’s Up has a strong flavor. It is a worthy successor to the Suffragettes who demanded the vote and didn’t ask “may we vote, please?”.
History shows us
Even in Saudi Arabia women can now vote. The world does change. That it has taken millennia for it to do so should cause the perpetrators of inequality violence against women to hang their heads in shame. But take note, women are not buying this nonsense anymore.