Patriarchy and Violence Against Women: Abrogations of Trust, Hope and Human Flourishing
Burns, James S.
Carse, Alisa L
Violence against women has a long history built on patriarchal social constructs routinized over time through outright misogyny and tacit societal acceptance. Women have been derided continuously in western history by Greek philosophers, Christian theologians, during the Middle Age (asceticism) and the Restoration (reason replacing illusions), by 19th and 20th century artists and literary authors, signers of the U.S. Constitution, anti-suffragettes, modern religious denominations and, even in the 21st century, excluded from opportunities in medicine, business, government, academia, religion, science, entertainment, politics and most other careers.Violence against women continues at unconscionable levels despite legal sanctions. More than 23 million women have been raped in their lifetime and a woman is assaulted or battered every 9 seconds in the United States. Over 70 percent of sexual assaults against women and 90 percent of sexual assaults against juveniles are committed by non-strangers. Women are ongoing victims regardless of ethnicity, religion, geography, income, and education. Attitudes of privilege, presumptions of superiority, boyhood miseducation, homosocial enactments to power and control, male peer support, and tacit societal acceptance all contribute to continuing oppression and violence against women. Contemporary male social constructs reinforce patriarchy, misogyny, and even more virulent acts of violence against women.Violent acts against women are crimes of control and intimidation committed primarily by men known to women -- the very men who women should be able to trust for their physical safety, moral support, and respectful interactions. Intimate relationships, in particular, engender the highest level of trust and should be the most dynamic, interactive, supportive, and life-reaffirming. Our closest relationships are those where we perceive the minimum likelihood of vulnerability to betrayal and have the highest expectations for trust, hopeful futures, and reciprocity. Hope speaks to future possibilities, the elements of life that give us purpose and points the way to future possibilities. When hope is diminished or betrayed, it is difficult to imagine a future outcome.Patriarchal views, narratives and actions are so thoroughly embedded in our society that traditional approaches to justice and increasing awareness of women’s oppression have not reduced the pattern or prevalence of physical, sexual, and psychological violence against women. Significant change in patriarchal attitudes and violence against women will occur only when there is a fundamental shift from society’s existing male-centric duty, fairness, and justice model to include a more integrated fairness-social-care model. A more relational form of social justice is needed to redefine women’s self-identity, views of others toward them, and obtain greater influence over decisions affecting their lives.Linking social justice and an ethics of care is needed to bring women’s voices more fully into men’s traditional views of justice and duty. An ethics of care with its focus on responsibility and relationships is a relational moral construct that builds upon trust and mutual caring. Combining care and social justice has the potential to create a moral paradigm shift incorporating women’s socially-connected and caring orientation with virtues such as self-respect, sincerity, generosity, and trustworthiness. The result would hopefully be a meaningful shift toward a more humanist society.
Embargo Lift Date
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Gender, Violence and Health Care: Implications for Research, Policy and Practice Review of Masculinities, Violence and Culture, by S.E. Hatty; Women, Violence and Male Power, Edited by M. Hester, L. Kelly, and J. Radford; Women, Violence And Strategies for Action. Feminist Research, Policy and Practice, Edited by J. Radford, M. Friedberg, and L. Harne; Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, Edited by D.M.Renzetti, J.L. Edleson, and R. Kennedy Bergen; Domestic Violence and Health Care. What Every Professional Needs to Know, by S.L. Schornstein; Domestic Violence. Women's Way Out, by M. Shrader and M. Sagot McKie, Linda (2003-01)