Violence Against WomenOctober 28, 2008
A homeowner in West Hollywood, California, has chosen to hang a mannequin dressed to look like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as part of a Halloween display. He was reported as saying,
“It should be seen as art and it should be seen within the month of October. It’s time to be scary and spooky.”
Huh? Since when is a lynching a form of entertainment?
Comments on various blogs I’ve read have thankfully been negative about the display, but unlike many of them I don’t want to make this issue political or compare this situation to a lynched effigy of Sen. Obama. (Not so distant history has proven the reality of that experience.) The fact is most comments didn’t even recognize or acknowledge that the display depicts extreme violence against a woman. They glanced right over that little fact. The homeowner even admits,
“The image of a hanged black man is a lot more intense than the image of a hanged white woman — for our country — in the history of our country.”
Here are just a few stats concerning violence against women in this country from Feminist.com and V-Days’ Anti-Violence Resource Guide:
- 17.6 percent of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6 percent were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32.4 percent were between the ages of 12 and 17.
- 64 percent of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date.
- In the National Violence Against Women Survey, approximately 25 percent of women and 8 percent of men said they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date in their lifetimes. The survey estimates that more than 300,000 intimate partner rapes occur each year against women 18 and older.
- Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Since 1987, this month has been observed to mourn those who have died, to celebrate those that have survived, and to work for ways to end the cycle of violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
And according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, more than 1,200 women are murdered in this country each year by their husbands or boyfriends. Included in this number are pregnant women who are more likely to be murdered than to die of any other causes. NCADV recently released the names of 450 women, children, and men who have lost their lives to domestic violence so far this year. The recent high-profile murders of actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and nephew will be three more names added to this list.
While domestic violence is not only a women’s issue, it is a critical economic and health care issue. Facts about domestic violence, its impact, its prevention, and how to get involved may be found at HelpStartsHereBlog, the U.S Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and through AAUW’s coalition partner, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.