No to violence against women| Photo by Donald Trung Quoc Don (Chu Han) via Wikimedia Commons
Most people turn away from bad news, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, it is causing greater levels of sexual abuse and violence against women and children as lock-downs continue. We must ask, so we can know how to act: why is there a growing level of violence, physical and sexual, against women and children among males in today’s world?
The horrific number of sexual assaults, homicides, child sexual abuse, human trafficking of female children, and intimate partner violence has reached epic proportions in recent years. Society is becoming more brutal, not civilized.
The violent murder recently of a young woman, Ashling Murphy, 21, in Tullamore, Ireland, has focused attention on these horrific crimes against women and children in so-called civilized societies.
What is the cause of Ashling’s murder? It is not just one more, and it is one more of hundreds of thousands of femicides. Mexico recorded the murders of 3,723 women in 2020. Amnesty International said at least ten women and children are murdered every day in Mexico. Murders of young women by Islamic family members around the world, in so-called “honor killings,” are growing. El Salvador has the highest rate of murders of women and children in Latin America.
In the Philippines, many children are trafficked and sexually abused online. The rape of children by biological fathers and live-in partners is increasing. One in three girls and one in six boys are victims of rape before 16. It is a possible cause of the predatory behavior of some males. It is likely that sexual violence begets more sexual violence.
The proliferation of child sexual abuse materials and video games showing violence against women and children made possible by the telecommunications corporations and their Internet Service Providers can be driving the abuse. They are a devastating, enabling influence. They refuse to obey the law and install blocking software to prevent human trafficking and sexual violence against children and young women. The story of Petra is typical, but only one in thousands are not rescued and saved.
“The proliferation of child sexual abuse materials and video games showing violence against women and children made possible by the telecommunications corporations and their Internet Service Providers can be driving the abuse. They are a devastating, enabling influence.”
Petra (not her real name) had a difficult childhood that left her sad and depressed. Her mother died when Petra was three years old, and her father married again and had three children. Petra was a lonely abandoned child with no one to care for or love but a sick, aging grandmother. She felt unwanted and unloved, so Petra lived with her maternal grandmother.
Her grandmother encouraged her to study and was clever at school, but her emotional deprivation made her lose hope. Then, Petra was devastated when her only living relative, her grandmother, died. Petra was feeling hopeless. She lived with an uncle but was not welcome. She was another mouth to feed for him.
She was now 14 and went to live with her teenage friends, and they had a negative influence on her. She joined them in indulging in alcohol, smoking, and teenage sexual encounters, and at 15, she lived in with a boyfriend. It was a loveless relationship, and he was using her for his satisfaction. He controlled her and would not allow her to leave him. She experienced sexual and psychological violence and control in that intimate relationship.
Women and children between the ages of 15 years and 49 years reported that they have been in a physically violent relationship with an intimate partner. That is 27 percent of all women worldwide. Intimate partner violence is any abuse that causes psychological harm, sexual aggression and includes physical force and even sexual coercion. It is all about power, domination by the man to control and dominate the woman or child.
“Reporting sexual abuse and saving the victims with protection and therapy with legal action by victims is essential to fight abuse. They need help to file cases and convict the rapists.”
Petra had no way out. She turned to her friends, who encouraged her to strike out on her own and meet other men and leave her partner. They introduced her to Francesca, a human trafficker and pimp (not her real name) who sold her to men for sexual abuse in cheap hotels. Then one day, Francesca introduced her to a man, calling him Jaybee (not his actual name), who opened a bag and showed a lot of money for a sex party in a hotel. Francesca agreed to get more girls. Jaybee said he would have sex with Petra, now 16, before the party. She didn’t want that with him but was pressured by Francesca and was taken to a hotel and sexually abused by Jaybee, the organizer of the sex party.
Two days later, Petra went to Mary’s hotel and restaurant in Apalit, Pampanga, for the sex party with other children. There, she saw Jaybee hand her payment to Francesca, and suddenly police in plainclothes surrounded them and arrested Francesca. The organizer of the party who had abused Petra disappeared. He was an undercover agent working for an NGO that planned with police to arrest traffickers and rescue victims. He was a child sex abuser in disguise. A social worker and a policewoman appeared and took custody of Petra and the other children trafficked for sexual abuse.
They were referred to the Preda Foundation’s home for trafficked and abused children. There, Petra felt wanted by a family for the first time in her life. She felt safe and protected and could express all her loneliness and frustrations. She came to realize her dignity and rights as a teenager and how she had been rejected and exploited all her life. She had Emotional Release Therapy and cried and shouted at her cruel relatives that had abandoned her. She cursed at Francesca, who gave Jaybee to rape, and she screamed at Jaybee for sexually abusing her. Her anger and pain poured out and finally left her. Jaybee was likely an undercover agent of an NGO that organized the party. She was free. Petra is now empowered and ready to testify against her abusers.
Reporting sexual abuse and saving the victims with protection and therapy with legal action by victims is essential to fight abuse. They need help to file cases and convict the rapists. Preda children win 15 convictions on average every year. Public protest and action can demand strict worldwide regulation of the telecommunication corporations and the Internet Service Providers to block child abuse images and videos. That is one way to reduce violence against women and children.