top of page

The Cold Reality of Numbers~ The Dystopia is near - Part II ~ are really outraged, because a single movie theatre in Austin, Texas, “violated their rights” when it decided to do a women-only screening of ‘Wonder Woman’, on account that it is the true rarity of a female super-hero movie. Men found their exclusion to be really “offensive”. They went on to express a deep concern about “REAL equality”. (Not to mention a remarkably gigantic, lack of sense of irony)

Art & words by Fanitsa Petrou

Upon sharing my last two articles on Social media ("The Dystopia is Near – Marching Towards Gilead: & "The Handmaid's Tale - The Stuff Female Fears are Made of" that refer to the real life parallels between to “The Handmaid’ s Tale book / TV show and present-day America, I was being repeatedly told by men the kind of things that I would not care to repeat; and I was also being told by women that “things are not that bad” and “not all men are like that, now take my husband for example…” Women apparently need, (not just want) to believe that male violence is not a reality, and that it only exists in a feminist’ s mind. I find that to be both disturbing and understandable.

I turn here to numbers, and I leave them to tell the story. To show the grim patterns that are being formed by them. And to warn that maybe the “dystopia” is indeed already here. Unless we (both men and women) open our eyes to it.

Women and girls are being daily harmed by gender-based violence, which can take many forms. Yet, the act of simply repeating UN statistics, is seen as hostile, and it can characterise a woman as “aggressive” towards men. In fact, it is the only case when the mere reporting of a crime can cause more negative hype than the crime itself, and this should tell us a lot about our perception of gender roles, and the power of Patriarchy! If you are a Western woman, it can almost without fail, lead to threats, Internet bulling, nasty name-calling of the “you-are-a-man-hating-bitch-who-needs-to-be-raped” variety, and even to actual violence. But obviously, if you are a Moslem woman, or one coming from the developing World, it is a revolutionary act, as it can as easily lead to jail, or your grave.

Men use violence against women that is motivated by a competition for dominance, an entitlement mentality and feelings of sexual ownership, which is another way of saying, because they feel it is their right, because they are taught that it is OK, and because they like it... In fact, male aggression and violence are a real epidemic, an on going war that gets bloodier and nastier with the passing of each year. Yet, whenever the conversation about male violence is attempted, one is very likely to be faced with the usual “not-all-men” narrative, that is meant to sooth the male ego, and assure the men in our lives that this is not about them at all. And by the way, if they are not violent, that is correct: it is NOT about them. It is however very much about the great numbers of men who ARE very much that: men commit 99% of all sex crimes, 85% of all violent crimes in the Western world (and 90.5% of all murders, and 70 out 71 mass murders in the U.S. alone). The remaining perpetrators are women, though it needs to be said that a great number of these women, use violence in self-defence, their crime often being the last act after years of abuse they have suffered in the hands of the men they’ ve killed, or attempted to kill – and this is a detail that needs to be taken into account! Yet whenever the stark, cold reality of statistics reveal the ugly truth about femicide, the rape epidemic, human trafficking, sexual slavery, pedophilia, child marriages between little girls and grown men, incest, domestic violence, we are told that, “hey, women can also be violent”. And so they can. But the thing is, they mostly aren’t. The thing is, they are mostly the helpless victims of violence. Millions, and millions of them. And generations and generations of them too.

We are also predictably being reminded by women, that the men in their life are “great” and it is apparently meant to be offered as a proof that men in general are that. But again, how is that in any way related to the countless variations of hell, countless women and girls are experiencing every day in the hands of all those millions of “other” men? How can one’ s own partner being “great”, make the reality of the guys who sell their daughters into sexual slavery, or those who “exchange” them like commodities in order to get a new bride for themselves (see below), or those who believe that raping 12 year olds brings them closer to God, any less horrible? How will it make the rape rates, which are increasing with every passing year, disappear? How can it affect the countless lives of women whose lives have been destroyed by male violence? How can it disproof the fact that according to the UNIFEM report “throughout the world, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime ? How talking about one’ s own “good” husband whenever such statistics are given, is in any way helpful or relevant to all that? And why do we think it ought to magically diminish the seriousness of such crimes? And also, how come we don't see that this is not about "hating men", but about hating violence?! Not to mention, this is not about a war on men. It is about a war on women!

And also, why do we have this need to constantly offer the reassurance to the men in our life, that when we talk about men who use domestic or sexual violence, we are not talking about them at all? Why are we so afraid that just talking about this, would turn us into man-haters in their eyes? And isn’t that a proof that things are not as “great” as we pretend them to be? What if we were talking about men who steal motorbikes? Would the mere reporting of this crime turn us into horrible, obsessive haters of motorbike thieves, but also into haters of motorbike sellers, motorbike mechanics, motorbike users and motorbikes in general? And would the news of such a crime, justify women’ s need to repeatedly assure the world that their own husband has never, EVER stolen any motorbikes? And would that offer proof that no motorbikes are being stolen, or were ever stolen in this world?

Also the fact that we tend to praise men for not having raped, assaulted or killed any women (or the fact that they truly need us to be impressed by this, and believe themselves to be “good” on account of that) is enough to indicate how low are expectations of men are, (and how low their own expectations of themselves are too), by the way.

The need to protect “traditional”, (aka aggressive) masculinity at all costs, to pretend it is not toxic, to pretend male violence doesn’ t even exist, despite statistics and solid proof, needs to be examined. That is why the “not-my-husband” / “#NotAllMen” conversation, is not just irrelevant, it is dangerous, because it takes our attention away from facing the problem, and downplays, trivializes and because of that, indirectly justifies the overwhelming realities of male violence. It also stops men from being accountable for ending gender-based violence. And that’s just tragic, because they are the only ones who can end it!


Femicide, (the murder of women based on their sex) continues to plague the world, and it is actually increasing, despite sporadic attempts to implement femicide laws. Men usually kill women because they feel they rejected, tried to leave, “dishonoured” or disobeyed them, and more often than not, after they rape them (as a form of sexual “gratification” or as a way of permanently silencing them: 81.7% of all homicides in the U.S. alone, are sex-related). It is of course a global phenomenon, yet like all other forms of gender-based crimes, they are not seen as important in the male-dominated political sphere or the media: they are just women. They are just girls. They are insignificant. Disposable. Their lives are unworthy, and so their violent deaths do not matter… According to the UNIFEM report “Not a Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women”: Violence against women has become as much a pandemic as HIV/AIDS or malaria. But still it is downplayed by the public at large and policymakers who fail to create and fund programmes to eradicate it.”

Women are daily being killed in great numbers on account of their sex and what more, they are most commonly killed by spouses, partners, exes, or members of their family, which is to say: men they know and trust: on a global scale,38 % of all murders of women are committed by their husbands / intimate partners.

In the U.S. alone, every 16 hours, a current or former husband (who may belong in any racial, ethnic or economic background, by the way (male aggression, being one hell of an equatliser…) shoots a woman to death. This particular statistic takes into account only the women who are shot, and does not include those who are stabbed, strangled, beaten to death, or run over by vehicles on purpose! In fact, husbands (who have access to firearms, even when they have a history of violence or mental illness) are incomparably more deadly in America, than jihadist terrorists, though you wouldn’ t know that by watching the news: since the 9/11 attacks, there have been 123 murders of American citizens who were killed by terrorists, and 230,000 other murders, mostly perpetrated by husbands!

According to the “National Network to End Domestic Violence”, 6,500 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, between October 2001 and June 2012. More than 11,700 women died during the same period, in acts of domestic violence (as in they were literally beaten to death!) The deaths of those soldiers are seen as tragic, as a waste of human life and potential, and they are honoured and remembered, but the violent deaths of all those women in the hands of husbands, are trivialised (even romanticed: “he loved her too much”), and are not seen as equally significant or even newsworthy: in fact they are more often than not, seen as the “natural” result of an argument, break ups, alcohol consumption, "passion", or simply a “bad moment”, as if such reasons justify them…

One woman is murdered every 16 hours in Honduras, which is considered to be the most dangerous place in the world for women, as it has the highest gender-based violence (femicide, domestic violence and rapes) rate in the world. Women are considered to be so insignificant that 95% of their murders by men were not even investigated.

In Guatemala, a country of only 15 million inhabitants, 5,000 women and girls were violently killed from 2008 to 2015. Fewer than 2% of those murders have resulted in convictions.

In Brazil: a woman is murdered every 2 hours (and every 15 seconds a woman or girl is sexually assaulted)

In Argentina alone, in the first few months of this year, a woman is being killed every 18 hours, compared to one every 30 hours the year before.

El Salvador, the small Central American nation, registered 574 murders of women in 2015, and 446 just from January to November 2016.

Honour killings are also quite common and they can happen for the most insignificant of reasons, a man’ s honour being such a fragile delicate thing after all. More than 900-1,000 women are killed in Pakistan every year, just in the name of family honour. For Example, in 2013, a mother and her two small daughters, were killed by male members of their family, for having disgraced them, because they were caught on a video that went viral, dancing happily in the rain! In 2012, five women were also killed in Pakistan because they did the apparently utterly shameful thing of signing at a wedding, while in 2013, a girl in Pakistan was killed because she looked at a boy who was passing by her on a motorcycle! On a similar note, a woman in Pakistan, has recently been set on fire by her husband and his parents for failing to conceive after three years of marriage…

Statistics that refer to femicide, by the way, do not even take into account the 100 million girls from around the world, which according to U.N. statistics are missing. Many of them are left according to the same reports “on the sides of roads, drowned, maimed and thrown in trash bins”.

Foeticide & Infanticide:

Females are also often killed in order to stop them from existing in this world, like in the case of countless baby girls who are seen as unworthy by their very families who become their murderers. Female foetuses are aborted for no other reason than they are not male (these are the justified abortions of course, and they happen daily) India, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, China, Albania are the countries with the most skewed sex-rations due to foeticide and infanticide. Between 2000 to 2014 alone, there were according to U.N. statistics 24,561,345 sex selective abortions (it goes without saying the sex that is always “selected” to be aborted is the female one) which makes it 1,670,079 a year, or 4575.5 a day, or one female every in 18 seconds!

These numbers do not even come close to recording sex discrimination after birth: millions of little girls die prematurely because of discrimination in nutrition, health-care, and medicine (which is to say that baby girls are on purpose not fed, or cared for when sick, either as a form of infanticide, or by purposely giving priority to the needs of boys whose lives are considered precious.

In India alone, fifteen million females are believed to be murdered in every generation in foeticide, infanticide, “honour killings” and for reasons of “dowry saving”. The dowry custom, which is perpetuating longstanding inequalities between men and women, is in itself a misogynistic practice that financially rewards a man for taking the “burden” of a daughter out of the hands of her father. It is also the main cause of femicide in the form of foeticide and infanticide: a man will get paid by his future wife’ s father for marrying her, he will also get to inherit his own parents’ property, but also his wife’ s parents’ wealth too! The wealthier his bride’ s family is, the bigger are the chances she will also be educated and so the bigger the dowry and the inheritance of course, and the greater the financial loss for the family. A well-educated daughter, is also more likely to become increasingly more resistent to the old traditions and possibly more “demanding” when it comes to her rights and more likely to have an opinion about her father paying a stranger in order to take her. A dead daughter on the other hand, is a far easier deal... This cold, hardless logic results in a higher rate of femicide in middle and upper class families!

In fact, it is only in the poorer 20 per cent of the population, that there is a normal sex ratio for girls and boys, again, not necessarily because girls who come from the lower strata are actually wanted by their families, but because having a daughter is a financial asset for the poorer families: girls are allowed to live, in order to do the daily chores, taking care of family members, or worse, in order to be “leased” or sold as servants or factory workers (the lucky ones), or quite commonly as underage prostitutes: little girls as young as five, are used as sex slaves by all male members of wealthy families, who may also go on to resell them to other families once they are done with them, or quite commonly,to paedophiles from Gulf countries. This is done with the blessings of the fathers, and the mullahs (religious leaders) who claim that these daughters should be “grateful” with such arrangements, as they get to help their families...

Human Trafficking:

According to the organization “Arc for Hope for Children”, there are 20.9 Million victims of trafficking Worldwide as of 2012, 21 millions by 2014. In fact, there are more slaves today, than at any other time in history, and many of them are sexual slaves.

4.5 Million of trafficked persons (women, underage girls, but also boys) are being sexually exploited by men, and according to Unicef, 2 million of them are children who are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade.

An example is the case of Karla Jacinto, a girl from Mexico who at age twelve, was forced into prostitution by Mexico’ s Human Trafficking Rings, and by age 16, was raped 43,200 times, by up to 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years! Judges, priests and policemen (the very people who were supposed to protect her) were among the many men who abused her, she told CNN. Now that she managed to escape her hell, just speaking about it, daily puts her life at risk.

What can also be said about the countless women and underage girls who were captured by ISIS for the purpose of becoming sex slaves? These women and children were taken from their families and homes for the sole purpose of being passed from soldier to soldier (which is a common enough practise in all wars one might add, and from the beginning of Time…) Sometimes they are offered as gifts / reward to ISIS fighters, or sold into sexual slavery in special bazaars! In fact the Islamic State went on to create a detailed bureaucracy in order to keep track of its increasing “merchandise”! Many theological discussions were also held to find the religious justification of rape (hint: they did find it!) and endless policy memos and even lengthy how-to-rape manuals were issued, in order to “help” men with the task at hand, giving them the “rules”, like how many times a woman should be raped by one man before being passed to the next and so on…! At least 5,270 women and girls were abducted from the Yazidi communities alone, and at least 3,144 are still being held. Thousands others, from other regions were also abducted from their homes, and subjected to all kinds of abuses, held chained in cages like animals and forced to be exposed in markets like cattle holding price tags, or displayed as merchandise on Facebook posts. The soldiers are even told that raping children and women who are unbelievers, are acts of religious devotion! The few captives who miraculously escaped this nightmare, told their rescuers that rapists would kneel and pray before and after raping 12 year old kids, telling them that by raping them, they were doing their religious duty and were “drawing closer to God”!

Child Brides:

Each year, 15 million girls (28 girls every minute, 1 every 2 seconds!) are married before the age of 18, and are being denied a childhood, an education and a normal developement. Early pregnancy is also consistently among the leading causes of death for girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide.

According to the research institute ‘ICRW’: “One third of girls in the developing world, are married before the age of 18, and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15. Child marriage often compromises a girl’ s development by resulting in social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement, and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence. Child brides often show signs symptomatic of sexual abuse, marital rape and post-traumatic stress such as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and severe depression”.

According to the ‘United Nations Children’ s Fund’, over 700 million women alive today, were married before 18, including some 250 million who wed before 15 (some as young as seven!) and usually to a much older man.

According to the organization ‘Girls Not Brides’, in India alone, there are 26,610,000 girls who have been married as children: it is estimated that 47% of girls in India, are married before their 18th birthday, 18% married by 15. Many at even younger ages.

The African country of Niger has the highest rate of child marriage in the world. 3 in 4 girls marry before their 18th birthday. In some areas, the rates are even higher, in some regions, as many as 89%.

More than 320,000 young girls in Mexico aged between 12 and 17, are either married or co-habiting with men who are at the very least 11 years their senior. They have been called the “lost generation”…

After the Saudi-Arabian intervention in Yemen, which resulted in a horrible famine, many Yemeni families started selling off their daughters to avoid starvation. 6-year-old girls are being sold to pedophiles, so that fathers will have one less mouth to feed and on top of that, an income! It is seen as perfectly acceptable by religious leaders by the way, since it corresponds to the sharia law.

This also brings to mind the Pakistani custom of “vani(also known as swara or sangchatti) where girls are seen as cattle, as property to be sold or given away to grown men to settle disputes: daughters are used as currency to pay up a father’s debts (or even any other male family member’s debts) Girls as young as one year old (!) are offered to grown men in arranged marriages to settle debts or vendettas. Even though such arrangements (which are approved by the powerful local council of elders known as a jirga) are supposedly illegal in Pakistan, they are very common and are rarely prosecuted.

Another custom that is quite common in conservative parts of Pakistan is that of “Watta Satta” (“give and take”)which is basically the exchanging of women, who are nothing but commodities, things that are meant to be used among men. A case that reached the news a couple of months ago, refers to 13-year old girl who was “offered” to a 36-year-old disabled man, so that he (the father - if we can call him that) would get to have that man’ s sister in return, in hope that she would give him a son, “because his first wife, the mother of his daughter solely bore him girls when all he wanted was a son”. The disable man’ s sister, was thankful that she would no longer be responsible of taking care of her brother and this duty would now be to the hands of the 13 year old-girl. The girl who was raised with the belief that she has no rights and no choices in this life, and who is clearly afraid of her father was quoted to say: “he has the right to choose when and whom I’m going to marry”, (though her sorrowful face in the photos, reveals her true feelings and can break one’s heart) In fact, it is considered a father’ s duty to exchange his daughters for other women he will get to have as his own, and whenever such exchanges are not completed, it is believed that he “failed” his religious duty! (those male lawmakers, and male religious leaders think of everything, don’t they?!)

(How many things in this piece of news are causing you to have palpitations I wonder? The fact that a girl of 13, is forced to marry a grown man of 36? That she was exchanged like a commodity? That her own father basically sold her in order to get a new wife? That he takes wives left and right as if they are things? That he considers only sons to be “proper” offspring? That women are so far gone inside the bottomless pit that is the traditional marriage that they don’ t mind if a 13-year old girl is victimised, if they are to be relieved of their own unbearable burden of taking care of ailing family members? That this girl will be forced to life-long servitude, taking care of a disable man? That she will be raped by an adult and forced to get pregnant while she is still a child? That she too will be seen as unworthy (like her own mother was) and will be discarded and exchanged if she does not do her “duty” and bear a son? That she is not even allowed to have any dreams, let alone choices? That she thinks her father is doing his “duty” by selling her? That he thinks that too? That such things are still allowed?!! That religions are so fucking misogynistic that they have tricked people into thinking this is normal? What?)

Child marriages are not unheard of, or forbidden by law in the U.S. by the way, even though interestingly, this is against U.S. foreign policy: the U.S. is officially against child and forced marriages when these happen in other parts of the world, and considers them to be a “human rights abuse”, yet most U.S. states allow children age 16 or 17 to marry,provided they have their parents’ s consent. State laws are not concerned and do not investigate whether a child is marrying willingly or whether this is a forced marriage.

About 57,800 minors in the U.S., aged 15 to 17 were married as of 2014. 91% of these are girls, who were married to adult men! According to ‘Unchained At Last’, an American organization that helps girls resist or escape forced marriage, between 2000 and 2010, in 38 states, there were 167,000 children, almost all of them girls, many as young as 10(!) who were married - mostly to men considerably older than them. When the States that don’t provide information are put in the mix, the number may be as high as 248,000!

In many cases, these child brides are young enough, and the grown men who marry them are old enough, to justify statutory-rape charges, if only there was no marriage license application involved with their parents’ signature… In Idaho, the state with the highest rate of child marriages, having sex with a child under 16, is considered a felony and can lead to 25 years in prison, but not when the adult marries the underage girl obviously! Then all is legal and good… (Marriage makes everything magically wholesome, doesn’t it?)

Child marriages and forced marriages in America, are not specific to one religious background by the way. Studies show that they can happen in Christian (particularly Catholic), Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Mormon, Unification Church or Orthodox Jewish communities equally often. The girls are often coerced to go into these marriages with adults, by the use of emotional manipulation (a girl reported that she was promised “nice clothes”) blackmail and threats of ostracism, beatings or death. The reasons that parents give for forcing their children to marry, are for controlling their sexuality or independence, protecting the “family honour” (because an underage girl became pregnant for example, or even just spoke to a boy), or for reasons relating to money and social status.

Incidentally, last week, the governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, declined to sign a measure into law to ban child marriage without exception, on the grounds that it “would conflict with religious customs”

It is interesting to note that globally, girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children as they themselves become more resistant to coercion and manipulation, and also get to realise that there are other options out there for them. A fact that indicates towards the solution of this problem: Educate girls!

Legal rape:

Rape of a woman (or girl) by her husband, is expressly legal in at least 10 countries: Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, though one might add that it is considered “morally” legal in most countries around the world: a husband having sex with his wife even when she is not willing, is still widely considered being a husband’ s “right” and wife’ s “duty”. That’ s what they both signed for, when they entered into the marriage… That is why the “traditional marriage” (which let us face it already, is a product of Patriarchy) in which the husband is the “provider” and the woman the “homemaker” (which is what is implied whenever the phrase “traditional family values” is used) has endured for countless generations: the woman gets to be “protected” and “cared for”, and meet her “biological destiny” (to quote The Handmaid’ s Tale) and the husband gets to have the right to get that good, old, marital, no-questions-asked-she-owes-it -to-him sex.)

Such a mentality is sadly not exactly alien to Western countries. Even though marital rape is technically illegal in the U.S., for example, in many states it is not being treated as ‘real” rape. Ohio State Rep. Greta Johnson has for example tried repeatedly to pass a bill to outlaw marital rape and stop husbands from having the “right” to drug and rape their wives (who knew it needed to be specified that this should be illegal?) yet the bill got no support from any Republicans, and it did not pass!

It is also legally possible for perpetrators of rape, to escape punishment if they marry their victim in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, the Philippines, Tajikistan, and Tunisia (so the woman / and quite often the underage girl gets to live her entire life with her rapist, who in turn, gets to continue to rape her for years, and at his own convenience, AND with the blessings of priests and lawmakers!)

In Morocco and Saudi Arabia, rape victims are even charged with a crime (the crime of putting themselves in the position of being raped!) and can be publically disgraced, lashed and even executed for it (on top of being raped!) while of course, their rapist goes unpunished! In places where the sharia law was enforced, such as Indonesia for example, women are publically disgraced and canned (or worse) for simply standing too close to a man, let alone being raped!

Domestic Violence:

If there is one single thing all terrorists and all mass shooters have in common, is not - despite popular belief - their religion, their colour or ethnic background, but a record of domestic violence and sexual assaults, as well as a deeply ingrained misogyny!

Indicatively, there were around 45,000 cases of domestic violence reported in Colombia, in 2015 alone, while the majority of Pakistani women (90%) face domestic violence. In fact the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body that advises the Pakistani legislature on whether laws adhere to Islam’ s teachings, recently said husbands should be allowed to “lightly” beat their wives. While in the Islamic world a husband is generally allowed (even encouraged) to beat his wife and daughters, as long as it is not in the face... Moslem women, are routinely being brutally hit by fathers, brothers, police officers to whom they turn in hope of being protected, and above all, husbands for the entirety of their lives, sometimes as a punishment, and sometimes as a way of keeping them docile, frightened and therefore more subservient and easier to control.

Violence against women is so pervasive and entrenched in all societies, that it is being seen as the norm. In modern-day Russia for instance, there is a saying that claims: “If he beats you, it means he loves you.” Well, apparently Russian men really adore their wives and kids: 40 % of all violence crimes in Russia, are not committed by the Russian mafia, or other organised crime groups, but by husbands, and “in family surroundings”: 36,000 Russian women are being beaten by their partners every day, and 26,000 children are being assaulted by their parents every year (God only knows how many the undocumented incidents are of course….) while an estimated 14,000 Russian women are being killed from domestic violence every year (which is another way of saying “are beaten to death!”)

Indicatively, Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of Russia’ s most popular tabloid newspapers, published an article that urged women to be “proud of their bruises” because women who are abused by their husbands have a “valuable advantage as they are more likely to give birth to boys!” Boys being the “good” kids, the “default” kids, and having them being such a blessing that it can justify daily beatings….

Despite these numbers, earlier this year, Russian lawmakers decriminalized some forms of domestic assault. The amendment to the criminal code was passed into law under which, if the victim—adult or child—is not “seriously”physically injured, and there has been no other incident of violence within the past year, the abuser will be subject to a maximum prison sentence of just 15 days, community service, or only a fine. Prior to the amendment, the assailant would have been subject to a maximum sentence of two years. Domestic violence was in fact a crime in Russia for a total of six months… In June 2016, the Russian government decriminalized battery, but exempted domestic abuse from the decriminalization, and by that, indirectly acknowledged domestic violence as a specific crime, a fact that infuriated conservative groups and the Russian Orthodox Church because apparently “the reasonable and loving use of physical punishment is an essential part of the rights given to parents by God himself.”Conservative lawmakers agreed, and quickly moved against the Supreme Court on the basis of “Traditional Family values”!

Rape epidemic:

A few days ago, the President of Philippines Rodrico Détente, has told his soldiers that they will have his full support if they rape at least three women, while enforcing martial law! "I will be imprisoned for you. If you rape three (women), I will say that I did it!", he “joked” to his troops. Not only is rape not seen as a violent, disgusting crime, it is considered an “honourable”, manly act that deserves praise, and needs to be rewarded, because it validates a man’ s masculinity! (Rape culture in a nutshell)

A U.N. study, revealed that 70% of men who have perpetrated rape, did it because they thought it was their “right” as men. 40% because they were angry or wanted to “punish” the woman, while 50% of them admitted they never felt guilty.

Europe, Southern and Northern America have the highest numbers of rapes (and we probably have men’ s addiction to porn to thank for that), though Australia, Botswana and Lesotho have the highest per capita cases. The reasons why men rape vary, but are always related to sexual entitlement: men’ s belief that sex is their male, God-given “right” and their own need for it, must be satisfied at all costs, and women (whom they believe to be nothing more than bodies) basically exist in order to be used for that. In short, being men means they are “allowed” to have sex with women whenever they want, and regardless if these women are willing or not. That is why rape is seen as a male right, rather than a horrible crime and why rapists are more often than not, not accused or prosecuted by the male lawmakers, the male police officers and the male judges…

A UN study that was contacted in 2013, in Asia and the Pacific (that included data from Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka) revealed that overall nearly half of the 10,000 men who were interviewed have used (often repeatedly) physical and/or sexual violence against a woman and 1% - 14% of the men, admitted that they perpetrated gang rape against a woman or girl. These men started raping at around 14 years or younger. The vast majority (72% - 97%) did NOT experience any legal or other consequences for their crimes.

Another study, which was contacted by the University of North Dakota, U.S., revealed that 1 in 3 American men would rape if they could get away with it! In fact men from around the world do, more often than not, get away with it… Like in the case of Diego Cruz, a wealthy young man from Mexico who ganged raped a 17-year-old girl with two of his friends, and was acquitted because he said “he didn’t enjoyed it”! (It’s a good thing he did not ask to be compensated for his trouble…)

The above study also revealed that men do not associate “forcible sex” (which they consider to be “acceptable!”) with rape! (Again another by-product of porn watching!) The men who participate in the survey, admitted that they forced or would force a woman to have sex, but denied that they would “rape a woman” and they seemed to think that these two things are not the one and the same!

The same study revealed that marital rape was more prevalent than other forms of rape. According to the World Health Organization: women who are “exposed to intimate partner violence” are overall even more traumatized than those who are raped by random strangers: women who are raped by husbands and partners, are twice more likely to suffer from depression, almost twice as likely to turn to alcohol, are 16% more likely to have a low birth-weight baby, 1.5% more likely to get sexually transmitted infections, while 42 % of them suffer serious injuries as a result.

A different study contacted by the University of Harvard revealed that 50% of rapists are repeat offenders: “Nearly 23% said they had raped two to three people, 12 % say they had raped four to ten people, and about 4 % said they had raped more than ten people.” Young men who commit a rape in college are also very likely to become serial offenders . It is also interesting to note that (like in the case of the “Asia and the Pacific” UN study), most of the American rapists were teenagers when they first raped someone.

Rape is still the ONLY crime for which the victim is more likely to be blamed than the perpetrator: if a woman is raped, she is often blamed for putting herself at risk of being raped (like just existing in the proximity of men for example…) and what she wears at the time of the attack is often seen as more “guilty” than the rapist himself… Victim-blaming when it comes to rape is actually hardwired into our culture: a recent study contacted by the “Fawcett Society” in the U.K., revealed that “nearly half of men and 34% of women, believe women are at least partially to blame if they are drunk or wearing a short skirt or are on a night out when they are assaulted. This in UK! You can imagine what people in the Muslim world think! The recent case of a 19-year-old Saudi Arabia woman comes to mind, who dared to go out of her home unescorted, and was gang-raped by seven men. When she dared to speak to the press, she was publically disgraced, received 200 lashes, and was sentenced to six months in jail for “committing a crime of indecency”, (SHE committed the crime, not the seven men who assaulted her!) because it was, as the chant in The Handmaid’ s Tale goes: “Her Fault! Her Fault! Her Fault!” It is also not uncommon for women and girls who have been raped, to be imprisoned, or even executed for having “allowed” it, or to even be killed by their own families for bringing “disgrace” to them!

In the U.S. alone, there are 300,000 rapes every year according to the U.S. Justice Department, though the Centers of Decease Control put the number much higher, at 1.3 million. These numbers do not take into account the countless women who do not dare to come forward and report that they were assaulted. In 2011, 44.394 women were raped in the U.K. alone, 17.077 in Sweden, 47.078 in Germany, 15.681 in Chile, 45.288 in Brazil, 34.027 in Mexico, 26.601 in Canada, 23.871 in France, 9.860 in Spain, 2.182 in Portugal, 4.617 in Italy, 7.359 in Scotland, 16.647 in Russia, 19.491 in the Republic of Korea, 8.055 in Japan, while every 17 seconds, a woman is raped in South Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo which has the worst rape records, 1.150 women and girls are raped every day, which makes it 420,000 a year! It is again, safe to say however, that the numbers of raped women are considerably higher, since the above numbers only represent documented cases and do not include the many rapes that go unreported, due to the shaming / victim-blaming phenomenon.

Studies have also concluded that men who pay for sex are two times more likely to rape; men who feel socially marginalized are more likely to attempt to assert their masculinity by displaying their “power” over a woman who is physically weaker and whom they usually consider to be their inferior, and therefore also an easy target, her humiliation being an easy “ego boost”; men who get involved in other violent activities that are meant and display their “toughness” to other men, such as fights or violent sports, or gang activities, are also prone to being rapists; men who have witnessed the abuse of their mother when they were young, are also more likely to rape and assault women and girls; men who have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse as children are also more likely to repeat these crimes themselves. (Women who have experienced abuse as children turn their hate onto themselves, and this results in a lack of self esteem, chronic depression, anorexia, self mutilation, phobias, psychosomatic symptoms, drug / alcohol abuse, suicide. Men are just more likely to replicate what they’ ve seen / been through and just rape women and kids…) Gang rapes on the other hand, are associated with other forms of violence and antisocial activities, and are also related to poverty and the male need to humiliate a helpless Other, and by doing that, prove that they still have power over someone. And last but not least, men who are addicted to porn, are also considerably more likely to rape. A strong link has also been found between men who enjoy watching violent porn and other sadistic behavior / violent murders.

Other forms of violence:

Even though the “triple talaq” (or instant divorce ) has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries, it still prevails. By this practise, a husband can divorce his wife with no warning, no reason, no legal documents, no consequences on him, and no obligations to her and their children (though it is quite common that he will choose to take their sons with him – without her permission - leaving her with the daughters) Given that a woman is not allowed to work, or in many countries own property, you can imagine what this abandonment means for her and her children. All he has to do, is repeat three times the word divorce ("divorce, divorce, divorce") and then be free to move on to greener pastures... The same right is of course denied to women who have to stay with their husbands even if they are being daily abused by them.

It is also quite common for men in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America to throw acid at a woman if she rejects their advances, causing horrible deformities and scarring them for life or even blinding them, just because they rejected them. Their crime of course goes unpunished. (Colombia has the highest rate of acid attacks on women)

Men in the Western world, have their own ways of “punishing” women of course. A recent example is the act of “stealthing” — that is, the act of secretly, and without the woman’ s consent, removing condoms during sex — as a form of sexual assault, which is becoming widespread. White supremacists even go a step further, asking (through their Internet portal “Daily Stormer”) white men to rape white women in order to get them pregnant and thus fortifying the numbers of white people in the world! The abused women are to be used as breeding cattle, as nothing but the means to their disgusting neo-Nazi goals. This also brings to mind the “Spring of Life” program that was put in action by the “original” Nazis, which requested German soldiers to rape white Aryan-looking women (mostly from Scandinavia), hoping to impregnate them, and then take their children to raise them in government Homes, making them the future “perfect” samples of humanity...

Women are also daily victimised by the very fact they are denied the right to work or own property. According to a World Bank study (“Women, Business and the Law, 2016”), women's economic prospects are specifically limited BY LAW in 155 countries out of the 173 studied.

Women own less than 20% of the world's land.

In Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Togo and Zambia it is still illigal for women to own property, while others allow it only in paper. In Zimbabwe for example, their dead husband’s family forces widows out of their homes.

In 18 countries, husbands are legally allowed to decide if their wife can work or not.

In 100 countries, there are laws that specify which types of jobs women are allowed to have, and which not.

In 30 counties, men are by law seen as the “head of the household”.

In Saudi Arabia, women need to have a “male guardian” who gets to make all major (or minor) decisions about their life.

In 19 countries, women are obliged by law to obey their husbands in all matters.

In 32 countries, women are legally obliged to get permission from their husbands to apply for a passport, (let alone use it!)

Not to mention that most women in the Muslim world, need to have a father or husband’ s permission just to go out of their home, and they have to be accompanied by a male member of their family at all times (even a small boy is seen as a suitable guardian of their virtue, and more important than them).

In many Muslim countries, women are also not allowed to travel, study, marry, work, drive or even seek medical care when they are sick unless their father or husband gives them the permission.

In Saudi Arabia, it is still forbidden to women to vote - not to mention drive a car or ride a bike. Incidentally, Loujain al-Hathloul, the women’s rights campaigner who was the first woman to defy Saudi Arabia’s driving ban, when she attempted to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia and who was arrested and held to prison for 73 days, was arrested again earlier this month, for crimes related to driving while being a female… According to Amnesty International, she has been denied access to a lawyer and contact with her family…

Riding a bike, is also forbidden in North Korea.

Speaking of North Korea: wearing pants was banned for women up until 2012.

In Iran, there are laws that prevent women from watching football matches.

In Nepal (and other States), where women are seen as the most insignificant members of their households, they are only allowed eat whatever is left, after their husband and children have finished eating. This is not only a disgraceful, sexist practise, it is also the cause of anemia, malnutrition, and other serious health issues in women.

Women and girls are also discriminated against in matter pertaining to their education: An estimated 58 million of primary school aged children, are still out of school, 31 million of them are girls. Gender inequalities in education are greatly increased in older ages. In fact, two-thirds of the world's illiterate adults are women. According to “The World’s Women” 2015 study, 496 million women are illiterate.

Lastly: this is not – thankfully – widespread, in fact it happens only in one hospital in Zimbabwe, but it seems kind of symbolic to me, and I could bet good money that it was thought of by a male doctor: whenever a woman who is giving birth screams in pain, she is charged $5 per scream for “raising a false alarm”!

Conclusively, violence against women, is the physical result of women’ s subordination and social exclusion, and it victimizes millions of women and girls from around the globe. Even though the media largely ignores it, as it has always been largely allowed by governments and supported (even encouraged) by organised, Patriarchal religions.

Yet the numbers don’ t lie. Yet the truth remains: men threat, hit, abduct, torture, rape, sell, buy, kill women and girls, or at the very least discriminate against them, often and in large numbers, because they can. Because they think it is their right. Because they were taught it makes them men. And also, because they are still legally allowed to.

And it needs to be changed.

P.S.: In the meantime, men are really outraged, because a single movie theatre in Austin, Texas, violated their rights” when it decided to do a women-only screening of ‘Wonder Woman’, on account that it is the true rarity of a female super-hero movie. Men found their exclusion to be really “offensive”. They went on to express a deep concern about “real equality”. (Not to mention a remarkably gigantic lack of sense of irony)


"The cold reality of numbers / The Dystopia is already here - Part II"- June 9th, 2017

Art & Words Copyright © Fanitsa Petrou. All Rights Reserved.

Feel free to share on social media. Any other, unauthorised use - copying, publishing, printing, reselling, etc - will lead to legal implications.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

Art & Words By Fanitsa Petrou

bottom of page