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If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get

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Apparently everyone female is subject to sexual violence because the patriarchy:

One in four women and girls around the world have been physically or sexually assaulted by a husband or male partner, according to the largest study yet of the prevalence of violence against women.

The report, conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN partners, found that domestic violence started young, with a quarter of 15- to 19-year-old girls and young women estimated to have been abused at least once in their lives. The highest rates were found to be among 30- to 39-year-olds.

When figures for non-partner violence are included, the WHO estimates that about a third of women aged 15 or older – between 736 million and 852 million – will experience some form of sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.

Something that widespread might be usefully called part of the human condition rather than an aberration. But that would be flippant.

What does matter is what is the definition of sexual violence in use here? From WHO in possibly another report:

Forms and contexts of sexual violence
A wide range of sexually violent acts can take
place in different circumstances and settings. These
include, for example:
— rape within marriage or dating relationships;
— rape by strangers;
— systematic rape during armed conflict;
— unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment, including demanding sex in return for
favours;
— sexual abuse of mentally or physically
disabled people;
— sexual abuse of children;
— forced marriage or cohabitation, including
the marriage of children;
— denial of the right to use contraception or to
adopt other measures to protect against
sexually transmitted diseases;
— forced abortion;
— violent acts against the sexual integrity of
women, including female genital mutilation
and obligatory inspections for virginity;
— forced prostitution and trafficking of people
for the purpose of sexual exploitation

Undoubtedly all of those take place. But the frequency with which they do in different societies might be an issue. We’re all entirely willing to believe that, say, systematic rape during armed conflict takes place during armed conflict – the women of DR Congo are hugely at risk.

In the UK, 24% of 15-49 year olds have been abused by a partner.

We might be using a slightly different one of those definitions of sexual violence to reach that figure. You know, as with so many of these global reports about global incidences of things. When folks talk about food waste it’s necessary to dig deep to spot the difference between 50% of the food rotting in the distribution system in poor countries and that spare BOGOF pizza never eaten in rich ones. Or how air pollution numbers tend not to distinguish between Dhaka’s swirling clouds of smoke and London’s faint whiff of NOx.

The trick here is to have included “unwanted sexual advances”. In our sexually dimorphic species it is generally men who propose and women who dispose. This is rather built into that gamete production and nurture and all that. By adding “Fancy a quickie?” to the list of sexual violence that includes chopping a clitoris off we have mixed and matched rather too much there.

After all, in a sexually dimorphic species that does, generally, propose and dispose differently we’ll never actually have the continuation of the species unless someone does propose only to get rebuffed at times. If you don’t ask you don’t get, do you?

Funding to address violence against women has increased significantly over the past five years. Bilateral aid from OECD development assistance committee (DAC) donor countries rose from $121m (£87m) in 2016 to $449m in 2019 – the majority coming from EU programmes – according to analysis by the funding trends website Donor Tracker.

But this amounted to only 0.33% of the total DAC country budgets. “It’s a pittance when you consider the magnitude of the problem, when you consider the prevalence, when you consider the millions of women and their children that are affected,” said García-Moreno.

A costed draft blueprint to address violence against women and girls, put together by NGOs, government officials and business leaders, will be unveiled at the first of two Generation Equality forums, convened by UN Women later this month. It will include a call for a 50% increase in funding to women’s rights organisations to address violence over the next five years.

Well, quite, if you don’t ask you don’t get, do you?

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expunct

in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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