Blog Post 4: Violence against Women – Katelyn Carless

Violence being considered a health issue has the hopes of better controlling it. In preparing to watch UFC 190 tomorrow which is centered around violence in a competitive way, I think it shows how easily punches can destroy someone. Placing violence as a health issue should only help to control it. Finding out the reason behind violence in any country would be the first step. Health care professionals are able to find the cause of a viral epidemic if it arises, so violence should be able to be targeted too. From the website Cure Violence, they say that violence is a serious health issue because of the magnitude of victims and in many cities violence is the #1 death of people under age 34 (Cure Violence, 2015). Violence has direct effects which would be a physical injury: broken bones, cuts, but it also has non-physical injuries including internal issues and mental issues. For violence to get the attention it needs, it looks as if it needs to be a health issue.

In Nicaragua, violence is present daily. In week two I researched the violence among women and found abuse was very dominant. Wives get abused by their husbands and can be left abandoned because of this. Not only is it adults who face violence, but girls under 17 make up most of the percentage for facing violence. In 2012, Law 779 was adopted in Nicaragua. “Law 779 strengthens the protection of victims and creates an avenue for women to seek justice in such cases of violence against women” (Amnesty International, 2013; El Presidente de la República de Nicaragua, 2013). The idea behind this law is to let women know they have the support to speak up, but for many women they are still in fear to speak up. The original law that came out in 2012 was never enforced to its full potential because of how large the issue of violence is in Nicaragua. In September of 2013, A reform was passed on Law 779 that said article 46, which banned mediation between a woman and the aggressor in cases of violence, is unconstitutional (Herrera, 2013). This means that mediation will be used in minor cases of violence. Supporters of this reform felt it would help keep the family unity together. Personally, I feel it is wrong to make a women who has faced violence have to mediate with her abuser/attacker. Patricia Orozco made a really good point they will make women mediate through the first act of violence, but in reality, when a women reports violence, it is not the first time, it is because she has lived through it before (Herrera, 2013).

From our week one learning, I do see some disconnects with framing violence as a health issue in regards to biomedicine. I know the biomedicine system is directed towards individuals versus the public health system being directed towards the population, but I think it is important to know both sides. We touched on the strengths and weaknesses of biomedicine and the weaknesses pop out at me. First weakness being that we tend to treat conditions with pharmaceutical drugs and these drugs can have negative side effects. In my opinion, violence cannot be treated with a pharmaceutical drug. This is a long-term condition and global problem that needs to be fixed. We cannot just give a victim of abuse some drugs to help her cope psychologically because she could go back home and get beat again. The second weakness of biomedicine is it tends to ignore environmental, political, and social aspects of health. Violence is each one of these problems and needs to have the attention environmentally, politically and socially. But, after listing the weaknesses, biomedicine can heal acute problems and is successful in emergency medicine so even though violence is a public health issue is it being treated the right way?

Intergenerational trauma is present in Nicaragua affecting violence, mental health challenges, infection, and malnutrition. In a study, it was seen a stillborn baby was due to violence when the mother was pregnant. Violence is affecting future generations. Intergenerational trauma reinforces the health systems. By looking at the biomedical system it is clear for it to be successful, there needs to be an adoption of the social aspects of the health problem. The future generations health is at risk because of violence. If a woman is sexually assaulted and becomes pregnant, that baby is now at harm for being abused also. The violence epidemic needs to be stopped and I think biomedicine and the public health system need to adapt some of each others strengths to stop intergenerational trauma.

Resources:

  • Amnesty International. Press Releases, Nicaragua: Authorities should support law protecting women from violence. 3 May, 2013. http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/nicaragua-authorities-should-support-law-protecting-women-violence-2013-05-. Accessed July 31, 2015.
  • El Presidente de la República de Nicaragua. Ley No. 779: Ley integral contra la violencia hacia las mujeres y de reformas a la Ley No. 641, “Codigo Penal” 2012. http://www.asomif.org/images/stories/CEDOC/Leyes/ley_779.%20ley%20de%20la%20violencia%20contra%20la%20mujer.pdf. Accessed July 31, 2015.
  • Cure Violence. Violence as a Health Issue. 2015. http://cureviolence.org/understand-violence/violence-as-a-health-issue/. Accessed July 31, 2015.
  • Herrera, Carmen. Nicaragua: Violence against women is systemic. Latin American Press. 21 November, 2013. http://lapress.org/articles.asp?art=6910. Accessed July 31, 2015.
  • Devakumar, Delan. The intergenerational effects of war on the health of children. BMC Medicine. 2 April 2014. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/57. Accessed July 31, 2015.

 

4 thoughts on “Blog Post 4: Violence against Women – Katelyn Carless

  1. I agree with your statement that understanding violence in a country FIRST is the most important thing that can be done with the hopes of then understanding the most effective way of finding a solution to the problem. I believe violence should be at the top of the list with health concerns because it causes so many other health issues as a result. I also don’t believe human beings are inherently evil and when violence is used as an answer there is always a larger problem at play. While reading your post and following the preventative laws and their effects I believe it is an example of the wrong way to attack the problem. Sam is now getting in trouble for abusing his wife but Sam is not asked why he is doing it. (Not even for a second condoning his behavior) Sam may now view women as even more helpless and needing special laws to protect them, reinforcing that women are not as strong as men. The understanding on either side is not there.

  2. You made some great points pertaining to intergenerational trauma. Not only are the children of abusers at risk of becoming abused themselves, they are also at risk for major psychological issues. Even if the abuser does not carry out violence directly on the child, that child can still be scarred emotionally and experience trauma second-hand by having to witness their mother being abused. Children are also at risk for becoming the abuser or the abused after growing up in violent homes. When a child, typically male, grows up seeing the dominant male figure in their life abuse their mother they are likely to grow up and abuse their significant other as well. Also when a child, typically female, witnesses her mother succumb to the abuse and not challenge it, they are extremely likely to enter into these same abusive relationships as they grow older. This just shows that the trauma experienced as a child can have lasting and detrimental effects on the child’s life.

  3. Katelyn, I do think that it is important we begin to respect and practice integrational medicine, especially when it pertains to violence and trauma against and faced by women. I think we need to look at these issues young women deal with as it pertains to a cultural, public health, biomedical, emotional, and physiological stand point. It is important to respect other culture’s traditions while asking of them to bend their practices as our western culture sees fit. This is a great challenge as we must try to right the oppressions forced upon women in all cultures. For example, we may find it wrong for women to have to face their abusers in an attempt to maintain meditation and perhaps a positive relationship, but this may be a reflection of important cultural values held by the Nicaraguan people, and may not be our place to say what may and may not be custom.

  4. I too looked into violence against women in the country of Australia. I find it very interesting that you mentioned UFC fighting in your opening paragraph, my family and I were enjoying dinner at a restaurant and a UFC fight was on many of the TV’s in the facility. I said to my parents, how can we expect to reduce violence when it is everywhere? When pride and victory is placed on winning a literal blood bath? My dad argued that their is talent in the ‘sport’ but I view it as very primal and animalistic. I also value your opinion regarding mediation with first time violence, and that frequently the first time an act of violence is reported is rarely the first incidence of violence, but many times a last resort for victims of multiple incidences of violence.
    Although I see functionality of the biomedical system in regards to treating some cases of violence, I agree that it is not fully adequate, and that other additions are needed to address this very important issue.

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