Unfortunately, treating Women as Punching Bags in War Times has been a problem that no one speaks about since the beginning of conflict between countries.
We hardly think of women as punching bags in war and post-war. War and armed conflicts spare no one, but the damage women face during and after the war is inexplicable. Women are always victims of horrific incidents and injustice in every war situation. Men and women often die different deaths and face different torture and abuse. In armed conflicts, primarily men are killed while women experience domestic violence, economic dependency, forced pregnancy, abuse, and sexual slavery.
The long-term effects of war and militarization create an environment where women face severe financial and social crises. After losing the bread earner of the family, the women have to make ends meet. Surprisingly, they do without the same qualification and experiences that their male counterparts have. The writ of law is often missing in a war-torn society until the state rebuilds its legal infrastructure and security. Women’s safety is always threatened both inside and outside the house.
The damage women experience in war is extremely passive, and without the allocation of special resources for women’s protection and safety, the exploitation of women will sadly continue.
Women as Punching Bags in War
The repercussions of war and the post-war era make women scapegoat for many things. How war makes their future shady and bleak is another question, but some of the immediate actions that make women punching bags are:
The level of violence and abuse women experience is overwhelming. No woman is exempt from physical violence. Women are beaten to death even in their own houses, raped, and abused. After the war, lacking medical facilities worsens the situation.
Domestic violence is a very common practice even in regular daily life. In war and post-war times, women become punching bags for men. During war times, many factors are responsible for making men more violent. For example, the availability of weapons, violence experienced by male family members, and lack of jobs, food, and necessities make room for more violence. Unfortunately, men vent their anger by beating women.
In 2002, Catherine Lutz and Jon Elliston wrote in “Domestic Terror,” The Nation “In the United States, four special force soldiers killed their wives within six weeks after returning from Afghanistan.”
In war, nobody is safe. But women are targeted more than men, solely based on gender. The enemy uses them in the battleground to take down the men related to them. During the war, trafficking and sexual slavery of women amplifies. Women are trafficked from one country to another for forced labor, including forced prostitution. At the same time, armed groups also kidnap them to provide sexual services, food services, and all other chores. In war zones, enemies rape women, make them bear forced pregnancies and imprison them to make sure they give birth to children.
According to the UN report on Bosnia and Herzegovina l, 60% of women trafficked from these countries were aged 19 to 24, forced into sex slavery, and pushed for forced marriage.
Effects of Abuse and Gender-based Violence
The effects of abuse and gender-based violence in war and post-war settings affect women socially, emotionally, and financially.
Emotional Effects & Women as Punching Bags in War
War in any society deteriorates the emotional health of its members, but it’s more emotionally devastating for women. They do not die once, but they die every day. The kind of emotional abuse they suffer after being raped, sexually enslaved, and forced into pregnancy are inexplicable. The traumas women experience lead to severe post-traumatic stress and heartbreaks, which remain with them till their last breath.
War changes the demographic landscape of society by declining the male population and changing the composition of the household. Many women lose the breadwinners of their families. In this situation, women have to take care of their families. This results in them doing labor at minimum wages. Even in their workplace, they experience gender exploitation, which leaves them unable to live normal lives.
The social effects of war make women punching bags
In war-torn countries, victims, mostly women, suffer even more after the war. They find it hard to start over. In some cases, abducted women also don’t return when they’re rescued because they find it hard to face people because of the social taboos of cruel societies.
In their research, Elisabeth Rehn and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote “women, war and peace.”
“We will never forget the horror on the face of Aminata, a woman we met in Guinea, as she described how the rebels in Sierra Leone forced her to dance in front of her husband as they killed him. Her voice rose in hysterics as she contemplated returning, “I can’t go back, they’ll kill me, there’s no one to help me, I am alone.”
The most affected lives on this planet by war are those of women. Domestic and physical violence not only affects them physically but injure their souls. Physical, sexual, emotional abuse, gunshots on wombs, forced pregnancies, and many more horrific occurrences women experience. On top of that, lacking medical and psychological facilities make it harder for them to heal afterwards.
Although many international organizations work to help women in war-torn societies, their efforts are insufficient. Every state should allocate unique resources for women’s stability, security, and necessities in conflict times. Not only resources but also policy reforms are required for women’s safety at an international level. There is a dire need to set therapy in post-conflict settings.
Authored by Afsheen Khan
Edited by Yara Fakhoury
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