Beyond Victimhood: The Fight for Women’s right

by centerfordemocraticsociety

Semira Mohammed (LLB Graduate student)

In the near past, notably after the spread of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, women are witnessed voicing the challenges they face as a result of gender-based discrimination. These platforms have their own downsides alongside the positive role they serve in providing a forum for the often-underrepresented voices of women to be heard. The voices echo similar claims, which portray women as victims of gender-based violence. Though this is true and an unarguable plain fact, its contribution to the fight for long-lasting systemic change is questionable. 

For centuries women have been made victims of sexism and denied the opportunity to make their own choices. The question here remains, should victimhood become the default mechanism in our process of claiming women’s rights. Victimhood fosters an environment in which women present themselves as victims of the structural as well as overt oppressions they have endured for ages. This on the other hand creates a sense of bitterness towards the body that is portrayed as the oppressor. In occasions that trigger this resentment, the anger is channeled through individual culprits instead of fighting the system that enabled them. As a result, the struggle to reclaim women’s rights takes an adversarial form building its way for a one-time media focus. 

However, the problems women face is not a one-time event and the victims cannot be counted by hand. Women endure prejudice and violence. These discriminations follow different forms and shapes. Besides being a victim majority of women have no clue on how to defend their rights through legal means. If we take a rape scenario to elaborate the idea; girls besides the offense committed on her, she is vulnerable to different psychological and social stigmas. She will be questioned on behalf of the offender as if she instigates the act, the society isolates women who face rape and point fingers on. That is why victims of violence are usually prone to double victimization. Once the offender and other time the system. 

Thus the fight to reclaim natural rights does not need fierce competition to prove that women are victims. The struggle will only be stagnant on building a victim mentality unless the next step is to teach young girls their needs to be a change. When they are introduced to its existence it should not be in a way that makes it seem as though it is the natural way of how things function for women. Actual change requires the struggle to take itself out of the victimhood narrative and to build a strong system that treats women and girls equally and a community that is welcoming to women. A lot has to be done in order to resolve the problem of victim mentality, women should not be put in a position where they blame their selves for the hostile act of the offender and also a system that fails to treat them equally. 

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Derara Ansha October 25, 2022 - 1:03 pm

Well done Semira! You came up with strong perspective that challenges the rhetoric of victim approach when it comes to women rights. Buying your idea, I do argue that positioning women rights inside a little box of “victimhood” impedes the actualisation of their rights. With stakeholders involvement, it would be possible to move beyond this discourse.

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