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The Geography of Fear and Domestic Violence and Its Relationship to Space - Essay Example

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The Geography of Fear and Domestic Violence and Its Relationship to Space

It is estimated that 78% of all rape and sexual assault victims are usually women. In addition, of the 600 000 to 800 000 people who become the victims of human trafficking every year, a whooping 80% comprises of women and girls. (2008) This helps explain the geography of fear, including the spatial aspects of fear and domestic violence.
Geography of fear analyses the spatial aspects of people's fear of violence in different settings. Valentine posits that women are often fearful of crime that seems to be directly related to their sense of vulnerability to men and the understanding of the seriousness and terror that such crimes bring to mind. (1989, p. 385) Childhood and adult experiences are said to highly influence women's fear as far as sexual violence is concerned. These fears are then deeply ingrained in the women through social messaging; how society views and treats its women. If they are treated as sex objects the fear of violence becomes even more real to them. The fears that women have with regards to rape and other forms of violence, either physical or sexual determines to a large extent the kind of choices they make that affect their lives on a daily and /or on a long term basis. The women therefore take precautions that are spatial in nature as a way of dealing with their fear. This may involve not going out at night or even avoiding certain places.
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According to Pain, for the most part analyses into the fear of crime only describe or explain what effects both sexual and physical violence has especially in as far as it reflects gender inequality. The social geography of fear looks into the differences between public and private space with regards to the perception of danger, also the categorization of space into either safe/dangerous or even, closed/open places. In the spatial expression of patriarchy, women attach fear to public places and devise safety measures to deal with this fear. It then becomes important to understand areas where women are most likely to be victimized as well as areas that are mostly linked with the risk of crime. This entails comprehending the spatial patterns of fear. Various experiences are responsible for influencing, shaping and changing women's relation to space. Experiences and attempts at violence, incidences of sexual harassment, social and emotional characteristics such as increased feelings of vulnerability and lack of social support including feelings of not having control over what happens to one self all have spatial repercussions. They are responsible for creating spaces in which women are excluded on the basis of their gender. More over, these feelings may increase with progression in age, after suffering injuries, pregnancy and motherhood. (1997)
Violent crimes against women as rape have been found to take place not only in bedrooms and other private and semi private settings but also in the back of alleys. The spatiality of fear is said to be responsible for the behavior and quality of urban life. (Pain, 2001) Out of fear, women may avoid streets and alleys in urban areas that they may consider to be unsafe. Accordingly, different classes/types of women are likely to fear crime more than others. For instance, those who feel like they are not fully integrated in the places where they live such as communities and neighborhoods, those who ...Show more

Summary

Domestic violence has been defined as violence that occurs between partners who are either currently or were in a relationship. It takes the form of physical, mental and psychological abuse. (Domestic violence.org, 2007) As a result of the violence, fear is ingrained into the victims…
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