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The official website of the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office V.E.T.O.

Understanding the Problem





Violence against Women

  • Violence against women and girls takes many forms including physical assault, sexual assault, psychological abuse, and emotional abuse.


  • Not all violence against women leaves visible scars like horrible bruises or broken bones.


  • Violence against women also includes a variety of things we see and hear almost daily: demeaning sexist jokes, domineering or controlling behavior, and unwanted
    sexual advances.


  • It is tempting to treat some of these forms of violence against women as less significant than others.   But all forms of violence against women and girls contribute to the problem; they all contribute to the very real suffering women in our society endure.   Moreover, experts are beginning to realize that all these different forms of violence against women are closely related.   They all have something to do with the fact that we have learned to equate masculinity, or simply being a man, with having the power to dominate and control the people around us.   In other words, men´s violence against women is a result of the way many men learn to express their masculinity in their relationships with women.


  • We know that men are not born naturally violent.   In fact, a lot of men are never or rarely violent, and many of the men and boys we know would never try to dominate or control the women in their lives.   We also know that women can be violent and domineering.   We also know that men are often violent toward other men and boys.   We should, of course, be concerned about these types of violence also, and we are.   But the purpose of the White Ribbon Campaign is to focus on one particular form of violence in our society: men´s violence against women.


  • Those who have studied violence against women have learned three important things which we should be aware of.

    1. First,   violence against women is everywhere.   Every nine seconds a women is beaten by her partner in the U.S.   And virtually all women will be sexually harassed or subjected to domineering behavior.

      Second,   violence against women is not only committed by strangers.   Most women who are physically assaulted know their attacker.   Violence against women is often committed by boyfriends, dates, husbands, employers, and so on.

      Third,   violence against women is largely about control, domination, and a basic lack of human respect.   Those men who honestly respect the women in their lives and do not equate "being a man" with controlling and domineering behavior are less likely to be violent.


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Violence against Women In the Form of Sexual Assault



  • Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed by one person upon another, including rape and any other unwanted fondling or touching.


  • Sexual assault is an act of violence, control, and domination.


  • Sexual assault is, unfortunately, a much too frequent part of women´s lives.   Conservative statistics document that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives.


  • A woman is not responsible for being sexually assaulted regardless of the circumstances, how she reacted, or whether she resisted.   The attacker is responsible.


  • If a woman has been sexually assaulted, she should tell someone.   She is not, and should not be, alone.   She should seek supportive counseling and if necessary, medical attention.   Help is available.


  • Sexual assault of any kind is a crime, even in a marriage or dating relationship.


  • More than half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who are known to the women.


  • Women of all ages, physical types, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and economic circumstances are sexually assaulted; this includes older women and women who are disabled.


  • Men who commit sexual assaults are from every background; rich and poor, of every racial and ethnic group, and are in every kind of job and profession.


  • Every man can control his sexual impulses.   There is no biological excuse for sexual assault.


  • Most people believe that sexual assault happens in "dangerous" places such as dark alleys or parking lots.   But more than half of all sexual assaults take place in private homes.


  • Sexual assaults occur in all kinds of communities; from large urban centers to small isolated towns or rural areas.


  • A woman has the right to say "no" to any form of unwanted sexual activity.


  • If a woman says "no", she means no.   The "no" does not have to be verbal.   It can be indicated by gestures or turning away.


  • Many women live in fear of being sexually assaulted, and are therefore forced to make special arrangements to protect their personal safety.   As a result, women are not as free as men in our society.   Men do not live with this same fear about, and concern for, their personal safety.


  • Source: Based on Ontario Women´s Directorate Resource Sheet


For more information, please see
The White Ribbon Campaign section of this website.


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