Are women protected against violence?
The empowerment and protection of women remains to deteriorate globally. The United Nations collaborating countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, France and India follow the ‘Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ and was created in 1993. This law delineates violence against women as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’. The common, daily and undetected disobedience of these laws feed into the physical and mental exploitation of women, scarring innocent, victimised women for the rest of their lives.
The severity of this situation has been brought to light through the murder of Sarah Everard in the UK. Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, was arrested on 9 March for the murder and kidnapping of Sarah Everard.  This case highlights the vulnerability of women even when they believe they are under the protection of the law and those who enforce it. The poor handling of this situation had aggravated female protestors nationally. The law becomes hypocritical when having to prosecute someone working for them. There are many loopholes in situations like this in which the accused pleads ‘innocent’claiming they were ‘just trying to do their job’ or use their ‘honour’ and ‘previous work done for the law enforcement’ to defend the allegations they are facing. In hindsight, they are given the ability to hide behind their job role. Equal treatment needs to be given to all criminals regardless of their work status and the court needs to be able to create a boundary between this.
Ultimately, the issue is the acclimation of gender brutality. Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commissions, stated in a report titled ‘Pressing for progress: women’s right and gender equality in 2018’, that “It is estimated that only 15% of survivors of sexual violence report their experience to the police”  solitarily supporting the transparent hiding of conspicuous acts against women. Hilsenrath goes on to say “The priority must now be ensuring that women and girls of all ages can enjoy their basic right to feel safe in their everyday lives. Our recommendations are intended to improve the lives of women and girls to protect their fundamental rights.”
Women have become accustomed to their inferior placing within society and morally this should not be permitted. This inequality becomes a problem for everyone when the lives of people’s mothers, sisters and daughters are being risked. The equality and safety of women is not just a goal and benefactor for women but plays a heavy role in the sustainability of the world as well as ensuring global peace and security. Although, physical laws have been put in place for protection of women against violent acts, more needs to be done punishment wise. Perpetrators should be heavily punished, and cases should not be let go purely on a biased gender-basis. This can be portrayed by the VAWG report intertwining a broad range of offences including domestic abuse, rape, stalking and so-called honour-based abuse. Figures for 2018-19 show a 15.1 per cent fall in prosecutions and a 14.3 per cent drop in convictions across the domestic abuse, rape, and sexual offences caseload. The number of convicted cases for the already low number of cases, which are reported instead of being hidden, are appalling.
This leads to the linkage of convictions and prosecutions being dropped because of gender reign in society and the law does not extend to these stereotypes. The average jail time given is 8 years  and the law fails to recognise the unfairness of the system due to the imbalance of gender rights. Is a punishment of 8 years fair for committing such a horrifying crime that will either scar or completely end the life of a woman? However, this adequate justice was not exemplified in a recent case involving Brock Turner, a former Stanford University varsity swimmer, who sexually assaulted a woman that was unconscious after drinking at a fraternity party.  The sentence given by the Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky’s caused indignation and disapproval of the jury as he allowed the perpetrator to escape the hardships of his sentence. He was defended as being ‘liked in the legal community’ displaying the bias faced. This opposes the legal system’s support given to victims of sexual assault and showed favour for the assailant. In the patriarchy we live in, a consistent stereotype is the need for a man’s reputation to be untouched regardless of the woman suffering the consequences.
To combat the substandard attitudes against helping women reaching the justice they need, the law needs to be able to mould itself for circumstances that involve offenders working for the law, and that they should not be given any special treatment, which disregards the extremity, resulting in an uproar of protesters. Furthermore, the superiority of a role in court should not be used to achieve justice through personal bias as it leads to a negative message being sent to other victims of assault and violence. The law should be able to overthrow the stereotypical, sexist values of the patriarchy to favour the correct party.
The cost of a life should not be paid by preserving the reputation of the offender.
 - United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women - https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/vaw/v-overview.htm
 - Death of Sarah Everard - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Sarah_Everard
 - Violence against women and the murder of Sarah Everard - https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/violence-against-women-and-the-murder-of-sarah-everard
 - Equality and Human Rights Commission - https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-work/news/more-must-be-done-protect-women-and-girls-violence-equality-body-warns
 - Annual Violence against Women and Girls Published Report - https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/annual-violence-against-women-and-girls-report-published-0
 - Ministry of Justice Figures - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/may/26/rape-sentence-average-eight-years-justice-figures
 - Stanford rape case judge explains controversial Brock Turner sentence - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/stanford-rape-case-judge-explains-controversial-brock-turner-sentence-a7083406.html