“Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence towards that person.” – Jean Kilbourne
The idea that women are objects has been strongly linked to gender based violence. Viewing any person or group of people as less than whole human beings who are intelligent, emotional, spiritual and physical allows us to begin to disregard and disrespect their needs, goals and personal agency. When women are viewed as sexual objects, it creates a climate where sexual assault is justified or even viewed as a form of flattery. Messages that convey female submission to male domination minimizes both the sexual agency that women require to be in healthy relationships and to be respected as whole human beings and the subsequent sexual violence that exists when women’s sexual decision making power is removed.
Changing attitudes around sexual violence and moving towards gender equality is an important aspect in moving our society forward and shaping the future for healthy communities free of sexual violence.