Gender Based Violence
Gender Based Violence also known as GBV is a derivative form of human violence that originates because of the victims gender. The most recorded cases of Gender Based Violence are against women and children, especially against young girls below the age of 14. A research by Positive Action for Treatment Access showed that over 31.4% of girls said that their first sexual encounter had been rape of forced sex of some kind.
Surveys carried out showed that close family members of the victim are more likely to commit the act of Gender Based Violence than persons who lack trusted access to these younger wards. The causes of this close range crimes are numerous and range from unmonitored access to child, to mental imbalances or plain reprobate minds.
Even so, the first culprit of this dastard act against vulnerable persons is societal norms. Societal norms are shared expectations of acceptable behavior by groups. This may seem unrelated as any society on the surface level frowns upon the act of Gender Based Violence. In reality however, numerous African cultures have equated the act of rape to be because of the victims conduct. That is, if a woman wears a short skirt, then she is asking for ‘it’ and this mindset places the onus of defense and blame on the victim. This and many other social inferences make it likely that a perpetrator would commit GBV to a victim with little or no reprimand from the society.
Ranking second on the causes of Gender Based Violence (GBV) is the low levels of women empowerment. Women empowerment or the lack of it is a strong determinant of the levels of Gender Based Violence experienced in communities. Communities with a higher level of Women Empowerment, experience lower levels of Gender Based Violence. This is because most women are molested or sexually abused by the men they depend on to provide the necessities of life. As a result, women in communities where they are actively empowered have little or no reasons to depend on their molesters and this in turn, reduces the probability of sexual abuse.
Substance abuse would rank third in the list of the causes of the Gender Based Violence because greater than self-control is a person under the influence narcotics. Communities where drinking alcohol is prevalent and the use of substance is a normal occurrence experience higher levels of Gender Based Violence than communities that frown upon the use of Alcohol and Substance abuse.
Gender Based Violence is more than a crime with a one-time effect. The consequence of this offence travels as far as to the future of the victims and goes as deep as the mental health of the survivors. There are numerous causes and the consequences are more severe than the public is aware of.
We would like to hear from you, what are the causes of Gender Based Violence that is prevalent in your community and what are the long-term consequences you have seen play out in the life of the victims of GBV? We would love to hear from you are would likely feature your contributions on our next article. Always remember, “You matter!”