Gender-based violence is the use of physical force, threats, or abuse against someone because of their gender. Examples include sexual violence, intimate partner violence (i.e., spouse abuse), sexual harassment, stalking, economic abuse, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, forced marriage, honor killings, human trafficking (sex slaves), forced sterilization, female genital mutilation (FGM), and acid attacks on women and girls.
It is important to note that gender-based violence is not limited to women. Men can be victims of gender-based violence as well. The World Health Organization defines it as “any act that causes or threatens injury, death or damage to health” (WHO). The roots and causes of gender-based violence are complex. It is believed that this type of violence has been around for centuries and continues today because many societies have not fully addressed its causes or addressed the needs of victims (WHO).
Gender-based violence is complex and deeply rooted in our society. Gender norms that reinforce male superiority over women are a significant factor in perpetuating gender-based violence. These norms include:
Men have a right to control women’s sexuality; a belief that men can protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances by asserting their masculinity; an idea that male aggression is acceptable; and a lack of social support for women who report being abused by their partners.
The causes of gender-based violence can be traced to past experiences of sexism, discrimination, inequality and marginalisation. Women are often victims of domestic violence because they cannot protect themselves or their children from abusers. In many cases, they may not even be aware that they are suffering from abuse until it becomes severe enough to warrant intervention.
In addition to the physical and sexual abuse that many women experience as victims of domestic violence, they may also suffer emotional abuse, such as being threatened with violence if they try to leave their abusive partner. This can cause them severe psychological damage, which can last for years after the physical abuse has stopped.
The world has seen a lot of news about gender-based violence in recent times. A video of a young girl being beaten by her brother and some men for escaping FGM went viral. The act is considered to be a shameful thing in our society. But it was still shocking to see how people reacted to the incident. The main reason why this incident shocked us so much is because it happened in our own country, and we had no idea of its existence until that moment. We knew there was an issue with FGM, but we did not realise that it was so prevalent and harmful to many girls and women around us.
After seeing the video for the first time, I felt a burning rage directed at both the perpetrators and the bystanders who did nothing to stop the abuse. But then I realised that most people who view such videos do nothing to stop them, either out of fear or because they mistake what they see for entertainment. Another reason why this incident shocked me so much is that it showed how different people could react according to their own backgrounds, beliefs, and life experiences.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation that affects both women and men. It’s important to remember that GBV doesn’t solely affect women and girls; men can also be victims. Male victims of sexual assault are rarely believed in the same way as female victims, and many men have felt ashamed about their experiences of violence. We must remember that every man experiences violence differently, whether or not it has been a violent physical assault. Victim blaming is still too common, and we should aim to help men who’ve survived sexual assault get their lives back on track.
In a recent incident; the viral video by Kenyan YouTuber 2mbili has sparked debate in the country about gender equality. The video shows an injured 2mbili, whose head was allegedly broken by a baby mama. 2mbili claims that the baby mama was responsible for his injuries and gives the reason as “because I am a man.”
In this day and age, with more advances in technology and increasing education, one would think that all gender-based violence would be minimal. This is not the case, however; each year, thousands of people are raped, assaulted, murdered, and mutilated by men and women around the world.