What is gender-based violence?
When you think about gender-based violence, you might immediately think about men being violent against women. This wouldn't be wrong chomas. Mainly because most cases of reported gender-based violence involves men committing violence against women. But it's so much more than that; let's discuss what it all really means.
What's the definition of gender-based violence?
Gender-based violence is violence directed against someone based on his or her sex (being male or female) or gender identity (whether someone identifies as a man or woman or even boy or girl). Gender-based violence often has a lot to do with how someone believes another person of a particular gender needs to behave or needs to be treated.
Gender-based violence can affect anyone, not just women and girls, however, as you thought before chomas, women and girls are most at risk and often the most affected by gender-based violence. This is because, regardless of gender, gender-based violence happens because of a power difference between men and women or boys and girls. And women and girls are often seen as the least powerful people.
As smart chomas, we know that this is not true. Women and girls are not weaker than boys and men and boys and men are not better than girls and women. Unfortunately, it is just taking a while for some people, who have an old way of thinking, to see it.
Are there different types of gender-based violence?
Yes there are chomas. Gender-based violence is not just about physical abuse but also other abuse such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, neglect, forced labour, harmful traditional practices (such as forcing someone into marriage) and even elder abuse.
Let me explain a few of the common ones:
- Domestic violence – this is when abuse takes place in the home. It usually involves two people in a relationship, but could also be abuse of family members against someone because of their gender.
- Sexual abuse - this includes rape, human trafficking and sexual harassment.
- Neglect - when someone is not been taken care properly or given the right healthcare or education rights as someone else based on their gender
- Gender “correction” – this is when others try to 'correct' the behaviour of someone who identifies as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
How do we bring an end gender-based violence?
This sounds like a really difficult question to answer chomas. But the best place to start, is with ourselves. Gender-based violence cases will decrease the more we change the way we think and behave, especially when it comes to girls, women and anyone who is part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) community.
Stereotypes and discrimination often result in certain forms of violence. So if more people changed their attitudes about gender, we could see gender-based violence come to an end.
More people should also report cases of gender-based violence to bring an end to it. This could mean reporting something that has happened to you. It might be hard, but it is a step toward speaking out against these cases so that those who abuse others can be stopped. Sometimes gender-based violence is simply accepted as 'normal' but anything that hurts someone or takes away their rights cannot be 'normal'.
If you feel like you've been a victim of gender-based violence you could contact:
POWA – People Opposing Woman Abuse – on 011 642 4345/6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or Lifeline on 082 231 0805 or visit their website on http://www.lifeline.org.za.
Remember chomas, you can also speak to me. Simply send a question via Ask Choma.
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