What is it?
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a type of violence directed at a person due to gender. This includes physical, sexual, and psychological harm in public or private. GBV is typically interchanged with Violence Against Women because most GBVs are directed against women by men. However, GBV is inclusive of crimes against both genders based on stereotypes and inequalities created & reinforced by tradition and the community.
It can happen anywhere. At home, places of employment, public places like restaurants, and streets. The common denominator for both men and women victims is forcing power and control over another person. It shows the inferiority of the victim and the superiority of the attacker/harasser. Women are subjected to harmful & degrading traditions that deprive them of their basic fundamental rights. Because of this and more, GBV is one of the world’s most prominent human rights violations.
Forms of GBV
Many forms of GBV cannot be fully categorized or exact due to their complexity. Violence consists of physical and non-physical forms. The most common ones include:
Physical violence includes any action that causes bodily harm, such as punching, kicking, burning, cutting and more.
Sexual violence includes any sexual activity forced on a person without their consent, such as unwanted touching, rape, sexual assault & harassment, forced abortion & sterilization, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution/trafficking, and more.
Psychological violence refers to emotional and mental harm, such as coercion, verbal harassment (like slander, insults, manipulation), threatening, degrading, sharing intimate photo/video without consent, and more.
Socio-economic violence refers to situations that cause financial dependence and economic issues such as property damage, financial & education restriction like withholding money & spending without consent, and not fulfilling monetary obligations like child support and alimony. This also refers to one person intimidating and depriving another of financial dependence.
The prevalence of GBV holds back a significant portion of our society and reduces chances of growth & development. In addition, a lack of education or awareness of rights prevents the victims from speaking up and getting the justice & freedom they deserve. There are a few key aspects that can help reduce GBV worldwide. They are:
- Education: School systems should include sex education, counseling programs, and courses that help kids understand that violence is wrong, emotional intelligence, masculinity, and more. Teaching kids from a young age that everyone has equal rights can help prevent GBV altogether.
- Healthcare: Healthcare professionals should get the proper training to recognize signs of GBV in situations where victims are afraid to speak up. This way, victims have assistance and can leave their abusive situations.
- Legal Measures: Governments need to reinforce laws on violence (physical and psychological), rape, harassment, etc., and take action against those who break the law.
- Support Group: Victims of GBV need to feel heard and supported. Most of them will get traumatized and constantly live in a state of fear. In addition, communities need to be aware of the devastating effects of violence on the victims and the people around them. Sending a clear message on GBV, its types, results, and prevention allow people to realize its adverse effects and how it holds them back as a society.
- Intervention: While helping victims is essential, it is necessary to put a system in place for perpetrators as well. This way helps prevent the situation and avoids the need for victim support. By having perpetrators understand how their actions affect victims and what could cause them to be violent in the first place, they can take proper steps to avoid GBV.