• December 1st, 2020

Gender-based violence is everyone’s business

Noreen Sitali 

As the country tries to find ways to address the alarming rate of gender-based violence (GBV) one needs to ask certain questions, as to what really triggers one to act so barbaric towards another human beings. The general consensus seems to be that alcohol and drug use may act as a catalyst in escalating conflicts into a violent outburst but can we really attribute such myths or make excuses for such uncalled for behaviors? 

Last week there was an interesting program on television that addressed GBV as well-known personalities took to boxing in pursuit of raising awareness on the seriousness of GBV in the country.

Yes there are many factors attributing gender-based violence such as abusers feeling the need to control their partner because of low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties in regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they feel inferior to the other partner in education and socioeconomic background. Still let’s not attribute so much and unnecessarily to this undesirable act.

It is often said that some people with very traditional beliefs think they have the right to control their partner, and that women aren’t equal to men. Others may have an undiagnosed personality disorder or psychological disorder. Still others may have learned this behavior from growing up in a household where domestic violence was accepted as a normal part of being raised in their family and this where I strongly feel that how we raise our boy/girl-child and the environment that we do bring up our children does in the future projects how they treat others, hence to say that abusers learn violent behavior from their family, people in their community and other cultural influences as they grow up. They may have seen violence often or they may have been victims themselves. Some abusers acknowledge growing up having been abused as a child.

How we raise our boy/girl-child attributes to their future behavior, take for instance, children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands. Although women are most often the victim of domestic violence, the gender roles can and are reversed sometimes.

Alcohol and drugs may contribute to violent behavior. A drunk or high person will be less likely to control his or her violent impulses toward their partner, so keeping such drinking or drug use episodes to a minimum may be valuable for a person living in a domestic violence situation.  The truth of the matter is domestic violence is everywhere, Police and Medicos see the worst of it, the court the end. What is also left unnoticed is the psychological torture.

No cause of domestic violence, however, justifies the actions of the abuser, nor should it be used as a rationale for their behavior. It is only fair to say that possible causes are only to better understand why an abuser believes it is acceptable to abuse their partner physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally. Ultimately an abuser needs to get help for their unhealthy and destructive behavior, or find themselves living a solitary and lonely life but let’s ask ourselves how many of these would shamelessly come forth to seek help,? It is for the abused to report any case of abuse and our justice system ought to strengthen to deal with perpetrators.

Let’s do away with irrelevant blaming such as some women deserve it, No-one deserves to be abused, no matter how they may have behaved.  Contrary, you would say…if it was that bad, why wouldn’t she leave? There are many reasons why women don’t leave including fear, shame, guilt, hope and love.  We as a community need to also be saying publicly & loudly...”Why should the victim & children leave, It is the responsibility of the criminal justice system to protect vulnerable victims. Their safety & protection needs to be NO.1 priority. The perpetrator is the one who needs to leave or be forcibly removed.

While there has been a marked shift in the way this issue is discussed and a definite push to have it taken more seriously, take for example the recent MTC knockout project, there are still far too many stories going untold. And as communicators, those in the media need to play a greater role in ensuring honest, healthy discussions around domestic violence take place - sharing our stories, however difficult that may be, is a key component to ultimately stirring debate and helping evoke change.

This article was written in my personal capacity

Staff Reporter
2019-10-18 08:01:50 | 1 years ago

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