GBV: The Invasion of Hegemonic Masculinities
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inseparable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of peace justice and freedom in our villages, towns, cities communities, societies, in our nation and the entire world.
This is a clause that marks the beginning of the Universal declaration of human rights. Gender Based Violence, we know it, we have heard about it, we have seen it and we have read about it too. It is a rare matter at the Police Station because such acts are often concealed by the parties involved but, they are common in our homes as well as public institutions like schools and Universities. In cases of abuse and oppression, there are three people and these are:
- The perpetrator
- The victim
- The witness
Perpetrator of Gender Based Violence (GBV) mostly men, though nowadays it is not restricted to gender as recent records have shown that there has been an increase in the number of women perpetrated Gender Based Violence cases taking place in our country. However, it is evident that that women and girls in most countries across the world are victims of violence such as murder of women, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and trafficking of women and girls. Regardless of race, nationality, age, social class, women are victims of sexual, physical, psychological and economic violence in most societies. This means that women and girls are vulnerable to violence when it comes to issues pertaining to their bodies.
Therefore, it is important to advocate for the stop to all violent traits directed toward the female folk everywhere. There is nothing that comes out of raising hands on women. It only makes men cowards in that people who take advantage of someone’s helplessness and attacks the other using the weakness performs an act of cowardice. Societal norms and customs have rendered women as fragile, sensitive, vulnerable and dependent on men‘s decisions in order to live. As a result, women and girls have come to believe these notions about themselves. Hence, this is why some men take advantage of this psychological acceptance and hurt women in all sorts of ways. Psychologically, showing emotion is a normal behaviour of a human being. It’s what make us we human. However, what could make one so angry that they fail to exercise control and angrily attack a woman? This question is asked on the basis of those men that give excuses for violently causing harm to their spouse. This is mostly common in traditions where women are considered as inferior over the men. Today, you say you love her and the next day, she a punching bag. Today she is the woman of your dream and tomorrow she is a slave. Does it pay to see her cry? Does it pay to see the smile that made you gaze at her fade like foam? Do you ever think of what could become of her as her hate accumulates?
The fact is she will become unrecognizable. The look of affection in her eyes will disappear and it replaced by blood looking eyes –with that glare she thinks of nothing but protecting herself even with the worst possible means. Many women have been turned into ruthless people because of how are treated. Nevertheless, women should be also fight for themselves through the right means. The Victim Support Unit (VSU) exists in every country as a platform where GBV perpetrators can be prosecuted for their crime. In African setups, women would rather keep quiet while they are living in abuse homes in order to save their marriages or in fear that their abuse spouse will be sent to prison for abusing them. However, this only gives power to the abuser. Most women wait for their abusers to change but, in most cases; the violence continues and thus, many female folk end up losing their lives in the process. There is indeed need to respect culture and tradition but, not at the expense of one’s life. As a result, women should work on eradicating toxic hegemonic masculinities that make their lives a living hell.
Gender based violence also affects witness. These can be either the neighbors, family like women and children and friends. There has been some reports about how some women cover up the abuse in their homes especially when perpetrate by family members. There are cases where fathers, sisters, brothers or even uncles and cousins abuse girl and boy children in the house. Some witnesses especially women usually keep these incidents hidden away from the community as a result, victims grow up traumatized, full of hate for both their abusers and the witnesses. It is quite unfortunate when a child or grown up men or women narrate their stories about how they lived in an abusive home when they had someone to protect them from harm yet this person turned a blind eye to it or chose not to disclose this act of betrayal.
Let the perpetrators stop oppressing women, let the women speak for themselves and take action against the harm perpetrated on them and let witnesses peak out about the wrong they have witnessed as they will be saving a life from mental hell and torture. #StopGBV