The social ill that is Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a prominent issue regionally, with neighbouring South Africa going to the extent of raising the matter to a state of emergency in 2019. This crippling phenomena, that has been ever present in our communities, has created generations of people living with the scars – visible and otherwise – of GBV. With the national lockdowns currently in place in many countries due to the coronavirus COVID-19, the problem of GBV is evident. Whether one is a direct victim of GBV or grew up in an environment gripped by this monster, the scars of this affliction in our communities is often carried forward, and its cycle continues. It is key that victims of GBV realise that what they are suffering through is condemnable and that none should have to come across such cruelties.
Gender Based Violence is a phenomenon that occurs beyond the scope of romantic relationships. It is a reflection of misconstrued gender dynamics, where a perpetrator violates another person’s human rights due to a perceived ‘power’ or ‘strength’ as an entitlement of their gender. The negative seed of a patriarchal society is the thinking that being a man gives the authority to use one’s masculinity in abuse and oppression of others. There is no strength in exercising one’s power through the domination of another. This is a mentality that condones oppression of others, and needs to be plucked by its roots to prevent further propagation of this notion. No one has the right to de-value another human being in that manner. No one.
The knowledge that many victims of GBV (continue to) suffer in silence, warrants the need to highlight that sufferers need to tell someone what they are going through and get help and support. There is no one on this planet who is entitled to oppress others, not based on race, status, physical ability, and certainly not based on a factor as per chance as your sex, and/or one’s gender identity and expression.
The scourge of GBV has existed in our communities with unjust reprimand when considering the impact of such exploitations on victims. Those living with the trauma of these crimes are often too scared to come forward for fear of more abuse; the stigma related to approaching police and healthcare services; and worse still, some victims blame themselves for the action and do not report these unwarranted atrocities.
There can be no justification for GBV, in whatever form it takes. There should be no allowance made for one to feel a right to oppress another based on a factor as inherent as one’s gender. To those surviving with the effects of GBV, know that you are not alone. Take a stand, report GBV and seek help. In knowing the number of these cases that exist, a louder call can resonate on the worth of educating each other on the traumatic effects of this behaviour in our society. Let us stand against GBV and encourage sufferers and survivors to join in creating awareness to cultivate a society in which this crime is not permitted to thrive. In speaking up and joining our voices in unison, we can amplify our cry to a volume that cannot go unheard.