Gender-Based Violence has become a topic of great concern in the recent decade. With more people regarding it more than before, the elephant in the room in the fight against toxic patriarchal systems has taken the front stage. Though this might appear or look like a centred or one-sided topic, it affects us all. You, me, and everyone else regardless of our genders.
Gender-Based Violence cuts across several issues like rape, molestation, sexual assault, and prejudices. It isn’t limited to physical attacks as one can be violated by words as much as they can be by actions.
It is no new idea or inspiration that gender-based violence isn’t just a problem that appears as superficial as it might seem. It digs deeper. It digs deep into mindsets. The mindset of the populace! No matter how much we try to shrug it, in more ways than one, it is the reason we haven’t seen an end to the treacherous acts and why we might not in a while.
This mindset comes from different sources, and against all prejudices, culture and religion play a big role. History has had the female gender as the minimized gender. Hence it isn’t so hard for people to treat them as such. From experience, I can say this ideology of women, females, being the weaker and less important gender is still rooted in many minds regardless of the fact that most people are enlightened.
It might sound quite ambiguous, but ending GBV goes beyond giving stricter punishments, which I in no way debase/demise as ineffective. It goes deeper into tuning the mindsets of men and women alike. People should be made aware of the equality between the two genders. It isn’t enough to stop at education but to go further to a proper, specific equality promotion.
More on gender-based violence is empowering the gender that is being faulted. As much as we might want to fight for change, how many more of our ladies would be lost before the change we so much crave comes upon us? We should empower our females. It is so prideful that women are being taught martial arts that can be effective during unwanted confrontations. More than just telling our ladies to speak up and flee, we should charge our ladies to fight back as well. Self-defence, more than we know, is a very effective mean.
Now to regard the topic not addressed often, the victims. If we look deeply, most gender-based violence cases are so focused on giving proper punishments that we sometimes forget the victims. Most victims are left with PTSD, pains, diseases, stress that it almost feels like the victims are neglected.
Why is no one talking about it? Why aren’t we considering raising rehabilitation centres, more talk shows, therapy sessions? We are so concerned with the implementation of new rules and laws that strangles the whole concept of GBV. What about making laws and bodies that make the affected fit back into society?
In a way, it is clear to see why most victims don’t come out. After dishing out punishments to the perpetrators, the girl is left with shady sympathy and hurtful stigmatisation, which in a way is worse than no one knowing at all. Olusola Ogunbiyi, a prominent speaker at the public lecture, Gender-Based Violence by IFUMSA (OAU), explicitly listed out the effects of the strains and stress that comes with GBV and the processes that should be taken to combat it, and he was warmly welcomed. I believe we should have more of this. Yes, yes, eliminating the rapists removes this problem, but when are the rapists going to stop??
GBV is as old as the patriarchal system itself. How many girls would we have to sacrifice? So as much as we would like to punish the perpetrators, we should uplift the victims. After all, they are who we are fighting for. Let’s make a world where all genders are equal, loved, and valued. Let’s make a world without GBV.