GBV Conference 2019: The Social and Cultural Norms That Propagate Gender Based Violence
On the 16th and 17th of October, delegates from different sectors gathered together at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies to discuss Gender Based Violence and how Kenya can move to become a zero GBV country before we can become a zero corruption country.
The Agenda, tabled Accountability Towards Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence: The Missing Link invited a myriad of discussions as the participants delved deep, often unearthing factors that had seemed forgotten.
Inter -Clan Conflicts
As men from different clans and communities fight over land, boundaries or animals, women and children are often the victims of sexual and physical abuse. This is a serious issue in Kenyan Communities and leads to school dropouts for girls and boys.
Inter-clan conflicts also hinder progress towards gender equality not to mention the trauma women and children have to go through during the conflicts.
This came out strongly in the GBV survivor stories with women citing the tremendous effects the cultural norm has had on them, their children and their source of livelihood. As educated women, we can afford to say no to wife inheritance and support our children even after eviction from the husbands home. What happens to women who are less empowered and need to support their children?
We have to talk about the effects of wife inheritance has and its effect on HIV/AIDS. There is a cause and effect relationship between HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender based violence.
Victim Shaming, Blaming and Normalization of Gender Based Violence
When a person experiences sexual abuse, harassment or rape, society is quick to ask, ‘What are they wearing?, What time of the night/day was it? What did they do?’ It’s no longer about the abuser and the crime but what the victim did to warrant the abuse.
No one deserves to be abused, no matter the time or day or their choice of clothing. We need to stop victim blaming and shaming and we need to start with ourselves.
When you hear someone has been sexually abused, what are the first thoughts that come in mind?
We all have a role to play in ensuring we end gender based violence, jail the perpetrators and create a society where “Women and girls live a life free from violence.” We have to talk about these things. We have to talk about the normalization of abuse in our communities and report all posts on social media that promote the same. If you are going through abuse or you know a person going through abuse, the Gender-Based Violence-free hotline is 1195. Furthermore, if you would like to join a community of women healing from abuse, WhatsApp +254736275978.
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