VIOLENCE: The use of physical force that harms a person or a person’s property.
Injury especially to something that deserves respect or reverence.
Improper or damaging attention.
Swift and intense force.
Rough or injurious physical force, action or treatment.
Rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling, expression or language etc.
Violence against women includes threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Violence against women can occur in private (such as in the home) or in public settings (including places of work and educational institutions).
As domestic violence awareness has increased, it has become evident that abuse can occur within a number of relationships. The laws in many states cover incidents of violence occurring between married couples. In many African countries, Gender Violence is the order of the day. More than two-thirds of women in Africa are believed to have experienced one form of violence or another. These come in the forms of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological harm traceable to the family, workplace or community. On a daily basis, women and girls are tortured, beaten, battered, punished, harassed, raped and maimed in one way or the other. These include acid attacks, female genital mutilation, sexual slavery, forced impregnation, harmful traditional practices or worst still murder.
Types of Gender Violence:
Physical violence: Beating, Acid, Weapon, hard labour, Female genital mutilation etc.
Sexual violence: Rape by father, brother, boss, teacher, relatives, fellow students, colleagues,
Using sharp objects on breast or buttocks
Forcing the woman to perform sexual acts that are against her wish.
Forcing a woman to sleep with a friend or brother.
Unbearable words like harlot, foolish woman, good for nothing, ass hole, etc.
Intimidation from male Boss, teachers, spouse etc
Talking to the woman in a way that she feels she is dirty and not needed in the community.
Constantly reminding her of her childlessness or not being educated.
Withholding a woman from having friends.
Not allowing a woman to have a job.
Using the children or girl friends against the woman of the house.
Not giving the woman feeding money.
In a relationship, the man may use a number of tactics other than physical violence in other to maintain power and control over his partner.
Emotional: Denial of love, care, rejection, constant condemnation etc Many say that the emotional abuse they have suffered has left deepest scars.
Isolation: it is common for an man to be extremely jealous, and insist that the woman do not visit her friends or family members. the resulting feeling of isolation may then be increased for the victim if she loses her job as a result of absenteeism or decreased productivity (which is often associated with people who are experiencing domestic violence).
Community violence: High bride price, Taboo on certain food.
Threats and Intimidation: threats – including threats of violence, suicide, or of taking away the children – are a very common tactic employed by the men. The existence of emotional and verbal abuse, attempts to isolate, and threats and intimidation within a relationship may be an indication that physical abuse is to follow. Even if they are not accompanied by physical abuse, the effect of these incidents leaves very much to be desired.
Gender violence occur throughout our life cycle
Prenatal phase: Battering during pregnancy (emotional and physical effects on the woman, effects on birth); coerced pregnancy; (rape during war, deprivation of food and liquids; prenatal sex-selection.
Infancy: Female infanticide; emotional and physical abuse; differential access to food and medical care for girl infants
Childhood: Child marriage; genital mutilation; sexual abuse by family members and strangers; differential access to food and medical care; education, child prostitution.
Adolescence: Rape/sexual assault; forced prostitution /trafficking in women; courtship violence; economically coerced sex; sexual abuse in the workplace, forced abortion.
Reproduction age: Abuse of women by intimate partners; marital rape; dowry abuse and murders; psychological abuse; sexual abuse in the workplace; sexual harassment; rape; abuse of women with disabilities.
Old age: Abuse and exploitation of widows.
Myths about Family Violence: Family Violence is common:
Although statistics on family violence are not precise, it’s clear that millions of children and women are abused physically by Family members and other intimates. It is not visible since it happens behind closed doors.
Myth: Family violence is confined to the lower classes.
Reports from police records, victim services, and academic studies show that domestic violence exists equally in every socioeconomic group, regardless of race or culture.
Myth: Alcohol and drug abuse are some of the causes of violence in the home
Because many male who beat their wives also abuse alcohol and other drugs, it’s easy to conclude that these substances may cause domestic violence. They apparently do increase the lethality of the violence, but they also offer the excuse to evade responsibility for his behaviour. Domestic violence and substance abuse are two different problems that should be treated separately.
Myth: Battered wives fate: The most common response to battering – “Why doesn’t she just leave? Ignores economic and social realities facing many women. Shelters are often full and family, friends, and the workplace are frequently less than fully supportive. Faced with rent and utility deposits, day care, health insurance, and other basic expenses, the woman may feel that she cannot support herself and her children. Moreover, in some instances, the woman may be increasing the chance of physical harm or even death if she leaves an abusive spouse.
High blood pressure as a result of depression
Unwanted pregnancy, no access to health care and information.
Unsafe abortion and possible injury sustained.
Sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
And other health complicated issue.
What can each of us do?
Speak out publicly against gender violence.
Take action personally against gender violence when a neighbour, a co-worker, a friend, or a family member is involved or being abused and make referral for immediate action ie: MWASD, Women lawyers, Gender Focused NGOs.
Advocate towards changing harmful traditional/cultural practices.
Encourage your neighbourhood watch or block association to become as concerned with watching out for domestic violence as with burglaries and other crimes.
Reach out to support someone whom you believe is a victim of gender violence and /or talk with a person you believe is being abusive.
Help others become informed, by inviting speakers to your church, professional organization, civic groups, or workplace.
Support gender violence counselling programmes and shelters
People’s Role in the Community:
Neighbours must intervene when they hear violent fights in their neighbourhoods. Don’t turn up the radio or CD to block out the sounds of the drunken argument next door, call other people for help.
Teachers should be alert to signs that students have witnessed violence at home. Children who grow up in violent homes are more likely to become violent themselves.
Medical professionals who see the victims of violence need to ask them about these crimes. Too often doctors or emergency room personnel accept the statement of fearful victims that their bruises or cuts are as a result of household accidents or falls. When a woman with a black eye says that she fell and hit the doorknob, doctors and nurses must ask: “Did someone hit you?
Members of the clergy, policy makers, parents and young boys need to become more involved as well. We just can’t tell a battered spouse to “go home and make it work,” as was done in the past. Sending a woman back to a battering husband often places her life at risk. Of course, we can’t tell a woman who lives in a violent relationship what to do, but we can make a greater effort to let her know that other options are available for her and her children. tell a battered spouse to “go home and make it work,” as was done in the past. Sending a woman back to a battering husband often places her life at risk. Of course, we can’t tell a woman who lives in a violent relationship what to do, but we can make a greater effort to let her know that other options are available for her and her children. Early intervention is crucial.