On the 25th November we celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this very day, we commenced 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence which ended on the 10th December 2013.
Research has shown that up to 70% of women experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Although there has been much contention around this, it should be clear that violence against women is predictable and preventable and therefore there is need for one to remain vigilant at all times in order to note of the signs.
Violence against women has been to not only impact the health and well-being of women but of the children as well and in so doing it impairs the economic development. Given the many efforts to achieve our Millennium Development Goals, violence against women remains a huge obstacle. Studies have also indicated that men who were victims of child maltreatment are three to four times more likely to perpetuate intimate partner violence.
With this in mind, men are encouraged to engage their intimate partners in dialogue so to avoid precarious situations that may culminate to violence. Men are also encouraged to desist from harmful use of alcohol as it clearly impairs one’s judgement and may increase the likelihood of intimate partner violence. Research also tells us that sexual violence is widespread in settings of conflict, post-conflict and displacement suffice it to say that this does not justify any form of violence against women whatsoever.
Women are encouraged to join and actively participate in programmes that increase women’s access to micro-credit and finance and train people in healthy relationship and negotiation skills in order to prevent violence. In the spirit of addressing this situation from grass root level, school-based programmes that teach and equip young adults with the knowledge to prevent dating violence will go a long way in preventing violence against women.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidance on how to implement evidence-based programmes for the prevention of intimate and sexual violence against women. Mechanism for healthcare provides to address the consequences of sexual violence have been outlaid already by WHO. Who also supports research on understanding and preventing sexual violence.
In conclusion, as you can see, much is already happening but there is much more ground to cover. This is a joint effort, a burden that each one of us be it man or women, adolescent, teenage or adult must carry through.