Times like these have many prone crises like Gender-Based Violence (GBV). I recently saw a post on social media that read, “ladies, check on your sisters-in-law coz they are now on lockdown with your brothers”, that sunk deep to me.
Then I thought, what if home is actually not “home?” What if we felt safer at our workplaces and schools, what if our comfort zones were those moments with the other women at the market places, water points, SACCO groups, and women safe spaces, what if schools were our “first homes?”
With the outbreak of the COVID-19, given the lockdown of government, social and family support systems, and all concentration to cabbing down the virus spread, which is of course priority right now to ensure no more people are infected.
But as we think about the virus, have we thought about the consequences of delaying a victim’s access to immediate medical attention after abuse or arresting a perpetrator or delaying court hearings?
Do we still have these referral structures operational and easily accessed by the community?
Forms of GBV are pervasive and life-threatening issues deeply rooted in socio-cultural beliefs and practices of gender inequality and often disempowerment of women. I know of a community where women take pride in being beaten by their spouses. “When he beats us, we know he loves us, but when he doesn’t, it means someone out there is having his attention,” they said
This is very disheartening right!!! It’s really sad to know that society is not progressing as such beliefs still stand out and we women still do not know we are actually being abused yet sugar coat it “love”
Let’s talk about that young boy or girl who is abused by a parent or relative and actually has no “safe space”. Besides Chemistry and Biology, how much information on GBV and its forms is actually given to these students at school? When should they know they are being victimized? What are the referral pathways they should know? Even during this lockdown, it’s necessary that parents take time to have those random conversations with their children; about life, future dreams, SRH challenges, etc?
Wow, there are so many questions running through my mind.
Besides all the panic caused by the pandemic, the inclusion of Gender-based violence messages should be pushed largely to inform communities about help and services available for survivors; to inform communities about the effects of gender-based violence on individuals, families, communities and to encourage a peaceful coexistence and behavior change.
Before we actually “Stay home”, let’s make homes “Safe spaces for all”.
- * Besides all the panic caused by the pandemic, the inclusion of Gender-based violence messages should be pushed largely to inform communities about help and services available for survivors; to inform communities about the effects of gender-based violence on individuals, families, communities and to encourage a peaceful coexistence and behavior change.