HUMAN RIGHTS

Gender-based violence must not be justified, excused or rationalised

It undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence

In Summary

• Over 35 per cent of women globally will face sexual and/or intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

• Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.

Gender CAS Rachel Shebesh and Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris during the National Gender Violence Conference on October 16.
GENDER VIOLENCE HOTLINE: Gender CAS Rachel Shebesh and Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris during the National Gender Violence Conference on October 16.
Image: KELVIN MUTINDA

Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are found in all categories of people, be it women, men, girls, or boys, of every age and background.

However, according to World Health Organization, over 35 per cent of women globally will face sexual and/or intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.

The violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence. Young girls face this in most cases since the community thinks that they will bring shame to the perpetrators and thus prefer handling the cases internally.

Yet, many fail to realise that victims of violence may face serious short- and long-term consequences. These may include sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, mental health, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections, HIV-Aids and even death.

In addition, a survivor of GBV may also face stigma and rejection from her community and family. Society has normalised this violence and always seems to blame the victim. 

It is never the victim’s fault to be violated. There is no excuse for SGBV regardless of gender and no GBV crime should ever be justified, excused or rationalised.

We need to work together as society to end all forms of violence and should not forget to include men and boys on prevention.

Kathia is a youth advocate at NAYA Kenya