• Girls are humiliated in education institutions, a reason as to why many have opted to drop out to avoid these violations.
• During emergencies, girls and women are also at heightened risk of violence abuse and exploitation.
For a very long time, gender-based violence against women and girls has been a problem of concern globally.
This violation takes many forms, including child marriage, female genital mutilation, honour killings, trafficking for sex or slavery as well as sexual, emotional or psychological violence. The violations are all over in urban and rural centres, where violations of girls and women in public spaces and public transport is sadly not uncommon.
Girls are humiliated in education institutions, a reason as to why many have opted to drop out to avoid these violations. During emergencies, girls and women are also at heightened risk of violence abuse and exploitation.
In marriages, violation are still evident where the recent data of 2014 from World Health Organization shows that 41 per cent of women reported having sexual or physical violence from their partners.
Online spaces is also not an exceptional in violence against women. Cases of women and girls reporting harassment and abuse from online spaces are on the rise. This has pushed many to leave online platforms to avoid abuse.
The issue does not only affect survivors but also the family at large and the country both socially and economically with data estimating that the pandemic cost up to 3.7 per cent of the GDP.
According to WHO, gender-based violence is a global health problem of epidemic proportions and a fundamental violation of human rights. WHO further estimates that one in three women in their lifestyle have been affected by the pandemic, with seven per cent of women being sexually assaulted by someone else other than a partner and 38 per cent of murder cases among women being committed by an intimate partner.
Despite its brutality, its very unfortunate that crimes involving violence against women and girls are most under-reported and if reported, the perpetrators mostly end up unpunished. In addition, survivors face many significant obstacles due to gaps in criminal law and procedure, gender stereotypes, victim blaming inadequate response of criminal justice leading to victimization.
It’s high time to ensure considerable efforts are enacted to promote women and girls autonomy and ensure realisation of their rights in order to ensure they lead live free from violence.
Some social normal regarding gender rules based violence acceptance such beating wives as a form of discipline in some communities should be highly trampled down.
Crime prevention and criminal justice responses being key in this approach should be done in a victim-centred manner to close loopholes and eliminate discriminatory rules.
The criminal justice system should be developed to respond more promptly and effectively against perpetrators and provide essential services to them to the victims.
Also, the government should provide a response in crisis as Covid-19 pandemic as well establishing gender-based violence recovery centres for survivors in all 47 countries.
Establishing gender-based violence legal services and psychological approach may also help the victims recover from stigma. The community must be sensitised through mobilization activities by volunteers, women groups and the society at large.
Finally, women and girls must be educated on their rights to be free from violence and shown where and how to seek services if affected. No single country that does not yearn for Sustainable Development Goals by Vision 2030 and we cannot achieve if we will still record cases of Gender based violence against women and girls.
Rodgers Otiso and Sharon Namarome are communication students at Rongo University