Thursday, May 23, 2024

MBGE concerned about misleading GBV headline

Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE) has noted with disappointment the headline made by The Parrot News Online on February 8, 2023 stating that “GBV cases mostly emerge from men who can’t perform well in the bedroom”.   Headlines like these trivialize our fight against GBV. 

MBGE is a registered Non- Governmental Organization which focuses on gender transformative interventions with both men and boys to take action to end violence against women and children; prevent HIV through interactive participation in Sexual and Reproductive health issues.

The organization would like to unequivocally point out that Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a national pandemic threatening the livelihood of Batswana and remains a gross violation of basic human rights.  

GBV continues to ravage our communities. MBGE has always been at the helm of the fight against GBV and has made visible strides in bringing men and boys to the table. They have over the years partnered with Government, local and international members of the civil society, individuals and the media to tailor make programs addressing different Social Ills, reaching out to the remotest areas of the country all in pursuit of empowering the people and eliminating GBV. 

GBV remains one of the most prevalent human rights violations and has been recognised as a public health issue in the country. It transverses across all economic, social and religious classes and it can happen to anyone. World Population Review rape statistics by country 2021, Botswana has been ranked top of all countries on the rape statistics in the world at 92.93 per 100,000 people

There is no single factor that causes GBV but rather a myriad of factors that contribute to it. 

The biggest contributor to gender based violence has to be the gender and cultural stereotypes and norms. They often dictate that men are aggressive, controlling, and dominant, while women are docile, subservient, and rely on men as providers. These norms can foster a culture of abuse outright, such as early and forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM), the latter spurred by outdated and harmful notions of female sexuality and virginity. These norms can also cause violence when they are challenged.

These patriarchal and sexist perspectives ensure dominance and the “superiority” of men which is evidenced by both private (male as the head of the family) and public (unwarranted sexual advances to women on the streets) are a result of the socialisation of gender. 

These conditions further permeate the process of seeking  justice seeing as being a victim of gender-based violence is perceived in many societies as shameful and weak, with many women still being considered guilty of attracting violence against themselves through their behaviour, where they go and what they are wearing This partly accounts for enduring low levels of reporting and investigation.

The lack of economic resources generally makes one more vulnerable to gender based violence. Their dependence on a provider as a wife/ partner, sex worker or employee makes it conducive for patterns of violence and poverty to develop and it is extremely difficult for the victims to extricate themselves as their lives depends on them. When unemployment and poverty affect men, this can also cause them to assert their masculinity through violent means.

The political aspect of GBV emanates from the under representation of women in positions of power and political office since it lessens their chances of shaping discussions to effect change in policy. There are numerous agreements, strategies and documents crafted to address issues of gender inequality and gender based violence but they remain in file cabinets gathering dust and are not implemented because of the lack of women representation in politics. 

The topic of gender-based violence is deemed not to be important, with domestic violence also being given insufficient resources and attention. Women’s and human rights movements have raised questions and increased public awareness around traditional gender norms, highlighting aspects of inequality. For some, this threat to the status quo has been used as a justification for violence.

There is no one cause of Gender Based Violence. Significant numbers of factors contribute to GBV which include but not limited to poverty, illiteracy, intergenerational relationships, violent historical backgrounds, cultural factors, mental health problems and suspicions of infidelity.

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