Types,impact and consequences of gender based violence
Gender based violence and inequality seem to be justified on the premise of society’s embedded and insidious discrimination against women.Generally there are two forms of violence which takes psychological or physical form.All women experience violence but only the degree varies due to existing different classes and their perceptions.A serious study of violence needs women to be categorized in various classes.
- The girl child
- Young girl
- Married women
- Urban/rural women
- The women of the fringes of the society eg commercial sex workers,the homeless etc
Reasons why there has been an increased interest in the topic of violence against women
- Violence against women is persuasive.It is also violence against majority of a societies population which makes it of great interest
- Every man has a special relationship with women.They should therefore be well taken of
- Most victims do not complain,as they want to protect the perpetrator.It is often carried out in private.They suffer in silence.
- Some men and women think its normal.It is time they were shown and made aware that violence is not normal and they have a right not to be subjected to any kind of violence.
- The men are the ones to protect the women in the home and society in general while on the other hand they are the very perpetrators of violence and the collaborators eg the police
Categories of Violence against women
Broadly violence against women can be categorized as
- Macro or broad based violence
- Micro or specific and episodic violence
Violence can also be categorized as
- Physical, psychological or mental
- Spousal or non spousal
- Domestic or non-domestic
- Violence against intimates and violence against non intimates
- Direct or Indirect
- Low intensity, medium intensity,high intensity or chronic violence
- Episodic, periodic and perpetual violence
This type of violence consists of everyday discrimination of women and based on gender.This type of violence mainly tends to be mental or psychological.It debases women on a continuous and long term basis.Even where a woman is exposed to micro-violence she cannot avoid the subject of macro-violence.Macro violence can also be indirect violence in that the perpetrator is not necessarily one man or immediately identifiable group of men.
Micro violence consists of episodes of violence which may be isolated or recurring.Most micro violence tends to be physical.This violence mostly consists of violence against morality and male taunting,male staring at women,unsolicited male contact with women, spousal bearing ,female circumcision etc.
One should be aware that violence against women takes many forms.Only women are able to adequately understand and confront this many forms.Before the law is mobolized to respond to violence against women,the type of violence that exist and need to be addressed must be grasped.
General impact of violence conduct on women
Broadly speaking violence against women impacts differently depending on the category
Macro or broad based violence which consists of everyday discrimination,perpetual subjection inequality tends to be mental or psychological.It debases women on a continuous long term basis.Micro violence however consists of specific episodes of violence which may be slated or recurring.
The argument at one time was that the reason why violence has increased is because there is an increase in violence against women or that there is more reporting of incidences of violence against women.
The psychological impact violence has on women must often be dealt with by a psychiatrist.This is to help the victim overcome the traumatic experience and live a normal life again.
Victims of violence are often fearful and insecure.For example victims of sexual assault may not want to be around.Those of domestic violence are forced not to speak out even on their rights due to fear.The children too become insecure and view their home as a den of terror instead of a haven of peace.Children sometimes run away into the streets especially if the perpetrator is the parent who owes the child a duty of care.
Consequences of gender based violence
Violence,whatever the nature is unbearable.Victims must psychologically deal with it so that it does not harm them irretrievably preferably through psychiatric help.Women have not learned to accept violence as their male counterparts tend to perceive.They may have learnt to perceive.They have only learnt to rationalize that theirs is violence prone life and therefore they must torelate violence for their survival and that of their children.Women invest much time dealing with gender based violence which time could be used productively.Women who have been subjected to violence are always fearful,insecure and always have an enduring sense of inequality in comparison to the male gender.The threat of violence alone is violence since it keeps them suspended in fear, unsure of themselves and vulnerable.Eradication of politically and economically motivated violence should forever be agitated for.Robing of half of the population in the society their sense of well being and confidence to perform their best in societal affairs and exposing them perennially to violence makes the society poorer.Children too rebel against violence ,which sometimes often leads them to run away from home.As a consequence therefore there is an increasing menace of street children.
How societies and cultures have responded to violence against women
Most societies seem to encourage and condone rather than discourage gender based violence.In some cultures and also under customary law ,wife beating is acceptable as one of the ways of chastising or disciplining a woman.Wife chastisement is a “legal”consideration in the society.Some ethnic groups however, seem to abhor violence by men directed to women whom the men are supposed to protect.
The belief also that men are superior to women also encourages gender based violence.Societies with such beliefs think that women are lesser species who can be abused without dire consequences attending such abuse.
Men should be re-socialized in order to reverse gender violence against women especially in pre-school,primary and secondary schools.Men also seem to respond to violence positively when the women involved are their daughters,wives,female relatives,female friends etc.To discover reasons in the above scenario would be useful in the wider society to curb general violence against women.
Women who have become aware of their rights have continued to challenge their husbands on their mischievous behavior and have refused to condone it.The men end up beating their wives thus calculating a violent nature to ensure women do not inquire about their whereabouts.
Violence against women is therefore a function of belief fostered in all cultures that men are superior and that the women they live with are their possessions and chattels that they can treat as they wish and as they consider appropriate.
Awareness among women enables them to resist violence and this would include:
• Knowledge that violence against them is illegal,immoral and unacceptable.
• Knowledge of the avenues and institutions through which one can seek redress in case of gender based violence
• Readiness to redress violence
• Independence of the mind and economic means
• Dialogue with spouse or male friends
• Support institutions within the community for victims of gender based violence