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Let’s all talk about gender-based violence in our homes, at church and at school

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In Africa, cultural factors have been blamed for contributing to most cases given that most African societies are patriarchal. [Courtesy]

It was a normal working day when an update came through our channels that a lady was allegedly killed by her husband in Kahawa. This was another of the many sad stories that my colleagues and I had to deal with.

However, as I jotted down the details, I realized it wasn’t just another story. It was someone I knew from the church. I remembered her vividly as she stood in front of the assembly inviting us to her wedding. This lady had spent most of her youth in church praising God and praying for a soul mate. No one could imagine that the love of his life could be associated with his sudden death less than two years after a happy marriage.

This is the reality of gender-based violence (GBV). Stories of death and pain caused by gender-based violence no longer come from very distant sources. They involve people known from our communities and localities and usually the most unlikely. Today he is an athlete, the next day a well-known musician and another day a cleric.

This is why the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV is an important part of the process to tackle this threat. They provide an opportunity for all people to express their opinions and possible solutions within their small communities. Besides the media coverage, the church should be roped up for seminars and sermons on the same topic. Schools and institutions should also organize events. Let this be a topic of discussion in staff rooms and classrooms. That way, the company would feel the impact of 16 days of activism and likely take action.

In Africa, cultural factors have been blamed for contributing to most cases given that most African societies are patriarchal. Legally, few authors are confronted with the consequences of their action. This is because most cases go unreported or are dealt with culturally and outside the scope of the law.

Again, there is a correlation between cultural and legal factors fueling GBV. Victims suffer from cultures that view them as weak and guilty of attracting violence against themselves.

The economic causes vary from the supposed role of men as automatic providers and breadwinners to money used as a tool of control and manipulation. On the other hand, women’s financial independence also has its own implications.

When the 16 days of GBV screening are over on December 10, may the UN give the men their 16 days because men are also suffering.

-The writer is a presenter at Radio Maisha


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