Gender violence gets manifested in many ways, ranging from forced marriage to female genital mutilation. Gender-based violence refers to violence against individuals belonging to different genders. Two types of gender violence are happening around us. They are interpersonal and institutional violence.
Interpersonal violence is the act of violence against an individual by another individual. Whereas on the other hand, institutional violence is the infliction of violence against a person by a community. It can also be from a family. These acts of violence can be physical, economic, emotional, psychological, or ideological.
Even now, gender violence continues as a way of maintaining the status quo and gender hierarchy. It is a cultural issue that we have to address. These forms of violence prevail as a way of encouraging masculinity as well.
Here, we will consider the history, current situation, and the impact of gender violence. We will also look at different ways to stop gender-based violence.
Patriarchy has been assumed as natural from the third-century BCE¹. Since then, there has been the ideology of ‘patriarchal privilege².’ It is a concept that tries to present men are superior to other genders.
Besides, there are three main traditions from the past. They are Judeo-Christian, Greek philosophy, and common law legal code. As per these frameworks, people gave importance to patriarchal dominance. And, they accepted violence against women and female inferiority as cultural phenomena.
During that time, people valued the superiority of the intellectual contributions made by men. Even now, it continues in many places. When it comes to female contributions, they were either related to procreation or domestic affairs. It was only in the 1970s that laws and agencies became active to stop violence against women.
But, gender-based violence against women continues. As per research³, around 66,000 women and girls get murdered because of gender violence yearly.
When it comes to LGBTQ+ communities, gender-based violence because of homophobia continues even now. But, since the 1870s, there have been movements to reduce violence against LGBTQ+ communities. Even though there have been changes, a lot more has to be done to bring equality.
Before, the LGBTQ+ community faced prosecution from authorities and medical warnings. Other than that, there are instances of banning them. Even now, in many countries, these forms of institutional gender-based violence exist.
When we analyze the current situation of gender-based violence against women, one in three women⁴ has faced gender violence at least once in their lifetime. It accounts for 736 million women as per the details furnished by UN Women⁵. It means that 30% of women above 15 years have faced some form of gender violence.
But, when it comes to the number of cases reported, it is only 6%, especially for sexual violence.
Through this, it is clear that only a small percentage of cases come to the surface. When it comes to others, they remain unrepresented. One of the primary reasons for this is the prevalence of many stigmas and fears.
During the pandemic, there has been a rise in violence against women. It happened because of the breakdown of the social structure, worsening gender inequality.
The LGBTQ+ community belongs to the high-risk category of gender-based violence. Since 2011⁶, there has been a 300% increase in anti-LGBTQ+ crimes. When it comes to anti-trans crimes, it has risen by 700%.
From this, it is clear that the violence faced by the LGBTQ+ community is high. When these forms of crimes happen, they will impact the mental and physical well-being of the person involved.
Another concern is that many hate crimes towards the LGBTQ+ community remain unreported. As per the police reports of Britain and Wales for 2018-19⁷, there has been a 25% increase in crimes linked to sexual orientation from 2017.
While for transgender identity-based crimes, the increase is by 30%. In the US, one in three people from the LGBTQ+ community faced discrimination in 2019. These figures show that even now, violence based on gender continues to impact people and our societies.
Gender-based violence can affect a person in different ways. It can have physical, sexual, mental, economic, and reproductive impacts. Here are some ways by which gender-based violence affects a person.
Here, the person might get urinary tract infection, genital injuries, untimely pregnancies, and STIs.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) is one of the main psychological issues affecting victims of gender violence. Other issues include depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, sleep disturbances. There can be concerns related to shame, anger, and inability to concentrate as well.
Here, the person would have to spend a lot of money on their healthcare. Other than that, there are chances of losing one’s earnings too.
Besides, the stigmas and rejection from our communities would also adversely impact the person. Hence, it is essential to take necessary measures and seek help to overcome these concerns.
Here are some ways by which we can stop or reduce gender-based violence.
We can reduce acts of violence by creating awareness and by moving away from gender stereotypes. Here, the provision of early education in the form of school-based intervention can be helpful.
For instance, initiatives like Mentors in Violence Prevention conducts educational sessions. Their focus is on creating awareness. They use tools like role-plays to form a better understanding among youngsters.
Since many people undergo gender-based violence, we must offer support. The laws and regulations play a pivotal role in providing them. For instance, in the US, there is the Victim of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2002⁸. It is an initiative to help immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. Here, the government assists them in applying for residency in the US.
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