Globally, one in three women has experienced physical violence, one out of five exposed to sexual violence and eight in ten harassed on the street. Violence against women has been recognised by the World Health Organisation (be it sexual, physical or psychological) as a major public health issue and should be seen as violation of women’s human rights.
Gender-based violence against women has also been acknowledged globally as a violation of basic human rights, where its perpetrators are expected to be punished. Many researchers has highlighted the health burdens, demographic consequences and intergenerational effects of such violence on women including low self-esteem, disempowerment, diseases, poor mental health, poor use of contraceptive, and other negative effect on her general wellbeing.
Furthermore, a lot of theories have been put forward to explain why men commit violent acts against women. But opposing to popular belief, research stipulates that alcohol and drugs, poor anger management skills, women poor economic empowerment, mental illness or violent upbringings aren’t the major factors. Although there is no single reason of high rate of male violence against women, however global research shows that one of the strongest predictors is GENDER INEQUALITY.
In Africa, women are generally viewed as a tool to be used by men. They are considered as objects to be used for temptation, pleasure and elimination. When a man beats his wife, absolute nothing will happen rather she (the wife) would be expected to go on her knees and beg him. Most society accepts this practice which reflects low status of women and the perception that men are superior to women.
Shockingly, some women actually believe that their husband is justified in hitting them because they think they have low status. Such perception should not be accepted as it could act as a barrier to women accessing healthcare for their children and themselves, affect their attitude towards pursing a better life and can damage their general well-being as mentioned earlier.
The big question is: Can this issue be prevented?
The Answer is YES it can. Prevention should start very early in life, by working and educating our young (children) boys and girls, promoting respectful relationships and equality in gender.
GIRLS, always speak out against any form of violence.
Women empower yourselves. Try to live each day realizing an ounce of your dream. Let your dream drive your actions, just like Mo Abudu would always say “if you can think it, you can do it”.