Gender-based violence is a prevalent problem that affects millions of women worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
This violence can take many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, female genital mutilation (FGM), and human trafficking.
While there are numerous factors that contribute to gender-based violence, understanding the root causes of this problem is crucial to developing effective prevention and intervention strategies. Here is a look at some of the key factors that contribute to the high rates of GBV in our society today.
Patriarchal norms and gender inequality
Patriarchy, or the system of male dominance, is one of the primary drivers of gender-based violence. In patriarchal societies, men are socialised to believe they are superior to women and have the right to control and dominate them.
This belief system can lead to a range of abusive behaviours, including physical and sexual violence, emotional abuse, and economic exploitation.
Additionally, gender inequality and discrimination can contribute to women’s vulnerability to violence. Women who are economically or socially marginalised may have fewer resources to leave abusive relationships or seek legal protection.
Cultural norms and beliefs
Cultural norms and beliefs can also play a role in perpetuating gender-based violence. For example, in some cultures, violence against women is seen as acceptable or even necessary to maintain social order.
Traditional gender roles that dictate women’s subservience to men can also contribute to violence. Some men may feel entitled to use violence to enforce these gender roles, particularly if they perceive their masculinity as being threatened.
Substance abuse and mental health issues
Substance abuse and mental health issues can also contribute to gender-based violence. Individuals who struggle with addiction may become violent when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, individuals with untreated mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, may be more likely to engage in violent behaviour.
Lack of education and awareness A lack of education and awareness about gender-based violence can also contribute to the problem. Many individuals may not understand the impact of violence on women’s lives or the legal and social consequences of such behaviour.
Additionally, victims of violence may not know where to turn for help or fear retaliation if they report the abuse.
Poverty, unemployment, and financial stress can increase the risk of violence within intimate relationships. Women who are financially dependent on their partners may feel trapped in abusive relationships or may be unable to leave due to economic constraints.
In some cases, men may resort to violence as a means of exerting control over their partners or to cope with the stresses of poverty.
Historical and political factors
Historical and political factors can also play a role in gender-based violence. In many countries, violence against women has been used as a tool of oppression throughout history.
For example, during times of conflict or war, women may be targeted for sexual violence as a means of terrorizing communities. Additionally, political instability and weak rule of law can make it difficult for women to access legal protections or hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Media and popular culture stereotypes
Media and popular culture can also contribute to gender-based violence by perpetuating harmful stereotypes and attitudes.
For example, movies and TV shows that depict violence against women as entertainment can desensitise viewers to the issue and reinforce the idea that such behaviour is acceptable.
Additionally, advertising and marketing that sexualize women’s bodies can contribute to a culture of objectification, which can lead to violence and harassment.
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