All-rounded effort needed to end gender-based violence

The mere concept of violence exhibits unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation and behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

In a sense Gender based Violence (GBV) is overt physical and psychological abuse which include battering, sexual assault, deprivation of liberty, forced marriage, sexual harassment, at home or in the workplace. It is also expressed through deprivation of resources needed for physical and psychological well-being including health care, nutrition, education, means of livelihood, and treatment of women as commodities such as trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation.

Despite this fact, nowadays there are a number of misconceptions surrounding gender based violence, including how and why it occurs. Of course, many of the misconceptions surrounding violence against women and children centre on its causes.

There are a number of factors contributing to this which have a strong and positive correlation with the social norm and traditional values of a specific community on the view that the impacts of violence are not serious or are not sufficiently serious to warrant action by women themselves, the community or public organizations. Attitudes that condone or tolerate violence are also recognized as playing a central role in shaping the way individuals, organizations and communities respond to violence.

Violence against women and children are also based on the notion that it is legitimate for men to violate the limiting factors which is excused by attributing it to traditional factors and thus shift blame for the violence from the perpetrator to the victim or hold women at least partially responsible for their victimization or for preventing victimization.

Recent global prevalence figures indicate that about 1 in 3 (35 per cent) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Localized and national surveys indicate that violence against women and girls in Ethiopia is widespread, with regional variations. The most common forms of gender based violence in Ethiopia are rape, abduction, Early Marriage (EM), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), spousal battering and trafficking of women. About 71 per cent of women in Ethiopia reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime while between 0.3 to 11.5 per cent of women reported sexual violence by someone other than a partner since the age of 15 years, according to World Health Organization report.

As modern societies we need to address these misconceptions to be successful in responses to gender based violence. Of the visible violating issues the unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women; and an adherence to rigidly defined gender roles and identities i.e., what it means to be masculine and feminine need immediate and intermediate action from community to policy level engagement.

It is being mentioned, time and again, that Ethiopia is making steps towards eliminating the major gender based violence; to be a country free of Female Genital Mutilation and Child Early and Forced Marriage in 2025, but also to optimistically cut these harmful traditional practices down to 0.5 per cent by the end of the Second Growth and Transformation (GTP II), 2020. Indeed, the country's commitment is well backed up by international support and follow-up mechanisms; national plans in improving systems, resources and services; expanding access to alternatives for both girls and the families and also the enforcement of legislation.

However, despite steady reduction of these gender based violence rates in parts of the country regulations still have loose applicability. Due to strong socio-cultural linkage among the society courts usually pass minor decisions against those who caught committing gender based violence such as practicing FGM.

Over the course one thing that the country found difficult these days is that some of the major harmful traditional practices are practiced on the covert and thus there still believed to remain an all-round effort to meaningfully reduce and end this practice as one critical gender based violence in the country. In conclusion, in order for the country attaining its national goal there should be substantial move from every particular office and administrative structures.

Gender violence has also a global call every year mainly for 16 days that begin on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 to International Human Rights Day on December 10 marking the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence internationally.

The day was designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them, as well as urging global recognition of gender violence. Each year on this day, organizations, governments, and communities organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem.

Kiram is Co-founder of Youth For Change Ethiopia, a Global network of youth activists working in partnership with organizations and governments to tackle gender-based violence and create positive change for girls, boys, young women and young men.