To define what is gender-based violence, first we have to understand what the violence is.
In this point we say that the violence is the behavior or omision of it proposed to harm or wound the other person violating so the rights of the other individual. In other words, it is an intentional behavior .
What is Gender-based Violence?
World Health Organization (who) and Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) define it as “all act of physical or verbal power, coertion or threatening privation for the life, addressed to woman or girl, that causes physical or psychological hazard , humiliation, or arbitrarian privation of freedom, and that enlarges female subordination as well as it produces in public or private life.”
Many times, GBV is inserted in daily life of women , generating effect of systematic victimization in female gender, and hat does not discriminate among girls, teenagers, young, adult and elder women, causing the violence goes unseen, originating a kind of ghost violence, adding to non-identification of itself.
Here is necessary to learn the difference between GBV and other types of interpersonal or social violence, recognizing GBV’s objective is women submission before dominion of who has power and so the control. Generally, it is inflicted by lover and/or relative , and inside home. The woman is the target of submission, I mean.
Despite in violence without gender origin, the victim can be whoever, even a male, the agressor can be a strange r or ocassional friend, and space where it is made can be wherever.
Is GBV a human rights violation?
Because it is base don unequity to women in the practice and distribution of power in society, it is proven that GBV violates human rights, and it is almost linked to violence against under legal age people.
In a more panoramic view, we can appreciate that in domestic environment , when women’s human rights are violated, also her children’s human rights are violated, so their right to live and grow up in violenc-free environments is nullified. This way, children turn victims and witnesses of gender terror and degradation, when living with an adult with a wrong feeling or conviction of his wife’ & family members (children)’ belonging or control .
Is sexual violence a type of GBV?
Yes, it is. And it makes evident because female body is perceived, conquered and dominated as territory of male belonging and dominion. This expresses in emotional, physical, economic empowerment, blackmail or threaten for penetration or any sexual contact to women, whoever girl, teenager or adult, including cultural practices like genital mutilation, forced marriages, virginity overvaloration, among others.
Many times, culture itself justifies and legates the feeling of female body and sexuality’s conquer to their men, teaching to women for accepting themselves as male property, masking a pathological relationship of dominion and dependance that is passed from generation to generation.
Special attention must be given to marriage duty, the bad marriage principle that forces the wife to satisfy her husband’s sexual desire just because she is his wife, ignorating her desire as a woman. As it is covered under marriage or convivence veil, vilence gets impune and vigent as high as sometimes it is undetectable by the same women who experience it, assuming it is part of the normal because of the fact they are women.
Let’s see a daily example:
The mother as the only responsible of house chores.
The father as the only responsible for family and with authority for taking decisions.
It is observed here that the violence is “justified and normal.”
The most common types of GBV are childhood’s sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape.
Is GBV a public health problem?
Yes, it is. As it has a negative impact on women’s integral health, GBV repercutes on health of society. That’s why watching has to be held because it is not an isolated trend but it has origing and a negative impact around the world.
In that sense, it is a conclusion that woman’s health has to be contemplated by public policies proned to gender equity, that guarantees welfare and justice for their members, throughout elimination of carrying factors to woman’s victimization and violence because of her gender.
We, the men speak up
Many times, we, the males show violence trending to solve conflicts. Then, a question jumps automatically up: is violence necessary to solve conflicts?
There are who unavoidabily connect conflict to violence and believe that preventing the violence is necessary to prevent the conflict.
But in human reasonability, we realize that independently of male or female gender, we have different interests, aspirations, goals and values as individuals, and conflict is hard to avoid while we interact. But depend on ourselves to learn solving them without violence by the mutual agreement that satisfies both parties through consensus and reason.
Unfortunately many times, the violent act made by the man is considered as normal and it is justified by rebelion and non-recognizement of women. Here we have cotidaneus arguments those mask GBV: “She provocates me”, “I’m the boss at home”, “She doesn’t respect on me.”
As part of this vicious circle, the male kids growing under a violent environment follow building up their manhood based on superiority granted by the machoman thinking, and they will show out in the future turning in agressors when exercising their supossed authority, it gets threatened or questioned by women.
Within the main fears of men who were growth and masculinized under a violent environment, we have the fear of no reaching the true men standards and being humiliated or ashamed as a feminine husband, going over their empowerment and having to submit the woman as their manhood proof.
In this context, men learn since they are kids, and continously their manhood is tested by society , having to show it even violating women and the weakest and the rest.
What can I do as a man?
We have to begin analyzing ourselves frantically about who we are as men, less competitive before the female.
This is not going to be really easy because we have growth as machomen, so this process will not happen immediately. But let’s exercise the free choosing stopping violence at home, being perseverant in our decision if we propose to change for real and for family welfare.
Anyway, we have to minimize our violent acts. Let’s remember there is not big or small violence – all types are acts to be discarded. Have in mind that nothing justifies our violence, so we are the only responsible of our violent acts. Learn to self-satisfize our needs not expecting the women do them on behalf of us because ooa superiority sense. This is key to prevent many conflicts leading to violent facts.
Learn to self-detect the syntoms when we are just ready to explode for avoiding the trigger to violence. We have to learn the skill to realize that in those conditions we can not follow a discussion because we will not able to hear and what we think or feel wil be the only important, putting on risk everything to end as a violent act. So it is better to have a time-out and step outside. Of course, stepping outside will cos tus because we will feel we are weakand we are losing in a fight, but if we are decided to change, we have to decide between continuing to argue and probably end to a violent act, or stepping us outside to get calm and agree a consensus with the couple in other moment, satysfying both.
Time-out or stepping outside is a time to be used mainly to slow down and do activities those support this objective. A good choice is walking outdoors and alone for thinking clear. Never look for friends who support you as a machoman, or alcohol ‘to solve’ the problem.
For majority of men, the fact of negotiating and conciliating is difficult and eben more when we have benn educated to impose us or to negotiate from a perspective of top power because we are male. This does not mean it is impossible but it demands a greater commitment to our couple and other family members.
Once we get steady, it is a grateful feeling we have got it and we will on our way to mutual respect and our recognizement as true men.
As we are able to unwear that shield we are wearing sice we were child as protection mechanism , and that implies to be unsensitive before the rest and ourselves, we could compare what we get by affective links to family is superior to we lose by dominion , making the change sustainable.
As a closure, we can say we are going to be better men as much as we start to recuperate our sensitive and loving capability that culture and ssociety have erased.
Let’s make the change!
(Marco Paulini is a Sullana,Peru-based obsthetrician. Send your questions to his Twitter account, @MarcoPaulini)
© 2014 asociación Civil Factor Tierra (@factortierra on Twitter)
© 2014, 2016 by Marco Paulini. All Rights Reserved.
Post-produced by Sheyla Benavente.