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Gender-based violence has no place in a civilised society today

By Joseph G Muthama | December 6th 2021
While men and boys are also victims of GBV, the truth is that women and girls bear the greatest brunt of sexual and gender-based violence. [iStockphoto]

Kenya joined the world to mark 16 days of activism/campaign against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), yet cases of GBV especially against women and girls continue to rear their ugly head again and again in our society.

The 16 days kicked off on November 25, under the theme, "Orange the world: End violence against women now!"

While men and boys are also victims of GBV, the truth is that women and girls bear the greatest brunt of sexual and gender-based violence.

According to the United Nations, Violence against Women and Girls is all forms of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedom on the basis of equality with men. The violence includes rape, sexual abuse and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), among others.

Retrogressive cultural and traditional practices like forced marriages, global child sex trafficking, FGM and rites of passage, bride price collection, disinheritance of girls, disenfranchisement of girls' rights and preference of boy child are also considered huge stumbling blocks to women empowerment in Kenya and Africa in general.

Despite salient physical, emotional, and psychological abuses in homes and workplaces, there is often a conspiracy of silence surrounding GBV with victims of GBV undergoing unspeakable pain in the hands of the perpetrators who rarely get to face justice.

Even worse, despite cases of mindless violence against children and women being reported to the police, many perpetrators wriggle through the justice system because of poor investigations.

Violence against women is an abhorrent injustice in a society that purports to be civilized and must be condemned in the strongest terms. We need effective strategies to combat GBV and we must work together to stop the violence now. Nobody is safe until we are all safe.

Letter from Joseph G Muthama, Kiambu  

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