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Let’s all talk about GBV at our homes, church and school

By Mike Nyagwoka | November 27th 2021

In Africa, cultural factors have been blamed for contributing to most cases given that most African societies are patriarchal. [Courtesy]

It was a normal day at work when a news update came through our channels that a lady had allegedly been killed by her husband in Kahawa. It was another of the many sad stories my colleagues and I had to deal with.

However, as I jotted down the details, it hit that this was not just another story. It was someone I knew from church. I vividly remembered her as she stood in front of the congregation inviting us to her wedding. This lady had spent most of her youth life in church, praising God and praying for a soulmate. No one could imagine that the love of her life could be associated with her brutal death less than two years after a blissful wedding. 

This is the reality of Gender Based Violence (GBV). The stories of death and pain through GBV no longer come from far distant sources. They involve known people from our communities and localities and usually the most unlikely. Today it is an athlete, the next day a well-known musician and another day a cleric.

That is why the 16 days of activism against GBV are important part of the process towards addressing this menace. They provide an opportunity for all persons to voice their opinions and possible solutions within their small communities. Besides coverage in the media, the church should be roped in for seminars and sermons on the same. Schools and institutions should also organise events. Let this be a topic of discussion in staffrooms and classrooms. That way, the society would feel the impact of the 16 days of activism and probably take action.

In Africa, cultural factors have been blamed for contributing to most cases given that most African societies are patriarchal. Legally, not many perpetrators face consequences of their action. This is due to most cases going unreported or being handled culturally and outside the ambits of the law.

Again, there is a correlation between cultural factors and the legal factors fueling GBV. Victims suffer from cultures that regard them as weak and guilty of attracting violence against themselves.

Economic causes vary from the assumed role of men as automatic providers and breadwinners to money being used as a tool of control and manipulation. Financial independence among women on the other hand also comes with its own implications.

When the 16 days of highlighting GBV are done on December 10, let the UN give men their 16 days because men are also suffering.

-The writer is anchor at Radio Maisha

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