A Beginner’s Guide to Sexual and Gender-based Violence (1)


    Hii everyone! It has been quite a while since my last post. I recently began my postgraduate degree and it has been difficult to juggle a number of commitments. However, I am back and ready to interact with you. 😊😊😊 This past month, I was privileged to participate in a Massive Online Open Course on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) by YouthHubAfrica. I, alongside over 50 student bloggers and social media influencers, gained an understanding of SGBV and policies/ laws on sexual and gender-based violence with specific focus on universities.

    Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing my knowledge of SGBV with you. I call this a beginner’s guide to sexual and gender-based violence because these series of posts will give you a foundational knowledge of this issue and will motivate you to take a stand against SGBV, for those of you who are learning about this issue for the first time.


    First off, what is sexual and gender-based violence? This is a very important question and in order to be able to appropriately answer it, we need to be able to identify and define the individual aspects of the concept.


    Sexual means “of or relating to sexual reproduction, sexual acts, sexuality, sexual orientations, identity or preferences with respect to sexual intercourse”. A word that keeps on reflecting in this definition is “SEX”. In general terms, sex refers to a category into which humans are divided on the basis of their reproductive roles. Simply put, sex refers to the biological characteristics of males and females.


    Gender, on the other hand, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “the socially constructed characteristics of women and men, such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed”. Gender also refers to the economic, social, political, and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being women and men.


    Violence can simply be defined as any action which causes pain, destruction or suffering.


    Putting these terms together, Gender-based Violence (GBV), also known as Sexual and Gender-based Violence, is defined as any harmful act of sexual, physical, psychological, mental and emotional abuse that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (i.e. gender) differences between males and females.


    In my next post, I will be talking about the root causes of Sexual and Gender-based Violence, who the perpetrators of SGBV are and why SGBV is under-reported in our society. Before then, I would like to hear from you. What do you think are the root causes of SGBV and why do you think SGBV is under-reported? Please leave your answers in the Comments section below.