This evening, I will be continuing this series with a highlight of the root causes of Sexual and Gender-based Violence. I will also be talking about the reasons behind the under-reportage of SGBV incidents. Thanks to everyone who made comments about today’s topics in the previous post.
Sexual and Gender Violence is a serious global problem and the most common/widespread human rights violation. It can happen to any individual. However, it is most commonly perpetrated by men against women, girls and other vulnerable people. As such, it is also interchangeably referred to as Violence against Women/Girls (VAW/G). It is estimated that globally, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. It is also estimated that 1 in 3 women globally will experience physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime.
Deeply rooted gender norms and unequal power relationships have been identified as the root causes of SGBV. Sexual and Gender-based Violence is an abuse of power. Power has been directly linked to a person’s choice and people with little power have fewer choices and are more vulnerable to abuse. Gender norms also usually impose restructions in women and girls in particular. Despite the fact that they have equal human rights with boys and men, they are given/develop low expectations of their rights. SGBV is also not consensual in the sense that these actions are perpetrated through violence and coercion which may include threats to life, threats to withhold a benefit or a promise to provide a benefit.
It is also important to note that SGBV is always under-reported. The number of individuals who report experiencing or surviving SGBV is likely much lower than the true number of SGBV cases. Some survivors do not speak up due to fear of personal safety or security for themselves and their families. They also fear the stigmatisation they would face for speaking up. One of the most recent examples is the Busola Dakolo vs Biodun Fatoyinbo’s saga. While some people supported Busola for speaking up, several others were against her. They said things like why did she take so long to speak up, how dare she accuse a renowned Pastor of raping her and it was most likely not rape because she did not scream.
Other reasons behind under-reportage include lack of services for survivors of SGBV, lack of reporting mechanisms, cultural norms that condone some types of violence and taboo against certain forms of violence such as violence against men or against older persons.
In my next post, I will be talking about who the perpetrators of these acts of violence are. Before then, I would like to hear from you. Who do you think these perpetrators of SGBV are? Please leave your answers in the Comments section.