This article explores the global issue of gender-based violence (GBV), highlighting the impact in South Africa, and how we can stand together to stop GBV
Join the GBV movement
Every year on November 25, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day isn’t just a date on the calendar; it’s a call to action. It’s a reminder that we all play a part in ending violence against women, and it’s a chance to stand together in solidarity.
What is gender-based violence?
Gender-based violence (GBV) is any harm a person faces simply because of their gender. Sadly, it’s more often women and girls who are affected. GBV knows no borders; it happens everywhere, in all cultures and all countries. It includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence, and mainly targets women.
The global picture
The statistics about GBV are extremely worrying. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The effects of this can cause long-term trauma, injuries and emotional pain. Unfortunately, many cases go unreported due to fear, stigma, or lack of support.
The situation in South Africa
In South Africa, GBV is a very serious issue. In 2022, a total of 51,683 domestic violence-related crimes were reported. The country also faces one of the highest rates of femicide (the murder of females just because of their gender) in the world. According to research, women are five times more likely to be killed by their partners in South Africa than anywhere else on earth. These numbers highlight the urgent need for change.
The Purpose of the Day
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women aims to unite us all and raise awareness about GBV. Talking about this problem helps us stand up against the ideas and attitudes that allow violence to happen to women and girls. It shows us that it’s not just a private matter—it’s a problem for all of us in society, and we all need to work together to fix it.
What to do to Stop GBV
To put an end to GBV, there are many things we could do, for example:
- Promote education and awareness about GBV, starting from an early age. We need to teach children about healthy relationships, consent, and the importance of gender equality.
- Make stronger laws. We need better and tougher laws to protect people from gender-based violence. This means harsher punishments for those who cause harm and better help for those who survive.
- Make sure there are services to help survivors, like counselling, legal advice, and safe places. These services should be easy to reach and cover everything survivors need.
- We need to change the way we think. We should question harmful beliefs that support gender-based violence and encourage communities and leaders to support equality and respect for everyone.
- Get men and boys involved in stopping gender-based violence. Encourage them to support positive behaviours and healthy relationships.