Now is the time to get beyond mere rhetoric and for the global community to join hands to implement that which will end gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is primarily brought about by the normative role’s societies assign to both genders. It is a question of unequal power relationships between the two genders. The abuse could be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and economic, which could manifest in the form of child marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking amongst others. The discrimination of trans-genders, gays, and bisexuals comes in handy.
With the majority of the victims being women and girls, boys and men too are victims of this global scourge. Gender-based violence attacks the very core of human nature and when not curtailed tends to have adverse effects on every sphere of our lives. It is an enemy to the sustainable development of human values and potentials. It corrupts the victims’ sense of dignity, autonomy and hinders productivity in their personal life, education, career, and national development.
Africans need to make more concerted efforts at accelerating and amplifying the space for us all regardless of our gender. However, the efforts need to be more human-oriented, localized, socially driven and fully supported by the relevant institutions. Effective use of technology, community integration, and accountability are core.
A mobile platform that captures data with the help of GPRS enabled cameras in partnership with mechanical and electrical experts makes data adequate. Besides, the application will have a safe and anonymous reporting protocol that protects the confidentiality of the survivors and victims. The inclusion of existing primary data from administrative and health centers will make it a credible tool vital for good quality of service delivery, advocacy, policymaking, evaluation, and jurisdiction.
For instance, actress Lupita Nyong’o’s sexual harassment ordeal caused an uproar on Twitter. The hashtag “me too” was trending for the better part of the week. Men and women narrated their sexual harassment ordeals globally. This incident proved that media could drive conversations and bring issues to light while investigating our own biases. Spearheading campaigns on mainstream media spreads the message effectively. This consistent advocacy and communication lead to sensitization, increased funding and changes in policies.
The government can set up gender centers in every sub-county which could host forums for citizens to partake in discourse and access information and the creation of more public spaces for idea development and refinement. The centers should ensure that the victims get medical or psychological attention from approved hospitals. For accountability, auditing of centers’ data, finances and operations should be overseen by the government periodically and recognize people involved in fighting gender-based violence.
Gender harmony for sustainable development should be our guiding principle for Africa to set precedence in the world. Small men are fascinated by guns - I chose to be the big man.
By Macharia Wamangu
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