GBV- gender based violence .This is (Bloom 2008) health-genderviolence.org ,violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender along with the unequal power relationships between two genders within the context of a specific society.
Gender violence primarily targets women and adolescent girls in society taking forms such as domestic violence,physical violence,psychological violence,emotional abuse,economic abuse,sexual abuse including FGM.
Gbv HAPPENS TO MEN TOO.
Most people would laugh of what would happen in Nyeri town Kenya,where wives would cut their husbands penises due to their alcoholism or neglect of husband”ly” duties .This however should not be laughable or condoned where as he is your husband he is your children’s father,someone’s son,someone’s brother,someone’s friend.
You do not own him.
Of late,gbv has been on the rise ,kinda like a trend in Kenya,sigh. In January alone reported cases were 357 we all know its more than that because people do not talk about it. Its sad thinking of the numbers. We find that culture is the root of the problem where we think
“she will become more disciplined” especially in Maasai,kuria,Somali,Gusii,Pokot,Samburu tribes who support fgm,where women are seen only as tools for giving birth.
From stories such as Pauline’s Mugure who is only 20 years old getting burned by a stove because of receiving a text message . To that of a pregnant 16year old girl who got raped by a 49 year old man. Old enough to be the father ,the man told her that he would help her get rid of the pregnancy induced by the girls boyfriend so they met up where he gave her a white tablet and a drink that smelled of kerosene ,he then told her that penetration would “make it come out”.
In the 60s GBV was embedded in the culture that reporting it bore no fruits as Njoki Ndungu a famously renounced lawyer in Kenya says that it went on until when her parents divorced when she was 32 years old.
she says of how they would sleep in the cows shed until morning and when the mother would report it the police would say” go back home and patch things up with your husband “
Hearing of such replies from police officers in the 2000s as in wangu kanja of WanguKanja foundation who after being raped in a carjacking incident and reporting it was told that she must have been drunk is simply heartbreaking.she later sunk into depression and became an alcoholic for two years.
This is what it does,it undermines health, dignity,security and the autonomy of the victim.
The story of Anne Njeri a musician in Kenya as told by Joan Thatiah is another example of how much shrouded in silence GBV is.
She was barely 17 when she got married after dropping out of highschool and running away from home to Nairobi in search of greener pastures.
“First it was small things like a glass of water not being the right temperature.”
She continues to say how he never showed any remorse,he would say”Anne ukikaa venye nataka,hizi vita zitaisha” ie,if you toe in line,the beatings will stop.
She got out of the marriage after 8 years when her daughter spoke out fearing she would loose the mum.
She had almost lost her sight due to the beatings.
She advices ,do what you know is right by you,don’t worry about what society will say.
Gender based violence is real,speak about it, share, share,share.