Gender describes characteristics that a society or culture defines as masculine or feminine.
The unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women in society resulting from women being less valued in society than men is Gender Based Violence.
Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders.
There are five forms of violence and abuse that can be found in relationships:
- Physical Abuse – Punching, kicking, slapping, throwing someone down the stairs, etc…
- Emotional Abuse – Name Calling, Gossiping, Telling someone they are unlovable, ugly, etc…
- Social Abuse – Stopping someone from seeing their family/friends, cyber bullying (Facebook/Instagram, etc…)
- Financial Abuse – With holding money for buying essential items, gambling, credit, etc…
- Sexual Abuse – Rape, Unwanted Touching, cat calling, coercion, etc…
All types of violence’s share one thing in common and that is they are an Abuse of Power.
Gender Based Violence is a huge problem. It is estimated in Papua New Guinea, that 1 in 3 women will experience one or all forms of violence in her lifetime. It is estimated that 1 in 2 women in PNG have experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime by someone she loves.
Some forms of violence cannot be seen with the naked eyes but all forms of abuse can be identified through behavioural signs. Aside from seeing them physically most are the after effects of violence and the way they intertwine to changing someone.
Fatal outcomes include suicide, AIDS-related mortality, and maternal mortality.
Non-fatal outcomes encompass the following:
Physical: fractures, chronic pain syndromes, permanent disability, gastrointestinal disorders
Sexual and reproductive: STIs including HIV, unintended pregnancy, pregnancy complications, traumatic gynaecologic fistula, abortion complications
Psychological and behavioural: depression and anxiety, eating and sleep disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, poor self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harm.
The United Nations Population Fund states that Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.
It is vital to promote the rights of all individuals and reduce gender-based violence while mitigating its harmful effects on individuals and communities. Unless women, girls, men, and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, progress toward development will fall short.