What is Gender Based Violence?
The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defines gender-based violence (GBV) as, “Any act…that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” It is also broadly defined as any harm to a person due to the power disparities caused by gender inequality. Gender based violence includes childhood sexual abuse, “prenatal sex selection in favor of boys, female infanticide, dowry deaths, honors killings ,female genital mutilation, trafficking and forced prostitution, forced early marriage, sexual assault and intimate partner violence”
In order to tackle the issue of gender based violence, one must first understand the root of the issue. According to Peterson and Runyan, gender refers to the socially learned behavior and expectations that distinguish between masculinity and femininity. However, sex identity is known as the genetic and anatomical characteristics. Meanwhile, socially learned gender is an acquired identity gained through performing predetermined gender roles. Understandably, Society places different values on masculine and feminine behaviors. Gender has now become the basis for relations of inequality and is a powerful lens that we all use to experience and organize reality.
Gender has played a role in a lot of the issues that plague us globally as well as locally. It is estimated that one out of three women and girls across the world experience GBV. After research done within 10 countries, it was found that 15 to 71 percent of women have experienced physical violence, sexual violence or both. Between 21 percent and 58 percent of the women surveyed physical and sexual violence in their lifetime; while from 17 percent to 48 percent, these women experienced the same type of violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
Gender based Violence in South Africa
Gender-based violence is a key health risk for women globally and in South Africa. Between November 2001 and April 2002, there was analyzed data from 1,395 interviews with women attending antenatal clinics in Soweto, South Africa. The research showed that the estimate prevalence of physical/sexual partner violence was 55.5%, while adult sexual assault by nonpartners was 7.9%. They also found that the prevalence of child sexual assault was 8.0% and forced first intercourse had a prevalence of 7.3%.
South Africa continues to top international rankings of incidence of reported rape and sexual violence. Many fear the level of gender-based violence may be increasing because of a backlash against the constitutionally-enforced gender equality of South African women. The reported incidence of rape increased with the democratic dispensation, and South Africa has consistently had the most rapes reported per capita in the world. Anti-rape...