Culture and religion play a big role in how society reacts towards Gender Based Violence (GBV). Patriarchal systems stem mainly from cultural and religious values and as such in their observance and practice make it difficult for members of society that experience GBV to seek punishment for perpetrators. Women often are the ones to justify domestic violence and make efforts to try and cover up the violence or seek non judiciary solutions or interventions.
Is sexual violence, an issue for young people? In a Malawi, around 23% of females and 13% of males aged 13-17 surveyed by UNICEF in 2013 reported experiencing sexual violence in the past 12 months. There has been an increase in men falling victim to domestic violence, however such cases though on the rise often fail to come before the courts, mainly due to society’s failure to accept such forms of violence and victims’ embarrassment. In an effort to constantly try to meet society’s standards of acceptable, victims of GBV tend to blame themselves, as themselves what they could have done wrong to deserve the violent actions they would have experienced.
It is through a change of mindset in society that GBV can be tackled effectively and working to stop society from interrogating the victim instead of supporting them. These are some of the questions we bring forward in today’s feature on #16Days16Voices. Feminist, Teresa Mugadza speaks to GBV, society’s views and support of victims.