Numerous advances have been made worldwide in a bid to improve gender equality and to address issues related to Gender Based Violence. In many countries in the world, however, Gender Based Violence continues to thrive either because of conflict or cultural systems that empower one gender at the detriment of the other. Despite the advances made towards equality across certain countries owing to several years of gender activism, capacity building, and the mobilization, Gender Based Violence still remains a challenge in other countries. As we commemorate this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, we are challenged by the global statistics that “more than one in three women have experienced violence— that’s 700 million women, or close to the total population of sub-Saharan Africa“. This is a clear indication that there is still much work to be done.
The 16 days of activism to end Gender Based Violence also gives us an opportunity as Arigatou International – End Child Poverty to reflect on how far we have come with our advocacy work and how best we can move forward. Arigatou International – End Child Poverty believes that Gender Based Violence does not only impact the well-being of individuals and their societies, but it has a devastating effect on children. If children are not protected from this malaise, then our future is not secure.It is our belief that Gender Based Violence at the family level and violence against girls and boys within the society is closely linked to child poverty. Gender Based Violence perpetuates and exacerbates child poverty and factors that lead to child poverty. At the same time, it is worth noting that Gender Based Violence is prevalent among poor families and in low-income communities. Children who grow up around such families or who have witnessed Gender Based Violence are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems which may last well into their adult life. The emotional and behavioral problems caused by Gender Based Violence on children range from depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and poor school performance. This may directly or indirectly harm the personal development and well-being of Children.
As it is often said that a human being is the product of his society, children who have witnessed Gender Based Violence or from families where Gender Based Violence is prevalent are susceptible to perpetuating or experiencing violence in future. Gender Based Violence does not only affect the child development but is also associated with high rates of infant and child mortality and morbidity. At the same time, Gender Based Violence also creates an atmosphere of hostility towards children development, children missing out of school, using drugs and alcohol, experience social isolation and marginalisation.
Ending Gender Based Violence and ensuring the security of boys, girls, and women security is a priority for Arigatou International – End Child Poverty, a priority reflected in our work with the African Children and Youth Network for Human Rights /Réseau des Enfants et Jeunes Africains pour les Droits Humains (REJADH). We empower young (REJADH) leaders towards reducing, preventing and ending gender based violence and its negative impacts on young people. Gender Based Violence has a negative impact on the physical, sexual or psychological health, development or identity of the victim. The cause of this violence is founded in gender-based inequalities and discrimination. Gender Based Violence is the most extreme expression of these unequal gender relations in society, and a violation of human rights, as well as a hindrance to the achievement of gender equality. As we commemorate this year’s 16 days of activism let our point of departure be that Gender Based Violence is preventable, Gender Based Violence is a violation of human rights, and that tackling Gender Based Violence is crucial for child poverty reduction and economic development that will secure a better future for all children. During these 16 days let us focus on the root causes of Gender Based Violence and on possibilities for change.