Gender has become synonymous with female in other parts of the globe just like as in Zimbabwe.
Major emphasis has been on the feminine gender issues than the masculine ones hence, males have been relegated to obscurity in as much as gender based violence is concerned.
Recent research revealed that at least 11 percent of male victims and 7.2 percent women have considered taking their life due to partener abuse.
This shows that 3.8 percent more masculine victims of gender based violence than feminine become suicidal after they experience abuse.
It is factual that statistics do not lie. Hence, an unequivocal approach to consider both gender in trying to combat gender based violence should be employed.
It is prudent to acknowledge that the feminine gender had been the major recipients of abuse, but it is of significance to note how the feminine centric gender abuse discourse have unwittingly resulted in an increase in male numbers being abused because of their gender.
Since there are some misconceptions on understanding of the word gender, this write up will commence by defining the term.
Is the male sex or female sex especially when viewed in reference to social and cultural differences rather than the biological ones.
The characteristics of men, women, girls and boys that are socially constructed is what is referred to as gender.
This may include norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a women, men, boy or girl as well as relationship with each other.
Gender varies from society to society and can change over time since it is a social construct.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence
This is an annual International Campaign that kicks off on the 25th of November which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on the 10th of December which is a Human Rights Day.
In 1991, some activists started the campaign at the Inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute.
It later became an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the World to call for the preservation and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In solidarity of the Civil Society initiative, the United Nations Secretary General in 2008 launched the Campaign UNITE by 2030 to End Violence against Women, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.
This year’s theme of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is, “Investing to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls”.
Men Are Sidelined
Even though there are rules and regulations that protects men from feminine gender abuse, there are very few recognised International or Local campaigns for the rights of men.
This can be as a result of previous representation of men being dominant and the world perceived as patriarchal society.
So as to achieve gender equality, the scale has to be tilted in favour of women and girls.
As of late, Zimbabwe have experienced a surge in violence perpetrated to men and boys from the feminine gender.
Several men and boys have lost their lives as they failed to copy up with psychological and sometimes physical abuse from spouses and girlfriends.
This have been largely necessitated by the unfavourable economic environment currently bedeviling in the country.
The scourge of masculinity abuse from the feminine gender is not only a Zimbabwean issue but a global phenomenon.
A survey carried out in the United Kingdom shows that, half of male victims (49%) fail to tell anyone that they are a victim of domestic abuse and they are 2.5 times less likely to tell anyone than female victims (19%).
There is need to list some of the abuses experienced within gender as some might not be aware what gender violence entails.
Types of Gender Violence
Sexual violence and Assault– UN defines sexual violence as “any sexual act committed against the will of another person who does not give consent or cannot be given because the person is a chiod, has a mental disability or is severely intoxicated or unconscious as a result of alcohol or drugs”.
Sexual Harassment– It can be verbalor physical that leave the victim offended, shamed or embarrassed after the encounter.
Intimate Partner Violence– this is usually linked to domestic abuse, and is prevalent for women. This form of violence is between romantic partner or ex-partner.
- Financial or Economic abuse
- Online or Digital Violence
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision
- Domestic violence
- Psychological abuse
These are some of several forms of gendered abuse.
How Can Men Be Included To End Gender Violence
So as to end gender-based violence, men and boys should not always be viewed as villains as the norm in most cases.
This create a stockholm effect to men as they will not be moved by the campaigns.
Issues of gender violence should be inclusive and a participatory approach should be taken.
More emphasis should be on the forms and effects of domestic violence and not to singular out men and boys as championed by 16 days against gender based violence.
The writer in as much as he appreciates that the aggregate is highest on the number of women and girls who suffer in the hands of patriarchy is based on scientific research, his position is that a fair number especially from male and boys do not open up on how they are suffering in the hands of the feminine gender.
There are high chances that the number of men and boys being abused by women and girls have significantly increased even to surpass those of the later.
Currently in the United Kingdom as on 1 June 2023 there were 43 organisations with 302 refuge or safe house spaces available specifically for men and 203 for men and women.
This goes a long way to highlight how serious issues of gender violence perpetrated to men and boys should also demand serious considerations and provisions just like any other gender based abuses.
At least, in United Kingdom they are at a more advanced stage in consolidating the rights of every individual.