January 2017

My thoughts on ending gender based violence

In the ideal world to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) we need to love and respect each other. Period. Unfortunately life is NOT perfect and it’s not heaven yet hence we will never really completely eradicate gender based violence….we can reduce and mitigate it to some extent through dealing with all the underlying causes of it or rather the drivers of GBV eg poverty, inequality of the genders ie structural etc, lack of education and so forth. GBV can be complex and community are complex and different hence it is required to approach each case of GBV differently. Solving GBV requires a multidisciplinary approach and should be driven from the grassroots with support of and in collaboration with the other layers of society national and global.

I think we need to go back to the basics where we value our common humanity. In my culture or most African cultures we have a concept called Ubuntu – meaning humanity – I am because you are. It is similar to the concept of Namaste – which can be translated as “the divine in me acknowledges the divine in you”. It’s about knowing and understanding that we have a common thread called life and we need to respect each other from that basis. That we are human first before all these titles and gender/socially constructed roles assigned to us. There’s something that connects us to this thing called life and that is life itself. Some people call it God , spirit, the universe etc….There’s a need for a total shift in mindset on how we view all these socially constructed identities ie female vs male, black vs white etc. Violence whether sexual or physical or emotional or others comes from a place of hate and fear. They say respect is an absence of love but not the opposite of it which would be hate. Thus it is better for one to respect if s/he cannot love a fellow human being.