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Guest Post- GBV: Society is both the perpetrator and victim

It’s admirable to know that there is at least a certain section of society concerned about the mental and physical violence that women and men have to undergo, but I believe that activism which encourages victims to voice their sufferings should not just stop there.

Voicing to the world about the brutality one undergoes or underwent is the first step to empowerment and emancipation. However, to see the end of gender based violence, victims should not be empowered to shed light about the violence they endure  but also offered a strong safety net that allows them look beyond their past and begin a new life, free from violence.  This safety net and support system is what will encourage other victims to shed light about their situation.

Victims should not be subjected to victimization yet again by an unforgiving society. Stigma will only kill the victims’ spirit to move on, and build a safe life away from violence, that dogged their past. I personally believe that the foundation of gender based violence begins with attitudes. A man’s inherent superiority complex and a woman’s strong feelings self unworthiness, leads one gender to believe that it has unconditional power to oppress the other and the other accepts this repression as a norm.

This superiority complex among men, which is subtly drilled in since childhood becomes a fire breathing monster when one becomes an adult, thus giving them the notion that abusing a woman is a natural right that has been bestowed to them. Most women on the other hand, have been made to believe by archaic societal norms that men are the superior beings; therefore they create this notion in their subconscious mind that it is acceptable to be beaten, harassed or abused.

Sadly, most married women, have become silent victims who suffer the most, because of a ‘so called’ legal bond that prevents them speaking against the violation of their rights. I  believe that gender based violence will end that day parents treat their sons and daughters equally, thereby setting an example that women and men are of equal status. Whether you a man or woman, you should not tolerate any kind of mental or physical abuse hurled at you by anyone. Violence is unacceptable- tolerating it will only validate it, further. Everyone deserves better.

Guest post by Shabnam Farook. She is a food columnist whose passions include good cheesecake, sushi and music by John Mayer.

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Day: Fifteen

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day fifteen features a photograph by T.

Intimate partner violence is a little studied, yet frequently occurring phenomenon in Sri Lanka. IPV occurs in many ways, including physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse by a spouse. Reports show that there is a high prevalence of abuse such as marital rape and sexual abuse, wife beating and assault with a weapon.

Sri Lankan society tends to take the very backward view that what happens within the home should stay within the home, and that some abuse is always a part of marriage. The Demographic and Health Survey 2006/2007 shows that between 20-50% of women think a husband is justified in wife-beating for reasons such as “argues with him”, “goes out without telling him” and “refuses to have sexual intercourse with him”. A study conducted among a sample of undergraduate medical students at the University of Colombo revealed that “33.4% of the students justified wife beating, and 63.1% stated that they believed women bear a  proportionately larger responsibility for the violence perpetrated against them” (Jayatilleke et al, 2010)

Perceptions and attitudes play an important role in how women are perceived within a relationship, but also affect the help that is available to them after violence occurs. The attitudes and sensitivity of police, healthcare workers and the community are important in helping to alleviate IPV.

While society turns a blind eye, many reasons have been cited for IPV. Alcoholism, early marriage age, low income and existing patriarchal attitudes, among a slew of other reasons, all contribute towards IPV. None of them, however, are an excuse.

Sources:

http://www.biosciencetrends.com/action/downloaddoc.php?docid=308 and http://www.statistics.gov.lk/social/dhs_final_report/Caption%20for%20the%20web-%20final%20report%20tables.pdf

T

One day left of the 16 day campaign… Tomorrow 10 December, will feature the last photograph of the 16 day online campaign against gender based violence  by the WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

T is a member of the steering committee of Beyond Borders. She works in the development sector and has mad culinary skills. She’s a writer, a poet and she dabbles in photography. She blogs at Dance in a Triangle. Her opinions are her own.

Day: Fourteen

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day Fourteen features a photograph by the BB team.

Fists Don’t Listen

by Abdul Halik Azeez

Fists don’t listen in my blurry state

I’m a dog without a home

My psyche can’t love; slave to a world

that never throws me a bone

The system rules the outer world

My task is your sustenance

The system makes me sub human

And my mind is past its penance

No, my fists can’t hear your blurry love

My fists are our survival

I’m angered by your garb of innocence

With no jungle nor a rival

So I beat and beat away from me

How incorrect can I prove you?

And somewhere inside I know it’s wrong

But ‘right’ is nothing I am used to

The economy’s gotten my humanity

My failings have gotten my heart

And what’s left of my morality

has gone without a spark

An animal inside human flesh

A clam a parrot an idle jest

Life is just a lark

And all I see is dark

The poem was inspired by a news clipping i read long ago about a retired champion heavy weight boxer. His son had given an interview saying that his father would come home drunk some nights and slam his mother (the boxer’s wife) with a combination. Anyone who’s watched boxing knows the power a heavyweight puts into a hard combination (a series of hard punches meant to destroy an enemy). Now imagine that combination slamming into soft, yielding flesh. imagine them pulping brittle bone. The bone of a person that loves you, or they would have undeniably left by now. I think men who beat their wives do so out of a sense of deep frustration about they way they are treated in the world. About how their illusions of reality don’t play out the way they think they should. Their ambitions are thwarted again and again and they have no moral or spiritual framework to release the tension. It is undoubtedly a failing of the man concerned, but it is also a societal disease, this shouldn’t happen in a healthy God fearing society.

Halik

Watch this blog for the next 2 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

The photograph concept was thought up by Halik– a board member of Beyond Borders. With the help of the BB team, a borrowed camera, bad lighting and a few doughnuts- the featured photograph was captured. Halik is a board member of Beyond Borders and blogs here when he is not bumming out or being a journalist/economist.

Day: Twelve

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Text can be changed.

Day twelve features a photograph by Salaf Tegal.

‘Violence’ is a harsh word. On hearing the phrase ‘violence against women’ what comes to mind may be brutal images of-  an acid burnt face, a severed limb, a broken bone or a black eye. Those are the more apparent forms of abuse. Equally horrendous but less visible is verbal abuse.

Many women are subjected to mental trauma- whether it’s their husbands, fathers or employers who issue the verbal onslaught. Derided daily in abusive and foul language most of these women believe they are worthless.

Recognising the severity of verbal abuse and the long term mental impact it has on women, Women In Need (WIN) provide counselling and other relevant services for victims of verbal abuse. Of the victims who have walked through their doors, WIN says they are severely psychologically affected.

All human beings deserve to be treated with respect.

Watch this blog for the next 5 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

Salaf Tegal is a guest contributor. He’s currently studying at Raffles- Malaysia, he’s an artist and photographer, more of his work can be found  here.

Day: Three

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day 3 features a photograph by TheGargoyleInJeans.

Domestic violence is common worldwide and it’s quite rampant in Sri Lanka. Most often women don’t leave their abusive husbands because- she has nowhere to go, her husband apologises each time he assaults her saying he loves her or threatens to kill her/ her children if she leaves him.

Thousands of cases of domestic violence go unreported each year. Women receive no help from the police as they assume it’s a household/personal problem that should be solved by the couple and does not warrant police intervention.

In families which mothers are abused, children are affected too. They will carry the psychological trauma or the belief that domestic violence is natural and acceptable into their adult life.

Domestic violence is not restricted to wives. It includes children, grandparents (abused by their adult children or grandchildren), siblings (when one abuses the other) and even men who are abused by their wives (though this is rare it is recognised in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in Sri Lanka).

Watch this blog for the next 13 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

TheGargoyleInJeans is not a member of Beyond Borders but we look forward to more of her contributions. She’s a highly talented photographer and more of her work can be found on her Facebook page.

Day: Two

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day 2 features a photograph by Megara Tegal. This picture is about the universality of gender based violence (GBV). It’s not restricted to a particular demographic. GBV is stifling women in all societies- whether it’s verbal or physical abuse.

Watch this blog for the next 14 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

Megara Tegal is a member of the steering committee of Beyond Borders. She’s a journalist, a student and a tree-hugging hippy. She blogs here- The Puppeteer. Her opinions are her own.

All Aboard for the Next 16 Days

We certainly are!

Joining the 16 days of (online) campaigning against gender violence- we’ll be blogging and tweeting more frequently from 25 November to 10 December.

Gender based violence is a pathosis in the world; no one- class, race or generation has been spared. The unpleasant truth is that you ARE affected by it directly or indirectly (friend or trauma induced behaviour in parents/ family). It’s been around for so long it’s deep rooted in all societies.

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been trying to weed it out. Celebrities and popular personalities have been trying to reach the world with a message to end gender based violence. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus sang about it with Facedown and author Amanda Adichie wrote about it in her book Purple Hibiscus. It’s going to take a lot more to bring an end to gender based violence– and your help can make a difference even if it’s in the smallest capacity.

Join the Women and Media Collective (WMC) in their 16 day campaign against gender based violence. Sing, write, tweet, draw- help out in whichever way you can!

“WAKE UP!!!” A campaign against honor killings

Violence against women takes a dismaying variety of forms, but the worst form which snatches away the lives of millions of women each year are “honor killings”. For a lot of women in some parts of the world, the prospect of an honor killing is a bitter reality.  Each year, uncountable amount of women are killed, burnt, sold, exchanged and handed out to different tribes for compensation for a conflict in the name of honor.

From thousand years, women suffer in the form death……..which to their men is restoration of the man’s honor.  Women even faintly suspected of an ‘inappropriate’ relationship face hideous forms of violence. They are stoned, shot, beaten until death, and attacked by axes by their brothers, fathers, husband and even cousins.

Women keep on being victims to this merciless tradition and shed their blood for a custom which has not assigned by any religion, any culture, but only an imagined honor.

WAKE UP!!! Campaign against honor killing is a movement which aims to bring small changes in the lives of these victims of ‘honor’. Targeting around 5000 people, the campaign would work towards raising the voices of those women around the world who have been forever silenced by these hideous customs.

WAKE UP!!! is currently at work here in Pakistan; soon we will be launching its website for online membership for international change agents. For the moment you can support by,

  • Helping us spread the word about the campaign by posting this information (emails, blogs, etc.)
  • Writing in your thoughts and your feelings about this crime for our campaign e-newsletter.
  •  Participating in discussions, or if you know of a community affected by “honor killings” then by sending us more information,  pictures, or videos.
  • Identifying as a Change Agent! in the cause against honor killings

To get involved in the campaign or for more information  please contact khalidabrohi_traditional@yahoo.com

WAKE UP invites you to be a part of this Global campaign and be the change agents against honor killing!!!
–  Khalida Brohi.

Khalida is deeply involved in the WAKE UP!!! Campaign working with Participatory Development Initiative, an organization based in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. She’s also an action partner for Oxfam International Youth Partnerships where she had her first interaction with Beyond Borders.