Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country is at a high as is evidenced by the viral videos of women being stripped in public and the increasing cases of rape and violence against women. In majority of these cases, almost all of them, men are the perpetrators of the crime and it is unfortunate that the onus of addressing issues with regards to GBV is left to women rights advocates. Gender Based Violence should not be a women’s issue but an issue that needs address from all corners of society.
November 25th marked the International Day Against Violence Against Women and the start of 16 days of activism, an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
Men too have a role to play, and an important one at that, in the fight against Gender Based Violence. They might not be at the forefront of the fight, though we wish they were, but by lending their voice and support they can be used as channels and advocates to educate fellow men.
Violence against women is a pervasive human rights violation, a public health crisis, and an obstacle to equality, development, security and peace. Thus men have a responsibility to join in this fight and offer support to initiatives such as the SEMA initiative, an initiative under the umbrella Kenya Gender-Based Violence Partnership (KGBVP) to respond to and break the cycle of gender-based violence in Kenya.
The mission of KGBVP is to reduce incidences of gender-based violence (GBV) through comprehensive and inclusive strategy of prevention, intervention, treatment, and enforcement by strengthening faith-based and community-based responses to the GBV pandemic in Kenya.
We must not allow GBV prevalence to spread and it is up to us all in the society to take a stand and help fight to end it.