CONCERN OVER GROWING PUSH BACK ON FIGHT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN FIGHT
Concern has been raised over the growing push back on the fight on Violence Against Women in different countries.
This is despite the number of governments investing in researches and data on VAW growing from 82 countries to 161 countries between 2010 and 2018.
UN Women Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Dr. Maxine Houinato attributes the growing pushback to different forms of resistance and privilege that stems out of sympathizing with the wrong person.
According to UN Women data 56 percent of women who have died from VAW have been killed by intimate partners and family members.
Dr. Houinato however lays the bigger burden of finding justice for these women on the role of the media.
“We have seen in a lot of countries where media has not been helpful in terms of the way the public apprehends the issue of GBV. It comes from the way the media is influenced by tradition, the media being influenced by religion. When you see someone who has been raped and you are reporting on the rape and you spend 75 percent of the article on the responsibility of the victim,” he said.
He says that media have a large influence on justice for GBV victims from the Judiciary to the service providers.
“We know that magistrates and judges are part of the society so if the law says that you punish something from three months to 10 years and the whole community feels that the victim is responsible and the perpetrators should be excused, and the media is leading on that line of reporting, the judge will give three months.”
Violence Against Women Manifests itself in different forms namely physical, sexual economic and psychological.
Some of the leading forms of Violence Against Women include Intimate Partner Violence which mostly occurs in homes, Non – partner sexual violence/harassment which occurs in public spaces, harmful practices like child and forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation.
According to Dr. Houinato, media has the power to even influence courts of law to deliver justice to victims of GBV.
Currently women’s trust in courts of law to deliver justice stands at 46 percent way below their trust on religious institutions for justice and slightly higher than women’s trust in traditional leaders for justice.