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Preventing Gender-Based Violence

Introduction

With the development of humanity, the problems of gender interaction in society have become less acute compared to the situation in past eras. Nevertheless, despite the success of the struggle for equality and established moral values​, the issue of gender-based violence continues to exist. Women, in this case, are a vulnerable side, although there are cases of violence against men. The most common causes are domestic disagreements that, according to the World Health Organization, account for 38% to 50% of women murdered by their intimate partners (5).

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The situation is aggravated by the fact that gender-based violence occurs not only among adults but also among young people, which creates additional difficulties and is a good reason to draw various stakeholders’ attention. Despite widespread access to information and opportunities to receive help, victims of physical abuse often seek to cope with their challenges individually, and this does not contribute to solving the issue effectively. Gender-based violence is an urgent social problem that affects people of different ages and countries and requires addressing through the creation of an adequate preventive environment and strengthening measures to persecute aggressive citizens successfully.

Global Context of the Problem

As people move towards democratic freedoms and human rights, along with the values ​​of equality and mutual respect, gender-based violence remains a problem in a global context. The situation is aggravated by the fact that, in some world regions, the existing patriarchal foundations do not contribute to creating a favorable environment for dealing with the issue in question. Wood et al. examine the rural region of Tajikistan, the country in Central Asia, and note the distinctive perceptions of violence between men and women, in particular, the empowerment of the male population (1). In such archaic conditions, women are not endowed with an opportunity to fight for their rights, and any manifestations of violence against them are permissible at the level of traditional perception and people’s cultural background.

Another factor proving the global context of the problem under consideration is the economic crisis in many world regions. As Dowd argues, gender-based violence develops where the authorities are more concerned about financial problems than social ones (42). Violence between intimate partners is a consequence of not only social but also economic challenges that impede normal life and are a catalyst for aggression (World Health Organization 5). As a result, women often experience physical abuse while living in poverty because low social status is one of the concomitant factors of violence.

Today, a number of agencies work to strengthen the regulatory framework and publicize the problem at the international level. Simister cites the examples of UNECE, the World Health Organization, and some other organizations that aim to disseminate information about the inadmissibility of gender-based violence (190). As Gerlach notes, with the emergence of the United Nations, the first attempts to reduce pressure on women were undertaken globally and across different social spheres (86). However, given the aforementioned challenges, in particular, economic difficulties and patriarchal canons, the problem has not been resolved until now.

Therefore, in an international context, conducting targeted work to help vulnerable populations and prevent physical abuse has weight as an activity to emphasize the importance of this issue and its urgency in modern society. Notably, the manifestation of violence among young people is an acute problem within the stated topic.

Gender-Based Violence Among Adolescents

Gender-based violence in adolescence is a particularly dangerous phenomenon since the psyche of young people is not formed comprehensively, and physical abuse based on gender can be a stimulus for the development of severe disorders. According to Mathews and Gould, adolescents who have experienced gender-based violence are prone to intellectual disabilities and even chronic illnesses (61). However, despite these threatening prospects, this form of social conflict exists, and individual social constraints exacerbate it.

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For instance, Chandra-Mouli et al. state that “the percentage of countries with gender gaps in school attendance increases from 37% for primary education to 54% and 77% for lower and upper secondary education, respectively” (239). Teenage girls become objects of health-harming acts, and the current social regulations cannot address this issue adequately due to the lack of proper control and sustainable policies to protect vulnerable adolescents.

The existing social norms of some groups can also be a negative driver of gender-based violence in relation to vulnerable adolescents. Sommer et al. remark that gender-based stigma may arise, and what is contrary to modern values ​​in a civilized society may be acceptable in individual communities (155).

As an example, the authors cite the concept of victim-blaming, according to which a girl is initially guilty of committing violence against her due to her overly defiant behavior, appearance, and other controversial factors (Sommer et al. 155). This practice does not fit into modern social norms, which, nevertheless, does not affect the episodic nature of cases of violence. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, young boys can also be targets of violence from older girls, and precedents exist (21). As a result, stigmatization manifests itself against both genders, albeit unequally.

The need to ensure the protection of vulnerable adolescents from gender-based violence is felt acutely during military conflicts. Etienne gives dire cases of young females’ abuse by soldiers and notes that such incidents should be regarded as a war crime against humanity and punished to the fullest extent of the law (139). However, even if victims of violence are assisted, they are at risk of developing dangerous mental disorders caused by acute shocks. Ensuring the safety of adolescents from gender-based abuse should be a mandatory practice in a modern democratic world, and this category of the population should be given no less attention than adults. Thus, discussing the ways to mitigate these issues from different perspectives is critical.

Ways to Mitigate the Problem

To provide vulnerable categories of the population with protection from gender-based violence, targeted work should be carried out from an early age. Crooks et al. propose to create special youth programs for primary and secondary school children, which include teaching social interaction skills (31). This practice can be useful as a tool to educate children and adolescents about the dangerous consequences of gender-based abuse, and building healthy behaviors is a valuable outcome of such work.

Maintaining an adequate preventive environment at the international level should be supported by responsible organizations and agencies dealing with social regulations. The World Health Organization offers a special algorithm that includes several stages of targeted work, in particular, joining the efforts of different committees, investing in maintaining a stable regulatory framework, and developing individual community practices (19). The aforementioned problem of the perception of gender-based violence within outdated cultural values ​​can be addressed through the involvement of local representatives to implement corresponding security programs at the regional level. These initiatives may contribute to addressing the issue as effectively as possible while taking into account the characteristics of each population group.

In addition, educating the adult population, as a tool for strengthening preventive work, is no less important aspect than corresponding regulatory decisions. According to Simister, education is an effective form of combating gender-based violence since, despite distinctive deviant features in different communities, the background of the problem is the same – abuse allowance by the gender factor (70). The more often people hear about the inadmissibility of humiliating others’ honor and dignity, the higher are the chances of reducing the incidence of physical abuse against vulnerable groups. Moreover, through education, stakeholders can not only build but also assess the sustainability of specific measures taken to reduce risks (World Health Organization 21). Therefore, outreach work, complemented by appropriate regulatory constraints, is a valuable practice.

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Conclusion

Addressing the issue of gender-based violence by introducing both relevant legal practices and educational projects at different levels is a crucial task due to the dangerous implications of this social problem. Particular attention should be paid to the topic of physical abuse by the gender factor among children and adolescents since their psyche is the most vulnerable, and a number of health problems can develop.

The reasons for gender-based violence can be distinctive, but the main prerequisites for the issue are economic constraints and impaired cultural norms promoted in individual communities. According to Etienne, local groups can educate the population successfully and build an adequate preventive environment (139). At the same time, international organizations’ activities are also valuable due to the popularization of the issue globally and an opportunity to attract public attention.

Works Cited

Chandra-Mouli, Venkatraman, et al. “Addressing Harmful and Unequal Gender Norms in Early Adolescence.” Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 2, no. 4, 2018, pp. 239-240.

Crooks, Claire V., et al. “Preventing Gender-Based Violence Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Lessons from 25 Years of Program Development and Evaluation.” Violence Against Women, vol. 25, no. 1, 2019, pp. 29-55.

Dowd, Douglas. Inequality and the Global Economic Crisis: Douglas Dowd. Pluto Press, 2009.

Etienne, Margareth. “Addressing Gender-Based Violence in an International Context.” Harvard Women’s Law Journal, vol. 18, 1995, p. 139.

Gerlach, Christian. Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Mathews, Shanaaz, and Chandré Gould. “Preventing Violence: From Evidence to Implementation.” ChildGauge, edited by Lucy Jamieson, Lizette Berry, and Lori Lake, University of Cape Town, 2017, pp. 61-67.

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Simister, John. Gender Based Violence: Causes and Remedies. Nova Science Publishers, 2012.

Sommer, Marni, et al. “How Gender Norms Are Reinforced Through Violence Against Adolescent Girls in Two Conflict-Affected Populations.” Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 79, 2018, pp. 154-163.

Wood, Elizabeth A., et al. “Exploring the Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Perceptions of Gender-Based Violence in Rural Tajikistan: A Qualitative Study.” BMC Women’s Health, vol. 21, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1-15.

World Health Organization. RESPECT Women: Preventing Violence Against Women. World Health Organization, 2019.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 1). Preventing Gender-Based Violence. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/preventing-gender-based-violence/

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