Gender-based violence refers to the violent acts that are primarily committed against women. It is unfortunate that gender-based violence even in this generation is still a challenge of pandemic proportions. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 1 out of 3 women around the globe is emotionally or physically abused in her lifetime. It is essential to understand that gender-based violence both reinforces and reflects inequities between women and women and compromises the sovereignty, safety, self-respect, and health of its victims. Moreover, gender-based violence includes a wide array of human rights abuses such as home brutality, rape, sexual exploitation of children, sexual harassment and battering, and trafficking of girls and women. Following a comprehensive research on gender-based violence, I tend to believe that this practice causes adverse effects on the physical and mental health of women.
It is true that a lot of women around the world are beaten, raped, or maltreated in other ways by the people who are known to them. In fact, according to a report from the UNHCR, reveals that millions of women are dying annually because of this malpractice. Gender-based violence adversely affects all factors of womens mental, physical, behavioral, reproductive and sexual health. Health consequences of gender-based violence can be both acute and immediate as well chronic and long-lasting. It is a common fact that exposure to multiple incidents or types of violence over a long period tends to cause more adverse effects on the health of a person. Deterioration of the mental health is a common occurrence that usually happens to gender-based violence victims. These mental health issues often stem out from trauma which occurs after a person has been physically or mentally abusing.
A study from the World Bank indicates that domestic violence and rape account for approximately five percent of deaths that occur to women aged 16 to 43 in developing nations (Myhill, 36). Other researchers exploring health and gender-based violence continuously report negative impacts. Some of the physical consequences of gender-based violence include homicide, early and unwanted pregnancy, and serious injuries. A lot of reports show that many women who die of homicide are often murdered by their ex-partners or partners. A study done on 259 Zimbabwean court records, for instance, revealed that approximately 60% of homicides of women were committed by the people close to the victims. Moreover, it is evident that in events of gender-based violence, women are usually the ones who sustain serious injuries due to sexual and physical abuse more than men. This is not to say that men are not abused also, on the contrary, there are a lot of cases where men have been sexually harassed by women, but these incidences are always rare. Another physical consequence of gender-based violence is early and unwanted pregnancy. Pregnancy is not a bad thing, in fact, it is a blessing if it occurs at the right time. However, getting pregnant through rape is one of the most unfortunate things that can ever happen to a person. Victims of this kind of situation tend to experience a lot of frustration and trauma. Some may even start developing depression and suicidal thoughts since this is a life-threatening occurrence. Children who have been abused or who are abused tend to develop a low-sense of self-esteem. In fact, there are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected or early sexual intercourse. We should remember that not all women have a strong mental health, some women would attempt to resolve their frustrations caused by the pregnancy by aborting the baby. In nations where abortion is outlawed, victims tend to resort to illegal abortions which are often very dangerous and may result in deaths.
Some of the psychological consequences of gender-based violence include suicide and mental health problems. For women who have been sexually abused or beaten, the physical and emotional strain can lead to suicide (Leach, Fiona, and Sara Humphreys, 117). Many reports show that a lot of abused women tend to see suicide as an alternative option to escape the violent relationships and social stigma. Women who have been abused before or are currently being abused are often anxious or depressed, while others show signs of PTSD.
Apart from the physical and psychological consequences, gender-based violence also affects the productivity of women. What I mean is that it lowers their contribution to the society. However, we cannot rule out its effects on biological productivity of a woman. For instance, abortion of an unwanted pregnancy that occurred through rape can lead to reproduction problems. National research on gender-based violence in Canada revealed that approximately thirty percent of reported wife abuse incidents cause the victims to request for time off from regular activities. And about 40% who were physically injured requested for sick leave from their jobs. From above evidence we saw that gender-based violence negatively affects both the physical and mental health of women. Therefore, the government should work extra hard to ensure that women are protected from such practices.
Gender-Based Violence. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender, doi:10.4135/9781483384269.n258.
Leach, Fiona, and Sara Humphreys. 9. Gender violence in schools: taking the girls-As-Victims discourse forward. Gender-Based Violence, 2007, pp. 106120., doi:10.3362/9780855987589.009.
Myhill, Andy. Measuring domestic violence: context is everything. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, vol. 1, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 3344., doi:10.1332/239868017x14896674831496.
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