Will women break the silence in the fight against gender based violence in the Sahel Region?

    By Abednico Siambombe

    Gender based violence old a phenomenon as it is, has taken the world in limbo and has resulted in massive psycho-traumas, deaths and vulnerability of both woman and children despite its extension to affecting man. Although today women have gone beyond the circles of the law to making revenge on man, only a few males suffer the pain of gender based violence. Who knows why women opt to endure the pricks of violence?

    Gender based violence is highly rife in the third world countries with the African continent suffering the worst. Campaigns and capacity building mechanisms have been put in place since the beginning of the millennium, but victims increase of violence on daily basis. More women in Southern Africa die as a result of gender based violence compared to man going through the same traumatic path.

    Women fail to break the silence and let the perpetrators face the wrath of the law due to the status quo in the societies. Because of dilapidating and shrinking economic blocks which have justified the law of the jungle of the survival of the fittest, women have now remained the most dependent gender in the 21st century. Most women are economically dependent on men and are not self-reliant. The lingering economies have set a firm ground for the men to take advantage of the weaker sex who have nothing to offer but respect and submission to the stronger gender.

    A close analysis indicates that females fail to go public and campaign against gender based violence just because they are hit with zeal of protecting their statuses in a marriage. Although this does not happen in a marriage only, women prefer dying in silence than destroying a marriage. In addition to this, sending the male behind the bars is a taboo especially in the African society which increases the rate of gender based violence in such a setup. Such a scenario has accelerated the rate at which victims are affected than the solutions put in place to ameliorate the predicament.

    The darkness brought by gender based violence against women in the third world countries has not only affected the educationally defiant but even the most educated still have their mouths muzzled. This is not about the knowledge of reporting paths but the environmental situation surrounding the female species in the modern world. Much hope for women has been erased by the corrupt nature of the law enforcing agencies and the medication centres where most perpetrators have an upper hand and control of resources.

    Despite cases against gender based violence being reported on a regional scale, meagre penalties are given to the perpetrators in the form of fines and in most instances community service is the maximum penalty unless if the violence has resulted in murder or death of the victim thus when the law is upheld at maximum. This has impacted the efforts made by governments and non-governmental organisations as they fight against the inhuman treatment of women.

    There is a missing link in the fight against gender based violence in the African society as most programs aiming at alleviating gender based violence focus much on females than males. This elimination of males has necessitated the empowerment of women and man see this as a threat to their ambition of leading and controlling nature. The actions biding for the fight of gender based violence are perceived to be femininity by a majority of man in the societies. As a result more involvement of man in the programmes is highly recommended to ensure that they understand and respect the Women’s rights as they do other human rights.

    The plight of African governments should be centred on ensuring economic growth and creation of employment for the citizens to reduce the dependency of females on man. Also the increase of income generating projects and the mostly heralded small and medium enterprises in countries such as Zimbabwe can help self-sustenance for the women who are much dependent on man for survival

    According to the observation made on African societies, most man use children as a leeway to accessing women especially when the two are matrimonially living in different worlds. Such circumstances can be overcome by strengthening the constitutionality and custodianship of children.

    Although most NGOs have attempted to legally empower and capacitate women, the old tradition of valuing a marriage has justified the perpetual dominance of man over women. When compared to developed countries, more women in third world states view marriage as the greatest achievement in life and preserving it comes as a first priority. This is so pathetic when the same victims are unable to liberate themselves.

    There is a need to change a course in the fight against gender based violence in the Sahel region where men still control nature and woman are the subjects of manipulation.  More emphasis should be put on efforts to advocate for human rights and the governments need to be more constitutional than before. Without this effort being enforced, women will eternally be subjects of gender based violence and breaking the silence will remain an ambition for women.


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