In spite of the ubiquitous nature of Gender Based Violence and how much it is talked about, what it really entails can get lost in translation and make us lose sight of how serious and prevalent it is in our society.

To understand Gender based violence, we must first understand what violence is;

The word violence can be defined as “Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.”[1]

This is the widely accepted dictionary meaning and has also been the socially accepted version of the word.

According to Health and Human Rights Info, Gender-based violence (GBV) is defined as 

“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. It is any negative energy directed towards another person stemming from inequalities in privileges based on gender.[2] 

Although boys and men are also victims of Gender Based Violence, the statistics show that the number of GBV related incidences against women and girls are staggering. According to the World Bank, Gender-based violence (GBV), is a global pandemic that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.(“Gender-Based Violence (Violence Against Women and Girls),” 2018)[3]  Statistics also show that in various parts of the world, women are at the receiving end of GBV due to established cultural customs and societal norms.  Consequently, it is used interchangeably with Violence Against Women (VAW).[4]

With the advances in studies, knowledge of various forms of violence was amassed leading to The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993.

Under this Declaration, the United Nations went on to redefine violence against women.

Articles 1 and 2 of the resolution provide the most widely used definition of violence against women.

Article One:

For the purposes of this Declaration, the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Article Two:

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including batteringsexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rapefemale genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rapesexual abusesexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.[5]

In Uganda, The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey reported that one in five women experience sexual violence every day with a domestic violence case being reported every 48 minutes.[6] The fight against GBV has been met with various challenges since its genesis. These challenges include;

As JAWCU we play our part in the fight against GBV by addressing the structural drivers that leave women and girls vulnerable to Violence. We do this by empowering young women and adolescent girls through business and financial literacy skills which enable them become more self-reliant because total dependence and desperacy is a major reason to keep them in abusive environments; improved access to sexual reproductive health information and services; community dialogues through the Gender Action Learning System (GALS); and have GBV desks available at each community dialogue meeting coupled with home visits to gather information on any suspected GBV case. Currently, our efforts are concentrated in Mityana district.

Information is power. Educate yourself and other people in your circle/community about GBV and its dangers. Do not be a perpetrator of this harmful practice. Instead be a change agent in your community.

If you or someone you know are victims of GBV, reach out to the appropriate authorities/bodies and get help.


[1] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/violence

[2] http://www.hhri.org/thematic-pages-overview/gender-based-violence/

[3] http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/socialdevelopment/brief/violence-against-women-and-girls

[4] http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/missing-men-violence-against-women

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_on_the_Elimination_of_Violence_Against_Women

[6] https://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Why-GBV-prosecution-remains-a-challenge/688342-4214036-kdxbvez/index.html

[7] https://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Why-GBV-prosecution-remains-a-challenge/688342-4214036-kdxbvez/index.html

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