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Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a significant social problem that affects millions of women and girls globally. GBV can take several forms, including intimate partner violence, rape, sexual assault, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and honor killings. Despite increasing efforts to reduce GBV, its impact continues to persist in communities worldwide, and this has been attributed to the neglected and unviewed dimensions of the phenomenon.
One of the neglected dimensions of GBV is the economic perspective. Women and girls who experience violence often face financial barriers that hinder their ability to escape exploitative situations. For instance, women who are victims of intimate partner violence may not have access to economic resources or lack the necessary survivable skills to support themselves and their children. This can trap them in abusive relationships and limit their options for seeking help and legal redress.
Another unexplored dimension of GBV is the health implications of violence. Women who experience GBV are at increased risk of physical and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These health issues may manifest later in life and affect their quality of life and overall well-being.
The societal and cultural context of GBV is another under-explored dimension. In many communities, cultural practices, social norms, and gender stereotypes perpetuate violence against women and girls. These practices are often normalized and legitimized, making challenging GBV complex and difficult.
Furthermore, the intersectional dimension of GBV is also often overlooked. This refers to the multiple identities that women and girls have that intersect with GBV (e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexuality, age). Women who are members of marginalized groups experience GBV differently from those who are not. For instance, women with disabilities have higher rates of GBV, while women of color often face intersecting forms of violence, such as sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
In conclusion, GBV is a multifaceted issue that requires a holistic and coordinated approach to address its neglected and unviewed dimensions. Strategies aimed at addressing GBV must include developing programs that integrate economic empowerment, health care responses, socio-cultural context, and intersectionality. By taking a comprehensive approach, we can reduce GBV’s prevalence and impact and create safer, more equitable communities for all.