By T who blogs at http://dance-triangle.blogspot.com
The 16 days of activism campaign got me thinking and trying to define Gender Based Violence to myself. Violence based on, or because of your gender didn’t seem to quite cut it. Violence denotes aggression and aggressive behaviour, physical force, injuries, blood; but so often violence, and abuse, is not just about those things. What about the wife who has no access to the bank accounts, no money of her own, and is forced to ask and account for every penny? What about the son who is constantly told he is not good enough, not manly enough, doesn’t fit into the male stereotype society has deemed fit to construct for him? What about the young girl who is forced to give up her dreams and marry a man she neither knows nor loves because the time has come? What about the woman who walks to work everyday and not once does she look up, fearful as she is of the salacious looks and lewd comments coming her way? Is this not violence too?
We have compartmentalized and defined violence to such an extent, that unless there is blood and broken bones, we do not even consider it. We do not consider mental scars, sleepless nights, anxieties and fear unless they come bearing the visible marks to prove it. And if you can’t see it, it didn’t happen, did it?
We ignore the subtle putdowns that accumulate over time and tear one’s confidence to shreds. We turn a blind eye on infidelity and broken trust because sorry is such a strong word, isn’t it? We try to find salvation in religion, in food, in music, in rusty blades and dirty needles, because somewhere along the way, we forgot what it felt like to be happy.
Violence is not always aggressive. It is not always meted out with sticks and stones. Sometimes violence comes down to words and deeds, with ignorance and carelessness. But it should never come with excuses. Because there is no excuse to violating someone’s rights, for causing pain and sorrow.