When I was only a child, I remember our house helper, who helped us with the chores, was at times severely bruised and wounded. On such days, my mother used to offer her food and listen to her problems. I later found out she was married to a drunkard. Her husband used to steal all her hard-earned money to spend on alcohol, and whenever she refused, he used to physically abused her. “Why didn’t she just leave?!” That was my first thought. With help, police, and a considerable saving, she eventually won her fight against her husband and gender-based violence.
Like her, most people prone to victimization are females from the marginalized communities and rural areas, widows, and women with little to no contact with their parental households. There is a lack of evidence-based research for preventing GBV among indigenous youth, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities, even though these groups are also at elevated risk for experiencing violence. Violence against girls and young women is pervasive in numerous formats: intimate partner violence and sexual violence, with both highly prevalent in the current context of COVID-19.
GBV prevention refers to universal approaches intended to reduce the likelihood of violence against women and girls. Prevention is based on reducing risk factors associated with GBV and promoting protective factors that can enhance young women’s safety. Primary prevention programs address the underlying attitudes, norms, behaviors, and societal mentalities that support GBV. The ultimate goals are to end violence, empower women and girls, and promote nonviolent, equitable, and respectful relationships and weaken gender inequality- one of the major causes of GBV.
The best methodology in combating deeply rooted social issues and disparities are education and awareness, and this is where SOCHAI works. What this means for gender-based violence and how our upcoming generation can work towards its eradication are questions to be discussed. There is an urgent need for a humongous amount of groundwork to prevent GBV. That requires systemic changes, policy shifts, and long term investments. However, this is also an everyday, active process that needs critical action from you and me.
Preventing GBV and strengthening gender equality stems from understanding and addressing the “minor” issues that potentially lead to psychological, sexual and physical abuse, exploitation, and violence. Here are a few evidence-based strategies that you and I can follow to nip GBV in the bud and promote gender equality:
- Be an aware and active bystander – if something is off about someone you know and suspect they could be dealing with a form of abuse, call the police, reach out to them or reach out to the helpline numbers (mentioned at the bottom).
- Establish boundaries – be it in a new relationship, in a workplace, or with your extended family and friend circle, voice your concerns and needs loud and clear.
- Help SOCHAI to educate and aware more people – by supporting and sharing our programs that educate and empower girls and women in Nepal.
Here are a few hotline numbers you or someone you know could need:
National Women Commission Hotline – 1145
Mental Health Support and Psychosocial Support – 16600102005
Asha Crisis Center – 9801193088
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