Technology, Gender and Violence!! Break the silence now!.

As I anxiously wait to join the rest of the world in marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence(GBV) from 25 November 2010 to 10 December 2010 whose regional theme is "Engaging Faith-based Communities to Prevent Violence against Women" focusing on how our faiths and faith-based communities can (and should!) get involved in preventing violence against women, I can’t help think of the millions of mothers, sisters, Aunties and nieces who have been violated yet still remain helpless and silent despite the growing opportunities and improved technology which can help them break the silence through sharing and reporting.

According to a Ugandan psychologist Paul Nyende violence ranges from Physical, Emotional, Economic and financial. In physical abuse, usually physical force against someone is used meaning that sexual abuse fits in this. A signs of this, is being viewed as a sex object or property rather than a human being. Whereas in emotional abuse, the abuser attacks the victim’s spirit by eating away their feelings of self-worth and independence making the victim feel trapped and worthless. Signs of emotional abuse are humiliation, being yelled at and teased in a hurtful way both privately and publicly, Verbal insults and calling you names against your will as well as using threats.
The financial abuse which is usually ignored by many, involves the abuser controlling their victim financially; the signs include monitoring one’s account for every penny spent, not letting you get on with your career or sabotaging you at your place of work.

MAJOR TACTICS USED BY ABUSERS.

Dominance: This is used so that the abuser is in charge of the relationship.
Humiliation: This is to make the Victim feel bad about him/herself.
Isolation: This is to increase the victim’s dependence on the abuser.
Threats: To scare the victim into staying with the abuser
Intimidation: To make the victim submit to the abuser’s will, this involved denial and placing blame to push into excusing the inexcusable.

AND WHO BREAKS THE SILENCE?
With the emergence of New Media and Technology, it is now evident that the power of the media is in the hands of the people. The only issue is how this power is being used to create positive social change in regard to combating Gender Based Violence. Web 2.0 technologies have given people the power of real time reporting, networking and receiving timely information, but how many people have the technical know-how of using them? Then the mobile phones whose subscription in Africa alone has surpassed five million http://ht.ly/37Ks7 and powerful penetration to the rural communities and can be used to combat gender based violence, How many people use up to 50% of the mobile phone application/functionality? How many are aware that it combines text, video and Audio?
Many people have mentioned to me that you get more knowledge by asking many questions. I am desperate to learn from you the readers of this article.

I conclude by quoting one man from Eastern Uganda who once said that:
“For every bullet that hits a man during war kills a Woman’s Child”

Gender based violence is real and it affects all of us, some directly and others indirectly. But the good news is that it’s within our power to end it. Have your say!!

By Maureen Agena
Skype ID: m.agena1 | Twitter: @maureenagena
Blog: http://dignityinpoverty.blogspot.com/
http://www.citizenjournalismafrica.org/en/blog/maureen

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I like how you say gender

tettner's picture

I like how you say gender violence is affecting us all, especially men because we are not aware of it. I think part of the struggle is making men aware that lives with healthy and empowered women is just more fun and more fulfilling on one hand, and also relieves us men from a lot of the pressure put on us by sexism. Check out this article, http://www.alternet.org/sex/147626 I really like the narrative style and the points it brings out are interesting. I shared it with a man who I met in Cape Town, he is doing his masters in Sociology and is looking at men's groups and their effect on sexism. He also runs an website where people can post their stories, which kind of goes along what you're saying about using social media to create awareness. http://www.shareastory.net/

Cheers!

-S

The only way we can all be a

mtotowajirani's picture

The only way we can all be a part of the campaign against GBV is if we make everyone aware about it...and your right, most people don't realize the importance of it.

New media and technology gives people the opportunity to voice their concerns...and as such, we, as digital natives, should be at the fore front of championing the cause using digital media.

At the workshop, we discussed mobilization (http://digitalnatives.in/adamhaupt/videos/talking-about-mobilisation) as a way of getting people behind a cause. I do believe the information in the video can provide ideas of how we can use technology to mobilize champions for this cause and get them to spread the word and make everyone aware of the campaign against GBV

Rotimi also has a good write

mtotowajirani's picture

Rotimi also has a good write up about mobilization here: http://digitalnatives.in/rotexonline/blogs/mobilising-change-success-and...

Happy that the 16 Days of

mlambo's picture

Happy that the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence are upon us again. In Zimbabwe these days are marked by daily appearance of gender activists on both national radio and television speaking on GBV everyday. The programs are interactive as there will be phone-in sessions on the stations.
GBV is now a serious issue in Zimbabwe. Almost everyday I read a story about GBV in our national papers. It seems as if it has been institutionalized and my heart bleeds when I see pictures of badly disfigured women that have been beaten or burnt by their husbands. Man wake up !! Stop this nonsense.
Yes, technology has provided ’ the power of the media in the hands of the people’ but this technology comes at a cost that makes dialing for information sound round the bend for many woman. It’s a fact that most woman that suffer GBV are in relationship where the man is dominant in everything. With a mobile phone credit of 0.000000001 that is if she has the phone can the ordinary women ‘network and receive timely information?’
This is the reason I am finding a link between what you do and what I do. I now have a deep understanding of the power of networking. Soon I will start building networks with women organizations in Zimbabwe in order to provide woman with the ‘power of the media in their hands’

When they 'appear', what

Maureen_Agena's picture

When they 'appear', what exactly do they discuss in GBV? Do they still only attack men? Activists tend to over concentrate on the female gender forgeting that men too are not immune to violence.

Educating women and men will

rotexonline's picture

Educating women and men will help reduce violence against women. I just watched a play today by the National touring theatre of Sweden titled "seven" which talks about the story of seven women around the world that have championed human right s issues. One of the women, who was gang-raped by four men, went on to set up a school to educate girls and boys from the community in which she was raped and several others.

Given women the opportunity to report rape cases without disclosing their identity will also help many more women to report rape cased. Most times, the stigma of being raped is higher than the rape itself

I like the bit of "Educating

Maureen_Agena's picture

I like the bit of "Educating both men and Women". It's important for the public to know that gender means (Men + Women)and the violence affects both Gender differently. And that it's through combined effort that it can end!

There is one thing which I

mlambo's picture

There is one thing which I found amazing during the 16 days of activism against gender violence. There were a number of gender organisations that were in the streets. I was even surprised to note that there is even an organization that takes care of women suffering gender based violence a stone throw away from where I live.
whilst the days are worthwhile I would like to point out that gender organisation especially in Zimbabwe need to be visible throughout the year. Just because gender violence occurs yearround and people need to be educated about it everyday.

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