Access to JusticeNovember 26, 20190 CommentsKituo Cha Sheria


It should not surprise anyone that violence against women remains one of the most wide-spread acts of violations of human rights. Statistics show that one in every three women or 35% of women around the World will experience some form of violence during their lifetime. These acts have proven to know no geographical or cultural boundaries as they remains wide-spread across the World; it’s a global crisis!

Violence against women takes place in different forms including domestic violence, sexual assault, and female genital mutilation. Women from marginalized communities especially those from poor backgrounds are more likely to experience it with most of it coming from their husbands and partners. It is a culture deep-rooted in the gender inequality and stereotypes that women have been subjected to for ages- since time immemorial with most believing that violence against women and girls is normal and acceptable in the society. This thinking has made violence towards women become one of the most widespread injustices and violation of human rights wide long-term harming effects on the lives of women, their communities and societies at large.

Violence against women remains one of the biggest barriers towards social, political and economic development in the world. It not only devastates the lives of women and divides communities but also undermines development efforts and the building of just and peaceful societies. Women get locked in poverty and are unable to exploit their freedoms and rights fully, some of which are inherent. For instance, women are unable to participate in political life as well as being limited in their access to education and being able to earn a living.

Efforts towards ending violence over the years have focused on the survivors of these acts but don’t seem to look into the root causes at all- which happens to be mostly cultural. Bias against women and girls, in most instances; starts at a very young age. Female children the world over begin experiencing sexual and physical violence at the hands of boys and men they know well before they become adults. These experiences have damaging impacts on their mental and physical health as well as their likelihood of continuing to experience violence into adulthood. In most societies, for instance, women have been perceived as lesser human beings. Small girls face more punishment for mistakes at home while boys would more often get away with much under the disguise of them being boys. Discriminations against women and girls most times leads to violence against them. Societies with a higher degree of equality experience lesser acts of violence against women and girls.

More work therefore need to be done at this early stage in life in dealing with violence against women by educating and promoting respectful relationships between young boys and girls and cultivate a culture of mutual respect, gender equality and responsibility. Public policies which often overlook this critical stage need to relook at this critical stage of life where cultures, values and norms are nurtured.

It is time for all stakeholders including women, women, civil societies, government officials, religious groups and policy makers to step up efforts in addressing the biggest distraction towards ending this widespread injustice against women. It is time for the world to challenge the deeply-rooted unjust cultural norms that encourage men’s control and power over women and that further encourage tolerance for violence against women.


Douglas Mwale

RCKM-Kituo cha Sheria

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