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The Gender War Amongst Us

Dear Editor:
The United Nations define gender-based violence as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women and other persons, including threats of acts of violence, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global public health problem that challenges and effects the morbidity and mortality of women and the LGBTQ community. It is estimated that 30 percent of women and 85 percent of the LGBTQ community have experienced, at least one form of GBV in their lifetime, since the age of 15.

The United Nations study among women of reproductive age, revealed that intimate partner violence(IVP) ranged from 15 percent in urban regions (ie Japan) to 71 percent in rural regions (ie Ethiopia).

Evidence shows that this problem is mostly prominent in developing nations, where socio-economic status is low and education limited, especially in sub-Saharan African countries.

Gender prejudice and violence, directed towards women and the LGBTQ community is globally-widespread, even within the well-educated populations of the developed world.

Gender-based violence is a common practice in Africa, Asia and developing nations in Latin America.

Some African cultural beliefs and traditions promote men’s hierarchical roles in sexual relationships and, especially in marriage. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of African populations live in rural settings, which increases the difficulty to access basic amenities, and communities are isolated from the influence of central governments or the laws that prohibit GBV. Despite legislative advances, GBV remains pervasive and a daily reality for women, girls and LGBTQ communities.

Within Rwanda, many women and girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence and oppression, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early and forced marriages, genital mutilation and human trafficking.

Gender-based violence, directed towards the LGBTQ community is high within African society, where their lifestyle may appear as a challenge to other males’ masculinity or gender understanding.

Within Latino communities, such violence exists, but is far less felt than in areas within Africa. The Latino world’s understanding of masculinity seems to vary, appearing to be more accepting of “the different”. Many Latino males have multiple gender partners, even within marriage. African attitudes are far more conservative and unyielding.

Gender politics have shaped our world, moving from ancient acceptance of the power and influence of womanhood, to a place where religion became the excuse to oppress women and other elements of society, like the LGBTQ community. Humanities move towards freedom, and self-expression has been squashed by the manipulative, powerful masculinity of mankind. Impressions of a controlling, protective society show us what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives.

Equality, self determination and self expression for women and members of the LGBTQ community still remain important aspects of the developed world’s policy-making and implementation.

Within the continents of Africa, Central and Latin America, and some Asian nations, government policy-makers attempt to legally establish the necessary laws to protect their populations, but cultural, political and societal traditions and prejudices have entangled themselves within these nations’ evolutionary movement towards equal rights and gender democracy.

A gender war remains among us, within us, allowing prejudice, fear and hate to shape our society. Like all wars, there are many casualties, but with education, determination and the hand of justice applied, this war can be won.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

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