Stopping gender-based violence is one of the many fronts women battle every day of their lives.
Whether they are asking for equal pay, equal opportunity, they are also constantly asking for their right to exist in a space that is safe and they wouldn’t have to be on guard all the time.
Imagine always considering a number of things that could go wrong whenever someone of a different gender is in your space.
While it is a fact that some men do also experience gender-based violence, there is an overwhelming amount of women who do not feel safe in spaces where men are available, whether they know the men or not.
A lot of the harassing, assaulting, raping and murdering of women are done by men.
That is why the age-old way of giving the women so many cautions and a to-do list to stay safe, hasn’t really worked.
A case in point is the harrowing story of an unemployed Nigerian woman who went for a job interview only to be raped and murdered.
Iniubong Umoren, known as Hiny Humoren on Twitter had tweeted to ask for employment when a man reached out promising to give her a job.
She went for the interview on April 29, where she was attacked, raped and eventually murdered.
She had taken every precaution – told people where she was going, it was during broad daylight, she shared her location and the contact details of the individual she was meeting – however, none of those were able to save her from her attacker, Uduak Akpan.
Uduak, is said to be a 24-year-old serial rapist.
Hiny Humoren’s sad story moves the conversation from the victims taking precautions to men taking responsibility in ending gender-based violence.
Here’s how you check yourself and your friends in ending violence against women.
Recognize Your Privilege
As men, you are in the class of people that are rarely victims of gender-based violence, however, you are also part of the gender that is often accused of violence against women. It is important that you acknowledge the power imbalance and the exist between you and the women.
Society has made it difficult for people to share when they have been abused by anyone, includes men. As a result, when a woman is courageous enough that they have been a victim, believe them. Do not ignore their pain.
Sometimes, everyone hurts someone unintentionally. You would say something, make a gesture, do something that would make a woman feel threatened. It might not have been your intention, however, that was the effect. When you have been made away of the effect of your action, you have to take the necessary steps to make amends.
Hold Your Pals Accountable
Boys boys meet and discuss anything and everything. When your friends shares how he’s treated someone, make sure you take steps to hold him accountable. Bro code does not mean cover-up gender-based violence. Remember, next time it could be a woman you cherish and you’d wish someone had broken the bro code and gotten that person arrested.
Be An Ally
Ending gender-based violence is huge for women now. They have been fighting alone for decades. It is time men join the campaign. Not to lead it, but to provide support to the women who have been in the trenches all their lives. Being an ally often means, acknowledging the problem, educating yourself about it and taking action to solve the problem.
Women are part of this world and they should not feel unsafe roaming the streets, taking meetings or hanging out with people they assumed to be friends.
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