Gender Based Violence in Education

 By

Adekunle Akinde

 

 

Girls’ education is as paramount as boys’ education for the development of the society. Women should be given equal opportunity in terms of education. On this note let’s take a look at gender-based violence and education.

Gender-based violence can be described as any form of violation or discrimination neither directly or indirectly against female as a result of physical, sexual and psychological against women and young girl. These can occur inform of rape, sexual harassment and intimidation at work and school, forced prostitution and women and girls trafficking.

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993 has been influenced by CEDAW General Recommendation No. 19. It defines VAW as: “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likley to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (Article 1) The declaration encompasses all forms of gender-based violence against women (physical, sexual and psychological), no matter in which context or setting they occur:

Gender-based violence most occurred against female sex than male across the world. While men and boys can also be a victims of violence through physical or verbal attacks for transgressing predominant concepts of masculinity. But the main focus here is violence against women and girls in schools because they are weak and vulnerable.

Meanwhile, it has been generally accepted that the majority of persons affected by gender-based violence are women and girls, due to imbalance dissemination of roles and power in the society between both sexes or as a result of gender discrimination.

The primary targets of GBV are women and adolescent girls, but not only are they at high risk of GBV, they also suffer exacerbated consequences as compared with what men endure. As a result of gender discrimination and their lower socio-economic status, women have fewer options and less resources at their disposal to avoid or escape abusive situations and to seek justice. They also suffer (…) consequences [on their sexual and reproductive health], including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and resulting deaths, traumatic fistula, and higher risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.” (UNFPA Strategy and Framework for Action to Addressing GBV, 2008-2011, p. 7)

As discussed gender-based violence, it also important to look at forms; physical and non-physical violence.

Forms of violence against women are: Domestic violence, Sexual violence, Physical violence, Emotional violence, Psychological violence and Economic violence.

Gender-based violence occurs at workplace and schools environments as a result of demand for sex in exchange for job position, promotion and opportunity. As it affects both sexes, women and girls are most affected in the society. Gender-based violence limits girl’s access to education and challenges in finding jobs after graduation.

Students suffer sexual harassment in higher institutions as lecturers’ demands for sex in other for pass marks. These can result in unwanted pregnancy which leads to abortion. In most case such student becomes sexual slave as often demands. Such victims developed emotional trauma and gradually morally destabilized in studies as the perpetrators continues to demand more. Most female students have faced series of violence neither from lecturers or fellow mate due to their physical appearance and beauty. Women and girls with big bottom or breast are mostly attracted to men in higher learning environment.

In most case, some young girls have left schools and unable to further their education as they are not able to withstand the sexual harassment faced in the learning environments. Sometimes, some are forced out of school due to pregnancy as some school would not allow their reentry anymore. At this stage, it is important to know that both married men and single men demand for sex at every point in time. This leads to the following: kidnapping, threats, attacks, harassments, physical and sexual assault. It is a serious harm to the female sex as it results to unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Many cases of gender violence in schools go unreported or under-reported because students fear victimization, punishment or ridicule.

Gender based violence is not specific to a social group, tribe, ethnicity, religion or particular country but a universal problem that caused serious violation to women and girls. Gender-based violence absolutely distresses girls’ self-esteem and ability to learn in school. This is even worsened by the fact that parents are often hesitant to speak out.

The big question is “How can this be eliminates in the educational sectors?” or the learning environment.

The persistent inequality between both sexes holds society in doubt and eventually generational challenge. Poverty is another important factor influencing female sexual abuse in school, at work and society at large. This leads many young girls into sexual service in exchange for money (transactional sex) or the sugar daddy syndrome to meet their financial needs. While on campus at the university some young girls engaged in transactional sex to make income as others see it a fashionable.

According to a graduate of one university: I used to see posh cars parked outside girls’ hostel mostly on Fridays. Men with big tummies would pull their heads out and seduce girls as they pass from supper or classes. Eventually they would hook up with some girls whom they would take out for discos and drinking sprees. Many of these girls ended up pregnant or getting infected with HIV AIDs. It never occurred to me that this was gender violence until later after when I got sensitized on gender violence. In the modern society sexual services are treated as commodities that should be paid for. Some of the girls had more than one “sugar daddy” at a time. However, this interaction may have negative effects. Also the type of interaction between teachers and male and female students raises issues. Transactional sex for “good exam results” is replicated both between teachers and pupils in schools and between students and teachers in training colleges. In some situations this becomes normalised, “it’s the way things are” yet girls are blamed from becoming pregnant and damaging family honour. Many schools do not accept their reentry as mothers yet the punishment on perpetrators is minimal of it all.

PRECAUTIONS:

  • Boys should be enlighten and trained in schools on gender-based violence and violence against women.
  • Parents should avoid fighting each other at home and uses of abuse words in the presence of their children.
  • Parents/guardians and teachers should teach about gender based violence in schools, homes and religions places.
  • Parents should listen to their child and take ACTION when they report such cases.

CONCLUSION:

Together we can make our educational/ institutions and the world at large a safe place by eliminating violence in education.

Adekule Akinde is the Communication and Media officer of Centre for 21st Century Issues

 

 

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