Marriage counsellor Taonga Kaluba is also concerned about the violence being perpetrated by women in the community.
She said every case of abuse should be taken seriously and each partner given access to the support they need.
Ms Kaluba said it is not true that women are the only GBV victims and neither are men the only perpetrators.
She said both men and women may experience incidents of violence and abuse with women being considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse.
Studies show that GBV is a global concern that affects one in three women in their lifetime.
“Women have been marching for decades to reclaim their basic rights, but a lot still needs to change, whether at a household, community, political or cultural level. In addition, we cannot ignore the violence and cruelty that is also committed by women,” Ms Kaluba said.
She said couples also have a big role to play to ensure that families are stable and safe so that women and men can live free from all forms of violence and abuse.
Ms Kaluba said many married women live under a cloud of violence.
She said a strong system for counseling that is inclusive of both partners is what all marriage counselors must adhere to if couples’ lives have to be protected.
She said parents and the communities must take interest in who is counselling their children as they enter into marriage and where necessary, ensure that an extensive programme is developed for both partners.
GBV is defined as an act done to someone against their will.
It contributes to the gender norms as well as unequal power relationships.
Forms of abuse range from physical, emotional and sexual, to outright denial of freedom, resources and services.
Recently, a male reader who follows gender articles expressed concern about the silence of activists and the blame on male victims every time a GBV case perpetrated by women results into death.
He noticed some biasness in comments on GBV cases on social media and other platforms when it comes to women being perpetrators.
According to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), although women can be violent in relationships with men, it is often in self defence.
Similarly, women’s violent behaviour towards their male partners has been established as an effort to try and end their partner’s repetitive abuse.
In a sadly familiar story, one of the observations made by some scholars as being among causes of GBV, is that the worst mistake a woman can make is wasting years of her life waiting for a man to change or grow up.
It is from this observation that Ms Kaluba bemoaned the late response of women in abusive relationships as they hope to see their perpetrators change even when the indicators are alarming.
She has observed that clear communication is one of the tools required to sustain a relationship and both partners should make efforts to speak up and listen to each other.
“The challenge of women expressing their views in a society dominated by strong cultural values continues to see a number of women stay silent in relationships. As a result, we are now seeing some women holding back desires and grudges, which build up over time into resentment towards their partners,” Ms Kaluba said.
She said when one considers the main causes of GBV in relationships, one would realise that women who challenge their partner’s views on infidelity, politics, finances and when women want to chase their career development or business, they are usually victims of abuse.
While there is a common stereotype that women talk more than men, society has been conditioned to believe that men should have their voices more pronounced in decision making in a relationships and in their homes.
In addition, the same society criticizes women and labels them “rebellious”, with others suggesting to have the women taken back for marriage guidance if they cannot agree with their partners’ decisions.
But other activists who have been trying to address the GBV challenges have also suggested how ending violence against women in relationships can only be addressed when the victims identify the red flags and decide to make a sound decision for their own safety.
“For example, because of women’s financial dependence on their partners, the cause to advance the fight of GBV has proved to be challenging, hence the outcomes are always what we are seeing and reading in the media,” one activist said.
Ms Kaluba agrees that tackling GBV should be inclusive of both men and women.
She said working towards prevention and the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence should not be used as defense by those who want to champion practicing harmful customs and advance their own perception of women.
And because the future of the fight for gender equality looks
promising, there is need to continue working on the attitude shift at personal, community, as well as family level, so as to reduce GBC in society.
Therefore, in order to address the challenges of all forms of violence in relationships, there is need to prevent GBV by continuing to examine the root causes that result from the socialisation of men, power and patriarchy, as well as from masculinities in society.
For comments firstname.lastname@example.org.