Gender Based Violence is a term used in South Africa to address violence aimed at women.
Many organizations call for stricter legislation to punish offenders. Others advocate that men should be better educated to respect women and that this education should start at school. The reality is that although all these recommendations could have positive effects, the problem will never go away. Men who commit violence against women do not care about laws or being nice or respecting women. The only thing they care about is themselves and satisfying their own selfish needs. It is often linked to personality disorders. They crave power and using violence against other persons makes the feel powerful and in control. No amount of legislation or education can change a personality disorder. Criminals are criminals because they choose to not abide by the laws. There are laws against murder and rape but it still happens. Even in countries where the death penalty is applied, these crimes still happens. It happens in poor and rich families. It happens in families with low education levels and it happens in families with high education levels. It happens in 3rd World Countries and it happens in 1st World Countries. It happens in all population groups.
So what can be done?
Our view is that it requires a combination of things. Yes, the laws needs to be enforced stricter and penalties should be harsher. Yes, men should be taught values from a young age. Yes, the school curriculum should include this type of awareness training BUT, all these things will take a very long time to have any effect. We need to save our women today. Tomorrow may be too late! Also, even if a perpetrator gets arrested, the attack still happened. Your life is already ruined. If he goes to jail or even if he receives the death penalty, the attack still happened. You were still a victim.
There need to be another way. There should be a way to fend off and effectively deal with those thugs who disregard laws or who crave power. Criminals seek easy opportunity. They do not want to work hard to achieve their goals. They target the people whom they think they can easily overpower. They have no feelings for you. They do not care whether you are a good person, whether you have children, whether they are ruining your life. To them you are just an opportunity. A resource. When the attack happens it will just be you and the attacker. It will be between you and him. No amount of pleading will make him stop. It will be your will to survive against his will to overpower. It will be your skill against his skill. Your knowledge against his knowledge.
The solution is to become a harder target. A person who has the knowledge to recognize a potential threat. A person who knows how to effectively de-escalate a conflict situation. A person who knows how to effectively apply force to stop an attacker. A person who has the ability to fight until the threat has stopped. The police cannot do it for you. An armed response company cannot do it for you. They come after the crime happened. You cannot outsource your personal safety to somebody else. The government cannot protect you. They just create the laws and apply penalties after the attacker was apprehended and found guilty in a court of law. Who will be there for you when an attack happens? You will. You and you alone.
No amount of protesting or debating the issue on TV will make you safer. The only person who can make you safer is YOU. Training saves lives.