Reply To: Reflect and discuss: Why prevention in Mercy’s story

Atusaye Nyondo

    Why is violence prevention important for Mercy’s community?

    Violence happening in Mercy’s family is just a ‘tip of the iceberg or a silent epidemic’ in her community considering normalization of violence in the community. Violence Against Women and Girls in Mercy’s community contravene women and children’s rights and undermine development in the community. The economic costs of VAWG include the reduced economic earning power of women and girls and increased costs of providing services for survivors of violence. For instance, evidence shows that education and household wealth are strongly, negatively associated with both acceptance and experience of intimate partner violence. Therefore, violence prevention is very important because it addresses the structural causes, as well as the risk and protective factors, associated with violence and this is pivotal to eliminating violence against women and girls completely. Prevention is the only way to stop violence before it even occurs.

    Which activities could prevent violence against women in her community

    Interventions on VAWG prevention (as opposed to response) should be strengthened with more attention given to changing social norms and behaviours, reducing exposure to childhood abuse, tackling power imbalances (i.e. using power as the entry point rather than gender, interrogating both its positive and negative uses), increasing women’s economic empowerment, working with men and boys and with researchers. The activities should engage men and boys on harmful masculinities, including use of violence.