Reflect and discuss: Gender inequality in Mercy’s story

Home Forums Prevention Essentials Refresher Discussion Board Session 4: Causes Reflect and discuss: Gender inequality in Mercy’s story

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    Gender inequality enables violence in Mercy’s life by hindering her physical development as a child by preventing her from doing sports, and hindering her education and economic prospects by preventing her from finishing school and forcing only one choice taking care of herself (marriage). In her community, Mercy’s church teaches the importance of chastity, keeping a good home and pleasing your husband, rather than other ways to maintain her spirituality and preserve her wellbeing. Because of this, Mercy has to live with a man who beats her and does not feel like she has any other option. These non-options are also forced on her daughter, Angel, since she is being taught everything Mercy was taught.

    The violence by Clinton worsens gender inequalities because it could injure her, preventing her from taking care of herself and her children. This also has negative affects on her physical and mental health. If she continues to excuse it, the violence can also worsen the gendered messaging about violence and gender roles that her children are receiving.


    Mercy was raised to believe that some things are only good for the boy child, such as education. And that girls are only meant to become good wives and raise children and take care of the home. This makes girls grow up believing that men are superiors thus they can be exposed to VAW.

    The lack of education also makes Mecry doubt that there are laws that don’t allow men to beat women, which makes her think it’s okay for men to beat women

    Economical violence can affect gender inequality in a way that women are not allowed to do anything for themselves financially since all the money earned is controlled by the man, thus even if a mother wanted to send their daughter to school, it’s impossible since she has no money.

    Mercy cannot do anything for her daughters, like sending her to school since the money she earns is controlled by her husband

    Megan Denise Smith

    Mercy was not able to do other activities that boys would do, the separation of gender roles happens at such an early age. Then she could not continue her education past primary school and did not have the opportunity to work. She got married at a young age and also became a mother who is balancing productive and reproductive roles. She now repeats many of the behaviours she learned because she thinks its in the best interest of her daughter to focus on learning how to become a good wife and mother. The violence she experienced is so ingrained and normalised that she questions how can a law prevent violence from occurring inside the home. Important to note in previous videos that violence was accepted by her mother and female relatives who said its part of being married and can be “good”

    If the physical violence is normalised then other forms of violence are likely to be normalised perhaps denial of resources, emotional violence, and so on. She will also have the same expectations for her daughter thereby perpetuating a cycle of violence which will be reinforced by her family and the community.

    Linda Mbeyu

    By restricting Mercy to achieve her full potential, Mercy loved to play football but was restricted from playing and instead compelled to tale care of her younger siblings and help her mother. Similarly, she was compelled to drop out of school to allow her brothers proceed with school limiting her options to advance in her life beyond getting married

    Unnati Machchhar

    In Mercy’s life and community, girls have been brought up with an intention of getting married, looking after a home and bearing children. Girls are not educated as parents feels it is important for boys to study as girls will get married and go to another home. Boys are considered to be head of the household and provide for the family. Girls / women are expected to support whatever their partners do. It is also ingrained in these girls from the childhood that it is okay for a husband to beat his wife. It is a vicious cycle, where girls are not educated about their rights, there is poverty and the patriarchal structure in their community enables violence in Mercy’s life and community. The religion that Mercy and her community follow teaches them to be a good wife, remains chaste while it seems okay for men to have sexual initiation before marriage and how to look after a home. Mercy has learnt through her mother that it is okay for husbands to beat wives, she herself went through that and although she wished a different life for her daughter she sent her daughter to church to learn how to be a good wife. The cycle of violence has continued through the generations.

    Violence will worsen if she continues to take the beatings and not speak about it to anyone. Her daughter too, like Mercy will grow up with the thought that husbands beat wives.
    It could worsen if girls are not educated and boys are not involved in understanding household work. It could worsen if the communities are not educated about women’s rights and relationships including violence.

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