Millions of individuals around the world are impacted by the pervasive and highly devastating issue known as gender and sexually-based violence (GSBV). GSBV can appear in a multitude of ways, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, but because the warning symptoms are so subtle, it typically goes unrecognized. On the other hand, it’s vital to know the GSBV warning indicators to stop harm and support survivors.
Controlling behavior is one of the most common warning signs of GSBV. Abusers may control survivors’ actions, finances, and social lives. Abusers can exhibit these behaviors in many ways, including constantly monitoring the whereabouts of their partner, and isolating them from friends and family by claiming that their friends and family are bad for them and that they (the abusers) are the only ones who genuinely care about them. Also, limiting their partner’s access to resources, telling her what to wear, how to style her hair, and how to apply makeup, mocking her appearance, and making her feel self-conscious of her body, to name a few. In addition, they constantly put her down and make her feel inadequate.
Coercion and threats are other red flags. Abusers may use violence or intimidation to control their partner or force them to engage in unwanted sexual activities. Abusers, for example, may threaten to harm their partner or family members if they leave the relationship.
Physical violence is also an obvious indicator of GSBV. This can include slapping and hitting, as well as choking and the use of weapons. Abusers may also deny their partner access to medical care or coerce them into harmful behaviors such as substance abuse. We see and hear cases where women are beaten to death or in a coma. This is such a barbaric act and should never be encouraged or condoned.
Another form of gender-based violence is sexual violence, which encompasses any form of unwanted sexual activity, including rape, assault, harassment, and other forms of undignified sexual behavior. Coerced or forced sexual acts, sexual exploitation, or forced prostitution may also occur.
Emotional abuse is overlooked, even though it can be just as harmful as physical abuse. Name-calling, belittling, gaslighting, and isolating the survivor from their social support system are examples of such behaviors. Emotional abuse has long-term consequences for mental health and self-esteem.
There are steps you can take if you suspect someone suffers from GSBV. Begin by listening and offering assistance without judgment. It is critical to believe the survivor and assure them that they are not alone.
Encourage them to seek assistance from professionals or local support services such as hotlines, shelters, or advocacy groups. Remind them that they have the right to leave an abusive situation and that their safety is the most significant consideration.
In conclusion, being aware of GSBV warning indicators is essential to avoid harm and support survivors. Remember that there is help out there and you do not have to navigate through this alone. This is whether you are a survivor or someone who supports one. We can unite to build a safer and more equitable society for all by noticing the warning signs and taking appropriate action.