Addressing Violence Through Violence

Violence against women required immediate action

A recent article shows how one policy maker was recently quoted advising women to deal with violence in their own relationships by hitting their husbands.

“Violence against women is no laughing matter. Yet, in Andhra Pradesh, the state Minor Irrigation Minister, Mr. T. G. Venkatesh seems to think it is something that can be treated as a joke. According to a front page news item in the Deccan Herald (September 25, 2011) headlined: “Cashing thrashing: Pati, Patni and ten thousand”, Mr. Venkatesh is reported to be offering a new scheme that he thinks will deal with abusive husbands.

“Beat your drunken husband if he touches you. The government will pay you a Rs. 1,000 reward. The more you beat him, the better as you can get up to Rs. 10,000”, he is reported to have told a women’s meeting in Kurnool. The Minister apparently advised women to beat up their drunken and/or abusive husbands on the street so that everyone can see what they are doing. “Once you do this and you get rewarded, your husband will stop harassing you”, he reportedly stated. And went on to say that the scheme could be called “Pati, Patni and Rs. 10,000 scheme”. How simple life would be if we could remove alcoholism and domestic violence by beating up drunken men and stop murders by enforcing capital punishment!”

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My Opinion on resolving violence through violence

Whilst the above advice may seem the best way out for women who are in abusive relationships,this in my view does and will not in any way help the women achieve piece in their homes.

Reason being:

  • Such retaliatory acts will only make the men carry on with their abusive behavior
  • Children in such families will not have role models -and could end up replicating this behavior in their future relationships
  • The cost of violence will only be fueled through such acts
  • The roots of violence go deeper and one requires to get different approaches  to addressing sexual and gender based violence

Women’s Role in Addressing Violence

It is worth noting that women who in most cases are victims of violence in Kenya and beyond have a role to play.

Despite this,women have been found to silently propagate violence given that:

  • in some cultures,certain forms of violence against women are considered a norm in marital relationships
  • most of the violence always happens within the home environment,as such it becomes hard for people to air their dirty linen in public when such incidences occur
  • there is stigma associated with violence,as such people prefer not to report
  • existing services offered by the police are not friendly to most victims

Women need to act NOW

Violence cannot be brought to an end if women do not agree to do the following:

  • report cases of sexual and gender based violence to relevant authorities
  • leave any abusive relationship they might be in
  • be willing to SAY NO to any form of abuse,be it physical,emotional,financial of sexual
  • get people who can support them in making healthy decisions

In conclusion,the advice given my the Minister from India on how rewards will be given to women who beat their drunken husbands, will not in my view help put a stop to violence.

Policy makers should come up with better messages to their constituents on how to eradicate or respond to violence

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Violence Against Women: Action Required

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