What is gender-based violence?

Before you can spot signs that someone in your community is a victim of #GBV, you need to know that there is a wide spectrum of abusive and violent activities that fall under this kind of violence.

Physical violence – all forms of physical abuse ranging from the smallest amount of force to murder – the violence does not have to cause physical injury or scarring to be considered abuse!

Emotional and psychological violence – including gas-lighting, emotional manipulation and verbal, financial abuse. Gas-lighting is making someone doubt their own experiences of reality or their sanity.

Obstetric violence – the abuse of women during labour and birth within in the health care system.

Institutional violence – sexism in the workplace, being unheard or dismissed by institutions meant to protect you.

Am I being abused?

Sometimes, #GBV can be incredibly subtle so as to confuse the victim. In cases of emotional and psychological violence, the effects may not be visible but they are there.

If you find that you:

  • are unhappy in the relationship, but fear alternatives
  • ditch friends and sideline your family to please your partner
  • critique yourself through your abuser’s eyes, ignoring your own instincts
  • feel responsible and take the blame for something they did
  • defend your abuser when others point out what’s happening
  • try to “rescue” them from themselves
  • believe that nobody else could ever want to be with you
  • change your behavior in response to guilt; your abuser says, “I can’t live without you,” so you stay

You may be experiencing abuse.

Here’s where you can get help:

  • GBV Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428; Send a “Please Call Me” by dialing 1207867#; SMS ‘help’ to 31531
  • People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA): 0800 029 999
  • Lifeline’s Domestic Violence line: 0800 150 150
  • Tears Foundation: dial 1347355# or 010 590 5920
  • South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG): 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 456 789 or 0800 20 5026 and others