Children are exposed to various forms of violence as a result of a stereotypic society, toxic social -cultural beliefs and exaggerated disparity in gender roles, they include: female genital mutilation, child trafficking, early marriages, sexual, emotional and psychological violence. Advancement in technology and early exposure of children to the same has in recent years subjected them to technology – facilitated gender based violence including; bullying, sexual harassment, defamation and exploitation.
The family is an important unit in mitigating gender based violence among kids as well as child protection. “The family is the first defense against violence” Ms. Bogopane
The actions that aim at addressing this issue should be primarily to the best interests of the children. Some of the actions include, promoting child protection by increasing the capacity of existing community protection mechanisms, improving the basis of interaction between boys and girls in various levels and institutions. Endorsement of beliefs and actions that foster respectful, non-violent gender norms will go a long way in changing the narrative of violence in different societies.
Although the aim is to create a society where children are free of gender based violence, the rescue of affected children should be accompanied by a culturally sensitive and multi-sectoral support system including medical and health, psychological support since the affected kids may come to accept violence as an alternative means of conflict resolution or may be mentally damaged and legal assistance. Following up on legal process by the relevant parties and ensurering justice is served to the kid is crucial.
By Wairimu Ngandu