What is Gender Based Violence? How will I know if I am a victim and what can I do about it?

gender based violence 2
30 Apr 2021


Indeed, I am an employment lawyer and all my previous articles are employment related. However, in doing my job I often see how many women and some men are being victimised based on gender and it has now become a passion project of mine to keep raising awareness. Though I could write a gargantuan book on Gender Based Violence (GBV) during COVID-19 and prior, regrettably I have to find a way to cut some corners, whilst still raising awareness and continuing the conversation about GBV during other months and not just women’s month once a year.

The definition of Gender Based Violence

Victimisation is the process of being victimised, either from a physical or a psychological point of view. The principal characteristic of GBV is that it mainly occurs against women. GBV involves power imbalances where, most often, men are the perpetrators and women the victims. GBV is not only just a reference to a physical act of violence, though most incidents of GBV are. It can take many forms, such as threats, blackmail, gaslighting, cybercrime, hacking of phones and social media accounts, tracking, stalking, financial abuse and severe psychological harm and post traumatic disorder as a result of the GBV. This is not an exhaustive list. Most people believe GBV has to have an element of domestic violence, but as mentioned above it comes in many forms.

I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, but I have interviewed an enormous number of GBV victims, as well as issued protection orders as an Attorney and last, but not least, my own personal experiences and I proudly state with my clients – #metoo and #timesup!

My personal GBV experience

People often say to me; you are a lawyer, well known in the legal community as an expert in your field of employment law, how could you be a victim of GBV? Well, GBV does not discriminate. People are quick to ask, ‘why did you not just leave immediately?’.  Many reasons come to mind – embarrassment, failure, nonsensical fear of my perpetrator/s. GBV can be perpetrated on all kinds of people, rich or poor, professional or high school dropouts, celebrities, powerful men and women in the political and judicial arena, the list goes on.

Although #timesup and the #metoo movement have raised awareness in leaps and bounds, it is important to continue this awareness and assistance to victims in our great country of South Africa, all year round if you are able to do so. As an attorney I am in a position to assist with protection orders or advice but even mere moral support can go a long way. If you feel you are being victimised, you should report the incident/s to your nearest SAPS and get a protection order against the alleged perpetrator.

The (never) end of GBV

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to leave a relationship if you have no money or no place to go, my heart breaks for those women and men. What I want to relay to women and men of all ages is that I completely understand your fears and, if there is anything I can do to help as an Attorney or just a human who has been through this, just send me a message. I am a google click away. Let’s stop GBV in all its forms and share this article. Stay strong.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)

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