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In many communities, women and girls are often looked down upon on account of their biological differences. For the longest time, this attitude has been passed on from one generation to the next, to the point that it makes some women and girls accept being violated. This is because they are seen and made to see themselves as inferior to men. It is about time that gender-based violence (GBV) is taught or introduced in schools as a complete subject or as a course.

It is easy to adapt when they are taught at a younger age since they will grow up knowing their rights and be able to defend themselves. Why is it easy to teach subjects such as home science and exclude GBV, yet the latter is more crucial, especially to the younger generations?

GBV is the most pervasive yet least visible human rights violation in the world. In most cases, it includes physical, sexual, mental or economic harm inflicted on a person because of their gender. In most cases, it affects women and girls. According to a study conducted by Unicef in Africa, approximately one out of three women and girls worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The research also found out that GBV  occurs at any point in a person’s life but it tends to increase during humanitarian emergencies, war and armed conflicts. It has reached a point where GBV occurs in marriage, largely because women have always been taught earlier in life that they should not talk or express themselves before a man, or that their opinion comes after that of the man. To seal these perception gaps, education is the key.

By introducing GBV as a school subject right from the lower-primary level to the highest level of education, African countries will have gone a long way in reducing cases such as family homicides, which have been on the rise.
GBV is a learned behaviour and it can, therefore, be unlearned.  Through education, both men and women will be able to know their rights and say ‘NO’ when they are not comfortable in any situation and they will be understood. They will also be in a position to know when to report and where to report cases of  GBV, besides being able to reject gender norms.

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