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Gender-Based Violence is an unfortunate conglomerate of atrocities; which cannot be done justice in a single article. I might as well as run out of characters trying to type the umpteen facts and statistics on GBV, perhaps end up not exhausting a mere handful of the gruesome stories either. Yet, I still implore you to spare a minute or two.

World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2013, that 1in 3 women had experienced physical or sexual violence, in most of these cases at the hands of an intimate partner. We progressed even further as a civilized people to a UNODC Global study on Homicide which stated that nearly 3 in 5 women were killed by their partners or family in 2017.

Do those numbers scare you enough to scar you? Now imagine the actual scars of those who have been scared for ages.

Take domestic violence for example. An example that hits closer to home than I would have liked but which even after generations is deeply embedded in the beings of our day-to-day life. I remember the stories at the dinner table set for two, when one of those closest to my heart would share her experience.

Stories of a past drowned in hopeless patience for a change in character. A past that taught children how to see the possibility of a good father being a bad husband. A past that gave more pain than pleasure. A past that made children immune to the bickering, blows and bruises.

I guess that is one of the many lenses we could use. Subject ourselves to being empathetic, forgetting that empathy is merely a step in a journey of a thousand miles. How many more steps do we need to take as a society? Perhaps too many to count or even account for because as we moved forward, there are those that are stuck in the past, those that are snails and the deadweight (literally) of those whom we were unable to save.

As an individual, however, there is no limitation to the steps you can take: how many survivors you can listen to, how many hands you can hold, how many facts you can share or even how loud your voice can be.

If you take a step. I take step, then we all work towards a bettered tomorrow. For at the end of it all, Kenya ni mimi, kenya ni wewe, Kenya ni sisi sote.

by Balqees Yasin

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