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GBV is a Women's Health Issue

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how gender-based violence is very much a women's health issue.

While preparing for a proposal for a parallel event at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I wrote this:

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

Healthy lives include protection from gender-based violence. Since the individual is, in the majority of cases, the only person who is present (other than the attacker) when violence begins to develop, she needs to be the one to know what to do and how to protect herself.

HIV/AIDS is a good example. We teach the importance of using a condom to reduce the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS. This is health-protective education. We trust that if we educate people about the importance of and methods of prevention, at least one of the parties will insist on it.

In this case, we certainly wouldn’t rely on some sort of bystander intervention, or fall back on, “well, if unprotected sex happens here are the people who you can call.”

And this is even more of a perfect example than I originally thought because, at the moment that one of the participants in this intimate act says, “No, condom, no penetration,” they have the right to defend that stand. To protect themselves. Period.

ESD helps everyone develop the skills necessary for holding personal lines-not-to-be-crossed.

My life. My right to defend it.

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