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“Breaking the Cycle: Ending Gender-Based Violence Through Childhood Education”

Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a pervasive issue worldwide, stemming from deeply ingrained gender inequality. According to Vera Mawad, a renowned advocate for gender equality, the key to eradicating GBV lies in the way we raise our children. By instilling values of respect, equality, and empathy from an early age, we can cultivate a generation that refuses to perpetuate harmful gender norms and behaviors.

Traditionally, GBV has been synonymous with violence against women. However, it extends beyond this narrow definition to encompass any form of violence or discrimination based on gender. This includes practices such as early marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), and the forced participation of boys in armed conflict or laborious tasks.

These harmful practices are often deeply rooted in patriarchal expectations and societal norms, which dictate how boys and girls should behave and what roles they should occupy. Such upbringing perpetuates an unequal distribution of power between men and women, laying the foundation for GBV.

Parenting styles play a crucial role in perpetuating or combating GBV. When children are raised in environments where gender-based discrimination is normalized, they are more likely to perpetuate these behaviors in adulthood. Conversely, parents who promote gender equality and challenge traditional gender roles contribute to breaking the cycle of violence.

Education is key to challenging these harmful norms and fostering gender equality from a young age. Schools and communities must prioritize comprehensive gender-sensitive education that teaches children about consent, respect, and healthy relationships. By equipping children with the knowledge and skills to challenge gender stereotypes and advocate for equality, we can create a future free from GBV.

Furthermore, addressing GBV requires a holistic approach that involves not only education but also policy changes, community mobilization, and support services for survivors. It is only by addressing the root causes of GBV and promoting gender equality in all aspects of society that we can truly eradicate this pervasive form of violence.

As we reflect on the impact of GBV on individuals and communities, let us recognize the power of education in breaking the cycle of violence. By raising our children to reject harmful gender norms and embrace equality, we can create a world where everyone can live free from the fear of violence and discrimination.