Gender-based violence, hereinafter GBV, in Cape Verde
In the last years, precisely in the last decade, the problematic of violence against women has become a priority in commitments to implement the principle of gender equality.
In effect, the Legislator sought through Law No. 84 / VII / 2011 of 10 January, on one side, promote gender equality between men and women, as enshrined in article 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cape Verde and, from another band, establish measures to prevent and suppress the crime of Gender Based Violence, ahead GBV.
Since GBV crime affects both men and women, despite this crime having a greater impact on women.
In view of the high rate of GBV crime in Cape Verde, beyond Law No. 84 / VII / 2011 of 10 Januarythe competent authorities have created programs, plans and a national network with the purpose of promoting gender equality, non-discrimination, and implemented a set of measures to combat and promote equality.
What is GBV?
Law No. 84 / VII / 2011 of 10 January, enshrines the concept of GBV in its article 3, paragraph c), and it can be defined as:
Any type of action by which someone, who has or has had some kind of intimate relationship, affectivity (de facto union, marriage, dating), imposes its will on another person, forcing it to act according to its wishes. To do this, it can resort to physical, verbal aggression or control of the person in various ways (money, clothing, friendships, displacement, etc.).
Furthermore, it constitutes a GBV crime when using authority and / or influence to obtain sexual favors from another person (sexual harassment), even not being in an intimate relationship, as is the case of the work space.
For the purposes of Law No. 84 / VII / 2011 of 10 January, , it establishes in its article 3, five types of gender-based violence, being them physical violence, psychological violence, sexual violence, patrimonial violence and sexual harassment.
What is the criminal tutelage for GBV crime?
The GBV law, in its article 23, says that whoever commits the crime of GBV can be punished with a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years or a fine, but these can be aggravated by the nature of the crime whose prison terms are 15 to 30 years, 5 to 12 years in prison and 2 to 12 years in prison, respectively.
The crime of GBV – when the victim is the man
As already explained, anyone can be a victim of GBV, be it male or female, although many consider this to be a law on violence against women. The reasons for this perception are several. In Cape Verdean culture, say – macho culture, “man must be man, act like man” cannot be a victim of GBV, he does not complain and if he does he is stigmatized.
It is certain that, although GBV can be practiced by and against both sexes, the practice against male individuals may be different in nature from violence against women, going towards reinforcing male stereotypes, putting pressure on men to assume and play roles socially assigned to men, both in public and private spaces.
Gender-based violence against men is aimed at putting pressure on them to be more ambitious, more masculine, but, above all, so that they do not have manifestations of homosexuality. Basically, at home they are practiced by the father, mother or other family member. On the street they are almost always practiced by other men known or unknown to the victim.
In seeking to build his masculinity as culture imposes, and being subjected to pressure to solve their problems, sometimes the end has tragic results.
It is true that men also suffer conjugal violence, but, but they are often pressured not to report, for “not recognizing themselves as a victim”, for “shame” and for the belief that the support system will not be available and will not help them.
They are afraid of being judged as “less men” because they suffered aggression from a woman, so the victims themselves try to cover up the episodes.
Those seeking formal help are classified as useless, especially those who are helped by the justice system and support services.
Like women, men are victims of psychological, physical, and sexual violence, which leads to a negative impact on their lives, in terms of psychological health, in the relationship with others and in the professional and academic environment.
Also, as with women, men remain in the relationship for love, in the hope that their partner will change and, in the desire, to maintain their family life.
In conclusion, there are no doubts that GBV crime affects men and women of all age groups, but it is mainly women, particularly in situations of vulnerability, who are most affected by GBV. However, several challenges still to overcome, being that the approval of the GBV law allowed to overcome some of these challenges that the country has been facing and accelerate the efforts of both institutions and social actors involved in the implementation of GBV law.