Gender-based violence in the 21st century

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Naida Salković, a fourth-year medical student at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s University of Tuzla. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is defined as damaging acts perpetrated against a person based on their gender. Gender inequality, power abuse, and destructive norms are at the basis of it. This definition provided by the UNHCR provides a starting point for understanding why primarily women are victims of this sort of violence. According to statistics, 30% of women have been victims of violence, with the prevalence of violence being higher in places with lower socioeconomic status.

Women have long been regarded as the more attractive but weaker gender, allowing tradition to emerge and weave views that women are also a weaker gender. This belief has been passed down through the generations, and women are still considered unequal in many fields of life today.

Women are unfortunately severely discriminated against in the healthcare industry. From the fact that male doctors are thought to be more capable than female doctors by healthcare workers and patients, to the reality that female patients frequently endure sexist comments from everyone in the healthcare community. In addition to the “traditional form of gender-based violence against women, “we also face violence against non-binary and trans persons, and I feel like our society is deteriorating rather than progressing in the twenty-first century.

We made a pledge as future healthcare providers not only to cure diseases, but also to prevent them. Now as GBV is causing a significant amount of mental health issues, GBV is actually becoming the cause of the disease that needs to be eradicated for the benefit of the whole community. By raising citizens’ awareness and influencing traditional norms through a range of activities, students can enable established beliefs to change.

In this, as well as in the following years, we must make gender based violence fade away, because I believe that in the 21st century there is no place for separation based on our birth circumstances. We cannot change who we are born as, but we can change bad practices and beliefs so that they don’t influence our lives.

It is important to point it out, that no one is born as a bully, and no one is born as a victim. GBV stems from gender inequality and a complex set of patriarchal attitudes, many of which are cultural and region-specific. GBV is not innate; it is something that individuals learn and become adapted to, and as a result, it is possible for people to unlearn these views, which is why education is the most effective instrument for addressing this global issue.

Student education plays a big role, because students have the opportunity to implement good practices during their work and to prevent, that is, to make a cross between the transmission of these harmful traditions, thus enabling current practices and discrimination to remain in the past.

About the author

Naida Salković is a fourth-year medical student at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s University of Tuzla. Naida has always been an active member of her community, whether as a volunteer at various initiatives and groups or as an organizer herself, during her studies. Naida began writing articles a year and a half ago with the objective of teaching others and providing opportunities for them to learn and improve. She is passionate about reforming education and enjoys reading books to broaden her horizons.

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