What is interpersonal violence? What is gender-based violence?
And, why we need to be educated about these topics.
Two common questions we’ve been asked is “What do you mean by interpersonal violence?” and “Is it the same as gender-based violence?” Here were our answers:
What is interpersonal violence?
Interpersonal violence is violence that takes place between individuals within a community. This could be a family, school, or workplace. It could happen between acquaintances, strangers, an intimate partner, a friend/colleague, or someone you know.
It can take many different forms: verbal, psychological, sexual, economic violence, or neglect, to name a few. Sometimes multiple forms are used in combination with each other, making it harder to identify when this type of violence is taking place.
Usually, a person will use this type of violence as a way to exert their power or control over another person. (By the way, we’ll have a post on power dynamics on our blog soon.)
Interpersonal violence vs. gender-based violence
When the term “gender-based” is used, it acknowledges that this type of violence disproportionately impacts women, girls, and gender minorities at higher rates. It helps recognize one of the factors causing the violence: gender inequality.
The World Health Organization reported that, on average, 35% of women worldwide were likely to experience some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In South East Asia, it’s higher at 37.7%.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean men are not affected by this type of violence. It is necessary to acknowledge the cause and who is at higher risk in order to respond, prevent, and address it.
Using education to address this social issue
As a team, Ruam Chuay members have all been asked at one point or another, “why is it so important for people to be educated on this topic?” and “Is our society ready for this?”
We’ll often attend lots of conferences and events about peace and conflict resolutions, and gender-based violence prevention. Lots of these events involve break out discussions and problem-solving. And, without fail, people will always come back to “we need to educate people.” But what does it really take to do this?
Implementing educational programs can be complex. Especially, if we want to make sure we’re actually making a difference, running both an engaging and effective program. As an organization that runs workshops and creates educational material, we’re in the space of designing educational training and carefully crafted harm prevention programs.
Information is how we make sense of our world. Providing educational programs and resources can help with two things:
• It’s a means of prevention by giving people’s skills such as recognizing healthy behaviors from unhealthy behaviors or the different types of violence
• It’s a way for people to recover from traumatic experiences
It contributes to creating clarity. Giving people what they need to navigate the world safely.
With our social issue, in particular, interpersonal violence, education is lacking. We’ve seen this in studies by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. That of the 6 required subject areas for sexuality education gender equality, rights, and power are not covered consistently across schools in Thailand. Our programs fill this gap.
We focus on running workshops on consent and personal boundaries to strengthen healthy relationship skills among students. This is all to help build an understanding of gender-based and interpersonal violence. And to empower our students to contribute to changing this reality.
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