How to Prevent Gender-Based Violence from Childhood

Preventing gender violence is imperative if we want to make a more just society. Let's raise awareness among our children.
How to Prevent Gender-Based Violence from Childhood

Last update: 06 November, 2022

Our children are increasingly exposed to countless situations that we would like to avoid. In this eagerness, we sometimes fail to educate them in this regard and deprive them of the necessary tools to defend themselves. Preventing gender-based violence is one of the most worrying issues in modern societies, where raising awareness from an early age is essential to facing it.

Therefore, we’re going to give you some keys to give your children the necessary information so that they know how to avoid it and learn how to deal with it, in case they find themselves in a situation of this type.

What does this term refer to?

The United Nations‘ definition of gender-based violence is as follows: any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

A boy playing with a toy kitchen.

Where does gender-based violence originate and how can it be prevented?

We can’t prevent gender violence without talking about sexism and, in this sense, the study by María José Díaz-Aguado, Professor of Developmental Psychology and Education, called “Preventing gender violence from school”, provides very interesting data.

“In order to prevent gender-based violence through education, it’s worth remembering that the sexism that causes it is closely related to the ancestral division of the world into two spaces: The public sphere, reserved exclusively for men, and the private sphere, the only space in which women could live their lives”.

Gender discrimination, social norms, and stereotypes that still exist mean that violence against women, far from decreasing, has increased in recent years, starting at younger ages.

According to a study carried out by professionals from the Complutense University of Madrid, 4% of the girls surveyed admitted to having been assaulted by their partner or ex-partner. On the other hand, 25% admitted that their partner controlled them via cell phone, and up to 23% said they felt that their partner tried to isolate them from their friends.

On the other hand, 20% of the boys agreed with the fact that they went out with many girls at the same time, but not the other way around. While more than 12% admitted to having made threats to their partner when they wanted to break up and didn’t recognize this as abuse.

Scary, isn’t it? Hence the importance of educating in equality during the first years of life. Promoting respectful relationships between boys and girls is the best weapon for the eradication of gender-based violence.

Decalogue to prevent gender-based violence

The Internation Brains School’s School of Philosophers, in coordination with the Women’s Institute, suggests a Decalogue of good practices for parents and teachers that can help educate children to prevent gender-based violence.

  1. Observe and listen to boys and girls. Stop to listen to what concepts they have about gender and what attitudes they have when they relate to their peers.
  2. Destroy prejudices from an early age. When they affirm something categorically, we must respond with a question (“Why?”) By reasoning out prejudice, it’s destroyed.
  3. Polishing the ideas that children have as valid and accurate. We must make them understand that generalizations are misleading.
  4. Involve children in all kinds of tasks. Assign them responsibilities or daily activities that have traditionally been considered “women’s things” or “men’s things”.
A teenage girl helping to build a brick wall.
  1. Share information. Generate conversation to be a daily meeting point in the classroom. This helps to understand how they are, what they see, what they think, and how they feel.
  2. Recognize and understand our own gender limitations. We ourselves have to relearn some sexist habits and, for that, we have to look at ourselves with a critical eye.
  3. Limit the access of boys and girls to harmful stimuli. We must make sure that the television time is shared with the family in order to answer any questions that may arise.
  4. Play universal games. Encourage traditional games that don’t require tools or defined roles: Hide-and-seek, handkerchief, blind man’s bluff, etc.
  5. Setting an example as adults is essential. Behavior patterns are inherited. Let’s avoid roles, clichés, and common stereotypes regarding gender and let them create their own opinions based on respect and empathy for what’s different.
  6. Learning never ends. To teach habits, we must learn to be, as Aristotle said, and for this, we must always be alert.

Gender violence is something that concerns us all and it’s our duty to educate healthier and more responsible children. Only by paying close attention to their habits and words can we accompany them on this path.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.