Power imbalance has been existential at the family and community level since time immemorial. It stems from socially constructed gender roles and affects the way men and women relate in their day-to-day lives. Power imbalance has a controlling effect that creates domination and subordination for men and women respectively.
Many studies prove that power is always scarce and people including couples compete to control it. The competition for power is always messy because, in the spirit of survival for the fittest, the weak one has to concede, shoulder all the violence, and sacrifice all the rights and privileges. At the same time, the strong party enjoys all the rights.
The power imbalance is ill-informed and many GBV perpetrators tie it to the socio-cultural norms and traditions including religion. Essentially, by the virtue of men being the leaders of households, the vast majority take their positions to silence the voices of girls and women physically, sexually, economically, and emotionally.
Taking a keener look at the latest trends, women are also found to pursue the power imbalance lane on men and boys under their care. This trend is mostly associated with career women earning more than their partners and who choose to overthrow the power dynamics and instead of sharing power equally and submitting they start calling the shots. Ultimately the power relations end up in messy and noisy situations.
To all genders, power imbalance invigorates negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and inferiority, which makes the GBV survivors play to the tunes of the powerful party. Arguably, the perpetrators use their influence negatively to excruciate pain and suffering which viciously instills fear to report the abuse, and seek health care and legal services.
Of importance is to understand how communities in Kenya have over time nurtured and watered the power imbalance that is so embedded in our way of life and start the conversation of how the power and roles can be shared equally among boys and girls and men and women.
As a country, we have to dispel the retrogressive social-cultural norms that restrict girls and women from accessing education and health care including reproductive health, inheritance, and ownership of properties, which facilitates them to get money of their own and have a standing ground on the power balance discussion
The best way to break the chain of power imbalance is to start the power-sharing conversation at the family and community levels. Intimate partners should have this conversation in their courtship period to address future prospects of GBV. Power is not only a problem but also a solution to GBV. Let us talk!!!