Gender violence remains one of the most telling indicators of gender inequality. Despite the several constitutional and legislative advances to gender equality in the SADC region, levels of gender violence remain exceptionally high in all countries.
The ecological model is a theoretical framework that explains why some of the violence occurs, why some men are more violent than others and why some women are consistently the survivors of abuse. Understanding the reasons for and the factors associated with experience or perpetration of gender violence is a precursor in the design of gender violence prevention interventions. This model considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. This model shows how violence is rooted in women’s lack of self-worth and self-esteem at the individual level; compounded by attitudes, traditions and customs at the close relationship and community level; and unresponsive systems and structures at the societal level. While the model identifies the arenas and the factors that put people at risk for experiencing or perpetrating violence it also locates prevention strategies in a continuum of activities that address multiple levels of the model.