Love + violence = not true

Published 2023-02-10

I associate the month of February with love, generosity and also solidarity. Of course, a lot depends on Valentine's Day, February 14, when society is flooded with pink hearts, chocolates, roses and teddy bears. We are both encouraged and encouraged to celebrate the love in our lives by giving each other gifts. Showing love and care can be done in many different ways. We can show it partly to those closest to us, those we hold dear and close, but we can also show love and care to those a little further away. Towards someone we may not have a clear face of but where we may know circumstances, challenges and living conditions. Being generous and showing solidarity with contexts other than your own is beautiful.

When love is exchanged for violence

When love and relationships come up in February, I think of the women in the town of Soroti in Uganda. There, together with our partner, we have worked to increase awareness of alcohol's damage, including in relationships. How alcohol's place in the home can mean violence in the family. I was so encouraged by the visit the other week, where the community leaders were able to tell me that there were more cases where men's violence against women and children has decreased and that they see a direct connection to our work in informing and mobilizing the community.

Several studies show that there is a connection between alcohol consumption and the occurrence of violence. This applies to violence in close relationships, as well as sexual violence, and violence against children. And according to the WHO, 35 percent of all women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. The largest part of violence against women occurs in close relationships, almost a third of all women have lived in a relationship where violence from the partner occurred. If we then look at a specific country, a survey conducted in northern Tanzania shows that the percentage of women who were abused by men who drank alcohol was 15% higher than those who were abused by a partner who did not drink alcohol. Alcohol is not the only factor in violence, but there is a causal relationship between alcohol and violence. Higher doses of alcohol simply increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

It is possible to change

How then should we address the problem? Just as we, together with our partner in Uganda, do; through alcohol policy measures at both local and national level. Among other things, by regulating the price and availability of alcohol.
When there is less drinking, less violence is used. And violence never belongs in loving relationships! This work is so important to continue with, so that more people can live in safety, both adults and children.


Johanna Daven
Secretary General
IOGT-NTO Movement