>It is another 25th of November. It is another international day for the elimination of violence against women. It is another reminder of the role you can play to put an end to gender based violence.
Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls . That is the theme for this year’s celebration and it advocates for the total elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls irrespective of their location or colour.
Gender violence and discrimination occur in developed nations as well as developing nations. The only difference would probably be in the magnitude and penalty.
An experience I had recently taught me that Violence against Women (VAW) does not necessarily mean physical violence. It cuts across emotional and psychological violence.
I dated and loved someone I thought was the best guy there was. Turned out he was not just a chronic womaniser, but he had very little respect for most of these women. I was blind to that part of him because he gave me 100% respect and what I thought was love. But when the chips were down, he made me realise he held little respect for the other women by the way he picked, used and tossed them aside. They were only there to satisfy his sexual desires. Their opinions, rights and feelings di not amount to anything. After all, they are ‘mere women’. As far as I am concerned, he exposed me as well as those other ladies to emotional and psychological violence and it was uncalled for.
I believe every woman, irrespective of job, color or location, has experienced one form of violence or the other. I recently listened to the Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie speaking on feminism and I realised that even the celebrities are not left out of this inequality mindset. Personally, I am getting used to having waiters and waitresses greet and fuss over the man beside me while acting like I am not even there.
Image courtesy of http://www.chimamanda.com
But when the famous Chimamanda explained how it also happens to her, I could only laugh at our society.
Funny enough, some men believe VAW is a thing of the past while many more others believe the female victims asked for it. They ask, what was she doing in a room alone with a guy? She asked to be raped. Like seriously?
But for me, it is more painful when women themselves think through their anus by joining the men to ask such questions. Or when they spearhead the maltreatment of widows or fail to teach their sons to respect and care for their sisters. Who would blame a guy whose mother taught from childhood, that he is more important than his sister? That he can rough-handle the neighbour’s daughter if she refuses to dance to his tunes?
And what about those women that fold their hands and watch their husbands and sons and brothers, rape their daughters and nieces and cousins? They sacrifice the happiness and future of these young girls on the alter of ‘family name’. They stand and watch mutely lest they bring the family name to shame. Is that one even a family?
There are more female excisors than males, women who still believe that a woman must be genitally mutilated to please a man and keep the ladies loyal and pure – for the man. Excuse me!
No one deserves to be treated like an animal. No girl, no woman deserves to be violated, for any reason at all. There is absolutely no justification for violenece against women. I mean, how can you justify punching a woman senseless by saying she talks too much or rudely? Who punches you when you misbehave? Is she justified to rape the guy because he visited her?
Today, all of us, male and female, young and old, white or black, we are being called upon to make a difference, to help end violence against women and girls.
Will you stand up to be counted?
Today is the International Day of the Girl Child and the theme for this year is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.
In the spirit of today’s celebration therefore, I share with you this post from PLAN International on making our cities safer for girls. This is just one out of the myriad issues faced by girls around the world. In our own little corner, we can all contribute our little quota to making our world better and safer for the girl child.
Make cities safer for girls
Cities around the world aren’t safe for girls. Plan International research shows that girls often don’t feel safe in their own cities, and the fear of abuse and harassment means that there are no-go areas, making girls pick up their pace as they walk home.
For the first time in history there are more people living in cities than in rural areas, and by 2030 around 700 million girls will be living in cities. As a result, girls’ safety in cities is becoming a global problem which must be addressed.
In October, world leaders will meet in Quito, Ecuador, for the third United Nations’ Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). We’re asking these authorities to make girls the priority when considering future city planning.
GIRLS RISK ABUSE AND DANGER
STAND UP FOR GIRLS AND TELL WORLD LEADERS THEY HAVE TO MAKE CITIES SAFER FOR GIRLS
SIGN THE PETITION
WHAT OUR RESEARCH SAYS
96% of adolescent girls
don’t feel safe in Delhi
just 2.2% of girls
say they felt safe in public spaces in Lima
48% of British women
said they felt unsafe walking alone after dark when they were of school age
Around the world we’ve listened to girls as they tell us why they feel they have to pick up the pace as they walk through their cities. “I pick up the pace when I am alone in a dark street and I don’t feel safe,” says Amal, 13 from Cairo.
Plan International runs programmes in cities around the world aimed at empowering girls and enabling them to become advocates for their cities’ safety. Girls in Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Hanoi, and Habitat III host-city Quito, have told us about their daily experiences:
“On the streets there’s a lot of crime, I feel threatened and in the shadows, there could be someone waiting to rob you, kidnap you or even rape you.” Maribel, 19, Quito.
Almost two thirds of adult women in Britain say they feel unsafe walking alone after dark. Almost half felt the same way when they were of school age. This is in contrast to 33 per cent of adult men and 35% per cent of men when they were of school age. Men and women living in urban areas felt more unsafe walking alone after dark than those living in rural areas.
WHY WE NEED TO SEE CHANGE
This once-in-a-generation conference could shape the way cities are designed in the future, so we must make sure that the world leaders in Quito listen to young people and make our cities safer for girls.
Supported by Plan International, Maribel, along with other youth campaigners from Ecuador, will be delivering the global petition at the UN Conference in mid-October – let’s make sure they deliver the message that people around the world want girls to be free of abuse and harassment as they walk to and from school or their home.
“ These changes are needed in every corner of the world, not just in one or two countries. With support from around the world, we can go from feeling like a small voice, to one large, united force, making sure world leaders hear us loud and clear.” Maribel, Quito.