Working to End Violence Against Women and Girls
By admin November 13, 2015


November 25th will be celebrated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The date was selected to remember the three Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic, who were assassinated in 1960 under the Trujillo dictatorship. It’s also the kickoff to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which will last until December 10th, Human Rights Day.

People around the world will wear orange to unite against violence which flows from discrimination and inequality for women and girls. The United Nations’ UNiTE to End Violence against Women has invited people around the world to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” by organizing “Orange Events” during the 16 day campaign. This might include projecting orange lights, hanging orange flags and ribbons around town, creating discussion events and organizing local marches. Orange events are planned in more than 70 countries, including the lighting of major landmarks, like Niagara Falls, the European Commission building, the ruins at Petra, Jordan, the Christ the Redeemer Status in Brazil, and the Palais de Justice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and spontaneous orange flash mobs in Indonesia.

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, which affects their health, economic well-being, and poverty level. The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

Globally, 35% of women and girls will suffer from physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes; by country, this percentage is as high as 70%. More than 700 million women living today were child brides, and 250 million of these were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete schooling, and more likely to be victims of violence and childbirth complications. As many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation/cutting. More than 130 million females have suffered the procedure globally. Worldwide, up to 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner. Risk factors for being a victim include a low level of education, having witnessed parental violence, having been abused as a child, and local attitudes toward gender equality.

The United Nations’ has stressed prevention as the best way to end violence against women and girls. Programs such as training youth leaders to lead prevention activities, participating in sports programs, reaching out to disaster survivors, passing laws (such as Brazil’s adaptation of the Latin American Model Protocol for the Investigation of Gender-related Violence Deaths and human trafficking laws), annulment of child marriages, female peacekeepers, and training of fathers are helping to make a difference.

Other programs to combat violence include the White Ribbon Campaign, which was launched in 1991 after the mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. In this campaign, men pledge to help end men’s violence against women. The Man Up Campaign aims to help youth stop violence against women and girls through sports, music, arts and technology.

All people, including youth, women and men, can get involved in making sure violence against women and girls becomes a thing of the past.

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Thanks for sharing !

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