Saturday, December 4, 2010

Celebrating 16 days of activism

I am pleased to join the world in celebrating the 16 days of activism against gender violence but as women, do we understand what it means and the impact it has in our lives? 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute. Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations — from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide.

Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, and of those ; black women suffer from the highest rates of domestic violence. In fact black females experience domestic violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females. What is even more saddening is that the same statistics show that domestic violence is most prominent among women aged 16 to 24 years. Women have also been historically at the receiving end of the worst crimes committed during war time. In countries like Congo, sexual violence remains a tool of war with combatants accused of systematic rape and murder of women and children on a daily base.

These statistic indicate that there is a lot that still needs to be done to empower women and to end gender violence. In most african countries, political instability and higher rates of poverty make the problems facing domestic violence survivors more difficult to address. It is very disturbing that even today, some victims of intimate partner violence are turned away by police because they say it is a domestic issue!

So as we celebrate 16 days of activism against gender violence, women across the board should take it upon themselves to educate and support each other and look for ways to reduce exposure of women to these heinous crimes. It is important to have support groups where women encourage other women to come forward and share their stories. Women are an essential force in the fight against global poverty, violence and extremism.

In conclusion i wish to reproduce a qoute from a Senegalese author Mariama Ba in her novel So Long a Letter says:

"Women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about, companions to be flattered or calmed with promises. Women are the nation's primary, fundamental root, from which all grows and blossoms. Women must be encouraged to take a keener interest in the destiny of the country"

My love to you ladies and a special thank you to the women who are leading the cause.


Ms B


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  2. I was sexually abused by two family members interchangeably when I was still very very young.I wasn`t staying with my dad, my mum was too busy with work and those who witnessed were too scared to say anything. This act promoted feeling of bitterness, shame and anger in me. You constantly ask yourself why... And because I didn`t know who to relate with being the only girl in a family of boys, I decide to bottle it up.

    A few weeks ago, 16 days of activism was just a whole lot of noise to me. However, one day I just bumped into this article via facebook and it changed my whole mindest. The stastics were so devastating and what I found so striking was that first mention of abuse (in this article) happens in the home! Exactly where my incidents took place! I felt a pang of pain in my heart when I just started thinking that any girl from a few days old to the 85 year old granny, could be going through hell in a place she is supposed to call home and being abused by people who she is suppossed to call family.

    I made up my mind that we need to work as a team. I believe everyone has a specific calling for others and you`ve helped me realise that I do have a calling in this area as well. I might not be called to fight against all forms of abuse but I now strongly believe that I can be heard when it comes to sexual abuse in the home. Why? Because I`ve been there!

    I managed to deal with the bad feelings, now I`ve finished my first degree, I`m in a steady relationship with a man who understands me, I have a good self esstem, I have now ventured into network marketing, I certainly don`t hate men and I have loads coming up. I`d like to give this as well to women who can`t do it by themselves,,,,,to women who are stuck in the pit of self pity, shame and pain and help them do away with those bad feelings they have of themselves. I`d like to educate parents of what the NEED to know concerning who is capable of abuse in the home...something that they might not want to hear because honestly it hurts!!!

    Thanks to you, I have decided to partner with everyone who is fighting against abuse. One by one, we can make a change. I know of a lady who has gone throught what I`ve gone through too. Let her be my beginning. Inspired: Tinotenda L Matongo.