VAWG: Violence Against Women and Girls
Suppose humankind, just once, came together in a cause which affects us all and did some good in a collective act of selflessness?
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the twenty-fifth day of each month being designated by UN Women as Orange Day, to celebrate the campaign "Say NO, Unite!" which was launched in 2009. The aim is to unite activists, governments, civil society and the UNO to end violence against women and girls.
The color orange is a symbol of a brighter future, which for women and girls, means a world which is free of violence and to remember this, a growing number of people around the world wear an orange piece of clothing, or dress completely in orange, every 25th day of the month. This year's theme is Orange the World: Hear me Too, which will be launched on November 25 and will run for 16 days until December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Buildings and landmarks will be "oranged" and people are encouraged to wear orange during this period (and on 25th of each month) to show their support for this cause, which comes to life if we examine the figures.
FIST: Fear, Impunity, Silence, Terror
FIST: Fear, Impunity, Silence, Terror, the four basic elements which characterize this most basic and persistent human rights abuse, which is gender violence, or Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). VAWG can be manifested in physical, sexual or psychological forms, involving battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide, rape of third parties, forced sexual acts, unwanted and unasked-for sexual advances, child sexual abuse, intimidation and threats, forced marriage, street harassment, cyber stalking, cyber harassment, slavery, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, child marriage.
Included are also unfair practices in opportunities for education and work. Unequal access to primary education has an impact on the educational process later on and access to the work market.
Particularly vulnerable to this shameful practice are young girls and older women, women identifying themselves as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and women from ethnic minorities, women and girls living with HIV, women and girls living with disabilities, women and girls living in the nightmare of a humanitarian crisis.
The statistics: A disgusting comment on humankind in 2018
The statistics are as shocking as they are unacceptable in the Third Millennium: one in three women and girls experience some form of violence in their lifetime; only 52 per cent of women in a marriage or union are free to make their own decisions about sexual relations; 200 million women and girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation; 750 million women and girls worldwide were married when they were minors; 50 per cent of women murdered are killed by their own partner or family (one in 12 men); 71% of victims of trafficking are women or girls; 75% of these are sexually exploited; gender violence causes as many deaths and disabilities in women and girls as cancer and a greater number of cases of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria.
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
What can you do?
The UN Women website has many initiatives for people to get involved, raise awareness and report cases of gender violence. The following hashtags also have useful information. This is not a problem which only affects women and girls, it is a statement on all of us, including men, if we sit back and do nothing while this medieval practice goes on...and on...and on...and on...and on...
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