As the 16 Days of Activism comes to a close, 2016 LEADers Anukriti and Belina discuss why we must speak out and make sure everyone knows violence against women and girls is never acceptable.
This post was written by 2016 LEADers and Women LEAD Bloggers, Anukriti Kulwar and Belina Sainju
“A 3 year old child was brought to our safe house a week ago, bleeding, who happened to be raped by her own father,” said Vinita Adhikari, a psychologist and also the director of Antardristi, one of the the very few organizations in Nepal working to address and eliminate child sexual abuse through counseling and advocacy.
“I also talked to the abuser, her father, and his response was that he couldn’t differentiate between his wife and his daughter as he was drunk,” she continued.
Around 120 million girls worldwide have experienced sexual assault and rape. By far, the most common perpetrators of such violence against girls are their own family members; current or former husbands, partners and boyfriends.
In the last quarter century, however, the international community has finally turned their attention towards the the issues of sexual violence against women with the 16 days campaign. This year the morning of 25th November brought a promising, beautiful tinge of orange with the kickoff of UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign starting from The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women until December 10, Human Rights Day. It has been 15 years since the 16 days campaign began to support activism around the world against gender-based violence.
The 16 days campaign is meant to highlight global issue, such as the fact that women between the ages of 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than they are from car accidents, war and malaria. The majority of women face their first experience in harassment from ages 11-17. We are part of a society that has been dominating women since the very beginning. Women are made the victim in a global system of rampant sexual and domestic abuse. This violence is truly a reflection of the habits, deeply rooted in all cultural systems, that consider women to be less of a human being.
These habits are ignored and go largely unnoticed because gender violence is not always discussed in the public domain. There are women who are abused on a daily basis yet don’t raise their voice because of pressure and stigma placed on them by society. But silence doesn’t mean consent and this is a crime. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. No one has the rights to touch a person without her or his consent. It is not only the violation of women’s rights but a violation of human rights overall. That’s why today, and every day, we must speak out and make sure that everyone knows violence against women and girls is never acceptable.