Children's Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
SUNDAY December 10, which was Human Rights Day, marked the end of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (GBV). From November 25 to December 10, the world, including Zambia, was awash with messages aimed at creating awareness and sensitisation about violence against women and girls.
Although various forms of violence are still being recorded in the country, the first steps in the process of transforming the mindset of society to break the silence were also being taken. There was a case of a Lusaka woman who was burnt with water by her husband. When the couple’s children were asked what action should be taken against their father, who had fled the home, without any hesitation, the children emphatically called for his prosecution for the harm he inflicted on their mother. This was an indication that the Orange campaign under the theme: ‘Leave no one behind – end violence against women’ – was bearing some fruits even though it is in a small way.
It shows that if sensitisation and campaigns for the prevention of all forms of violence are introduced at an early age, children are likely to adopt non-violence methods to resolve conflicts.
It is important to note that it is everyone’s responsibility to change society by speaking out against harassment and violence wherever it rears its ugly head because no one is immune from it. Failure to do this means the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind will be difficult to attain.
The fight against GBV will only be achieved when victims are empowered with the necessary support and services to enable them to rebuild their lives. Only then will victims be able to stop violence from happening again in their lives. An example of the benefits of empowering victims is 20-year-old Maureen.
She was a victim of poverty, early marriage, domestic violence and non-existent sexual reproductive rights; but with adequate support, she was able to take control of her life. And through such campaigns, victims like Maureen are encouraged to speak out and in the process inspire others. Her experience is definitely an inspiration to others who might be in the same situation; everyone should have the right to live without any threat of violence.
The enactment of policies and legislation and the establishment of fast-track courts are also commendable measures that are making it easier to transform culture and attitudes that condone violence and enforcing laws that protect women’s rights.
It is the hope of Government and various stakeholders that, going forward, no one will be left behind by ending violence against women and children, who are most vulnerable. That is why the UNiTE campaign is calling on everyone to be part of the movement to eradicate the scourge by using the colour orange; it should be a way of life for the next 365 days.
#Leave no one behind – end violence against women.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.
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