Gender Gender

Gender-based violence ruins victims’ confidence

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
ACCORDING to United Nations Women, one in three women and girls will have experienced some kind of violence during their lifetime.
Violence can happen in the home, school, street, work-place, internet and anywhere else and for too long this behaviour has been tolerated and ignored resulting in perpetrators going unpunished.
Violence involves men and women, and most times women and girls usually are often the target, because of unequal power relationships that exist between the two sexes. It includes, but is not limited to, physical, sexual, and psychological harm. The most pervasive form of violence is abuse of a woman by an intimate male partner. This includes battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, early marriage, forced marriage and other traditional practices that are harmful to women. Other forms of violence are sexual harassment or intimidation. This can happen at work, school environment or anywhere else, as well as subjecting women or girls to commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
In 1995, the United Nations (UN) expanded the definition to include: violations of the rights of women in situations of armed conflict, including systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced pregnancy; forced sterilisation, forced abortion, and coerced or forced use of contraceptives; and prenatal sex selection and female infanticide. It further recognised the particular vulnerabilities of women who belong to minorities: the elderly and displaced; indigenous, refugee, and migrant communities; women living in impoverished rural or remote areas, or in detention. The UN further noted that violence occurs at three levels: family, community and state.
Violence at family level is any abuse that takes place within the family context where the perpetrator is known. Common examples are spousal beatings; marital rape; forced marriage; sexual abuse of a girl by a male figure in a family, verbal abuse or trauma related to bride price and not giving birth to a son.
At community level, the perpetrator is unknown or unrelated to the victim and often comes in the form of rape, sexual harassment, forced prostitution or trafficking, and public humiliation.
Violence at state level is usually condoned and committed by individuals associated with government like police, prison guards, refugee camp guards, border officials, and even peacekeeping troops. And in conflict areas, systematic rape and sexual violence is often used as a tool of war.
When any of this form of violence takes place, victims are made to feel responsible and are often ashamed to speak out. However, in recent times some victims are being empowered to speak out through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others; they cannot be silenced any more.
The motivation to speak out can be attributed in part to the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute that initiated the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in 1991. Since then, every year, from November 25 to December 10, there is a deliberate movement to create awareness and sensitisation for violence against women and girls. Advocates of the campaign realised that while the names and contexts may be different across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere were experiencing the same form of abuse which needed to be brought to be exposed. Currently, there are more than 3,700 organisations from approximately 164 countries that participate in the campaign annually.
The 16 days were intentionally chosen to coincide. November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, while December 10 is Human Rights Day.
This year, the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy which was launched on Sunday will be commemorated under the theme: Orange the World: #HearMeToo
The UNiTE Campaign, which is identified with the orange colour for visibility, calls on everyone to get involved through sensitisation and campaigns to end the scourge that undermines the confidence of victims, especially girls.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
For comments: pcma¬lawochilufya@yahoo.com

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