Women, girls need protection, not violence
Imagine a world without women and girls! In fact, there cannot be a world without the female human species because they keep the world going through procreation. In short, women and girls sustain the world.
Unfortunately, apart from downplaying their contribution to the sustenance of life on planet earth as equal partners in development, some traditions and cultures do not only consider women inferior but also abuse and harass them.
Not even the fact that we are now in the 21st century has prevented the constant abuse of women in the home, at the office, at social gatherings or wherever humans gather, all because this planet is viewed as a man’s world.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today, and it remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
It manifests in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide) and sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking and cyber-harassment).
It also involves human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation), female genital mutilation, child marriage, among others.
The Daily Graphic sees it as a shame and blot on humanity that just because women and girls are considered inferior homo sapiens and the weaker sex, all manner of abuse is meted out to them.
In fact, some cultures glorify forms of abuse such as female genital mutilation and spousal abuse as the norm, instead of the exception, in order to cow women into subjection.
Why don’t men rather channel their machismo into productive ventures?
Women can now be found occupying top and demanding management and sensitive positions, just like their male counterparts, unlike in the past, buttressing the fact that they are no minnows, as was believed in the past, but equal partners in championing the cause of the world in which we live.
It is to further clarify the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993 that the world body 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”.
The day so established by the UN in 1993 has since then been observed every November 25 to nip the practice in the bud.
The UN considers the offering of support to and investing in strong, autonomous women’s rights organizations and feminist movements as key to ending violence against women and girls, and this is why “UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls” was chosen as the theme for this year’s commemoration of the day,.
The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their lives.
For example, early-set educational disadvantages do not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line, they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women on the labour market.
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable — young girls and older women, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities and those living through humanitarian crises.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace, as well as the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights.
All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — to leave no one behind — cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.
Let all, including women, resolve to offer protection to women and girls anywhere and at any time, and not to allow archaic, unproductive, backward and abusive traditions and culture continue to fester in the name of preserving culture.
Everyone was born of a woman, so let us shield our grandmothers, aunties, mothers, sisters and female children from the cruel abuse they face daily and the world will become a better in which place to live.