Gender-based violence isn’t the menace of the 21st century but dates quite back in time. Today, however, with the revolution of technology, the word goes around quicker and to the whole world. Females and girls have been at the receiving end of unspeakable violence, abuse and torture at the hands of men. So much that such abuse became a norm among some cultures where women were seen as commodities and were regarded as the lesser gender.
There have been many attempts by activists to bring awareness among the societies at large to end such barbarism towards women and young girls. One such international campaign that starts on 25 November and ends on the 10th of December of every year is the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.
This year’s theme under this campaign is Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape.
Women in layman terms have been the ‘punching bag‘ or the ones to shoulder all the blame for things they never even had a connection with. Taking wars as an example, they would be raped and sexually abused by the enemy forces. Moreover, they’d be the ones men would take out their frustrations on by various assaults: verbal, sexual or physical. Time and time again, the gender-based violence crossed extremities.
The sufferings of women unfortunately never ended. Even in the 21st century, women would face all sorts of harassment on the street, in their houses and even in workplaces. This campaign is aimed to raise voices against violence around the world to put an end to the sufferings of women.
The consequences that the female victims suffer include depression, deaths, suicides, unwanted pregnancies, self-harm, mental disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, so on and so forth. While the instigators live scot-free.
This international campaign is the fight against such cruelty, the recessive mindset, patriarchy, misogyny, and rape culture.
How did the 16 Days of Activism campaign start?
The activists first initiated this campaign under the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. What compelled them to take a stand was an incident involving gender-based-violence, which lead to the deaths of several female students; the Montreal massacre in Canada. A dark day on December 6, 1989, where one student by the name Marc Lépine entered the École Polytechnique engineering school and shot dead a group of female engineering students. Later, he shot himself as well.
When he was asked why is he going to such lengths, he replied that he is fighting ‘feminism’ and that he hates the feminists. Further, he clearly didn’t have a clear grasp over the concept and later said that he considers these female engineering students to be one too as they think they can do what men can do too. He was implying that engineering was only a male-only field.
Women across the world stood against such oppression and violence after this massacre and started this campaign. Many countries followed suit, including South Africa that initiated 16 Days of Activism campaign in 1998.
The list of kinds and types of violence women and girls suffer around the globe is long and saddening. However, this campaign for 2019 has kickstarted and tweets are pouring in from around the world, under the hashtag #orangetheworld.
Tweets under #orangetheworld.
I add my voice to all those calling to end #violenceagainstwomen in all its forms: domestic violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, child marriage, sexual violence, honour crimes & online abuse. @EUinJordan building will be orange tonight to mark #orangetheworld pic.twitter.com/0oh03DZDzT
— Maria Hadjitheodosiou (@MariaHadjitheEU) November 25, 2019
Rape culture doesn’t just involve the heinous act but dives deep into the details, including joking about it, threats and enabling the concept by staying quiet.
While hardly anyone openly condones rape, too many of us fail to challenge the rape culture that surrounds us.
Don’t be an accomplice. Stand against rape with #GenerationEquality #orangetheworld pic.twitter.com/8Azlq8yFJa
— Sharoon Rom (@SharoonRom) November 25, 2019
A statistic report shared by SRI-Pakistan.
Violence against women is one of the most prevalent & persistent human rights violations around world today & continues to remain essentially unreported & undocumented due to the silence & stigma attached to it. #orangetheworld pic.twitter.com/punjzeJmtu
— Strategic Research Institute – SRI (@SRI_Pakistan) November 25, 2019
Victim blaming is not only inhumane but only adds to the suffering of the victim. Approach, sympathize, help and provide a safe space for them to rehabilitate.
When a survivor speaks up, don’t say, “Why didn’t she leave?”
— Vishal Verma (@vishal_verma13) November 25, 2019
Real men are not violent nor they sexually force themselves upon women.
Men who beat women don't love them
Men who rape women don't respect them
Today let's #orangetheworld to remember that women deserve to be able to say "no", speak aloud, feel safe respected strong and not ashamed.
Today is Int. Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women pic.twitter.com/cb0oPXWAcM
— Michela Pagani (@miki_pagani) November 25, 2019
An alarming reality. Domestic violence laws should be the first priority of any country.
49 countries have no laws that protect women against domestic violence.
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. There is still so much to be done to protect women.
— Assita Kanko MEP (@Assita_Kanko) November 25, 2019
Let’s all stand together during this 16-day campaign to place an end to such barbarism against women. Let’s not just ask the countries to establish the proper rights of women on an administrative level but also, let us ask the men in our societies to battle such a sick mentality that leads to these crimes. We need to see a world where women are safe on the streets and within their homes.
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