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COMMENT: Let’s reflect on gender violence at a local level

26 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
COMMENT: Let’s reflect on gender violence at a local level

B-Metro

Every year on 25 November the world reflects on the strides that it has made towards the elimination of violence against women.

The day is set aside as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and this year the global theme is “Orange the World: End violence against women now!”

The day marks the start of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Instead of being overly concerned about global speeches and statistics, it is important, we feel, that we reflect on how well or badly we have done as a people at the local level, even at the family, community levels.

We witness this violence everyday, we are at the receiving end daily or we are the ones that are subjecting some woman or child to violence.

We take note of the use of the word ‘Now’, a sign that we need immediate action, and that we need to change our ways not tomorrow, or next week or month, or year, but now.  Women’s rights are human rights and when they are trampled upon our collective conscience should be stirred to take action.

We have always had cases of violence and these have been dealt with using different ways in different communities.  However, since the outbreak of Covid-19 statistics seem to suggest that violence against women and girls has grown.

We learn that research by the UN Women shows that Covid-19 has eroded women’s feelings of safety, both at home and in public spaces, impacting on their emotional and mental well-being.

This is in addition to the other crises ranging from conflicts to climate change disasters that have increased violence on women.

It is important that as you take stock at an individual level, you honestly reflect on whether you feel safe in your home, in your partner’s presence or if you are a child, you feel safe in the presence of male relatives or friends?

The Covid-19 scourge restricted movement for many people, therefore forcing people that spent very little time together to be together for longer.

This increased the possibilities for conflict, especially considering that movement restrictions affected the people’s mental well-being, and also came with reduced income, further adding stress to relations.

This is not to condone any violent acts but to acknowledge the environment around which we have to navigate, and still maintain our composure and respect for the other person, especially our women and girls.

This reflection should not be limited to 16 days every November but should be a lifestyle in which we respect every woman and make a personal vow to protect them, and expose those that abuse them. The call is that we should do it NOW!

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