International Day on the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 25 November 2008: Violence against women must end
On the occasion of the UN International Day on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, BWI affiliates worldwide are organizing activities to mobilize against the violence that affect women around the world. Throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, the story of women beaten in their homes, trafficked and sold in the streets, raped in colleges are still common. If we are going to end violence against women, the whole story has to change.
It is the culture, the beliefs and the underlying story that has to change. Women beaten in their homes but they remain silent. Domestic workers are abused and sexually harassed but they don’t report. Children and wives being raped, women won’t tell.
Violence against women (VAW) is hidden, it is protected, and we allowed it to happen. Hearing a child being raped by the father but ignoring it because it is considered a’ private matter’ or we have to deal with the fear and shame. Silence is in itself an effective perpetrator of VAW.
The aim of the campaign, Stop the Violence, Break the Silence is to urge women as well as men to come forward to take a stand, to speak out about VAW. We have to say NO! Ending violent against women is actually about being welling to struggle to be able to say “No, I will not let this happen.” It means not accepting force as a method of coercion and oppression. Ending VAW means opening to the great power of women, the heart of women and creativity of women and not being afraid.
It requires all of us to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices and laws that harm women. We must organize in opposition to violence, and to use the power and persuasion of the human rights framework in the efforts to stop VAW.