Anytime I hear "A World Free From Violence", I think about a gender equal world where women and girls are free from violence and abuse. I think about society that values women and girls as much as it values men and boys.
I remember when my uncle beat his wife for the first time. She reported the case to other members of the family. They knew my uncle was wrong, but instead of condemning his unbecoming attitude which portends danger to his wife and asking him to apologize, they blamed the woman for exposing her family's dirty linen. They said if she didn't provoke him, he wouldn't have beaten her. They reminded her that it was her duty to preserve her marriage and that a good and sensible wife was not supposed to make a scene when her husband corrected (beat) her. I felt sorry for her. The men had been so unfair in their judgment. They once again showed their interest is only on the reputation of their fellow men and would do anything to guard it. It doesn't matter if they trample on the female counterpart to do so.
In my country, Nigeria, when a girl is raped, the society most often blames the girl instead of frowning at her rapists. What you usually hear is why did she dress that way? Why did she choose that road? etc. Even if you take the case to the police station, policemen will tell you to go home and nurse your wound. What a hurtful treatment to a girl child!
In the Eastern part of my country, a wife is mostly blamed when there are lapses in her husband's obligations to his extended family. When there is a disagreement between brothers that refuse to settle their dispute, a wife is blamed. Why wouldn't a man be held accountable for his actions after he is married? Why should every of his mishaps be heaped on a woman's head?
The truth is that patriarchy has succeeded this long because women are their own problem. They mostly propagate patriarchal practices against fellow women more. For instance, when a man cheats on his wife, women will advise their fellow woman to endure and pray hard to safe her marriage. She will even encourage her to stay in abusive relationship as if it is a curse to be alone. Some women even encourage young girls not to be ambitious. They said it makes them look like prostitutes. They tell these young girls not to live their dreams so that they could find husbands. All these and more point to the fact that violence against women is a long standing tradition which cannot be completely addressed in one article, therefore the need to keep talking about it.
I find it extremely frustrating that in this 21st century, the world is still not free from violence against women. Men still see themselves as the owners of the world. Why would it be so when we all share the same God, the same rain, the same sun, the same hunger pangs, the same everything that nature provides? No matter how far women have gone in raising our voices in denouncing violence against women, there is still so much to do until such violence is abated.
Oh yes! A world free from violence against women is achievable if there should be an active law that protects women and girls against violence and the provision of services that will be accessible to all and sundry. In some states in Nigeria, this law against violence is active while in many states, it is not. Government should enforce this law to be active in all states. In addition to the law, women need to start fighting for women, and not patriarchy by denouncing such practices which mitigate against women.
Only when we end violence against women and girls, should we have a world free from violence.