In every city and town, every rural village and every community in the world, there are women of all ages suffering the physical, emotional and psychological impact of gender based violence. Whilst this is tolerated, accepted or ignored we will never be able to achieve the stronger, more stable communities that the world desperately needs and which almost every nation on earth declares are their objective. As long as women and girls are subjected to violence, manipulation, control and subjugation and as long as the world stands by and accepts these abuses, we will never achieve the 2030 Agenda.
It is well documented that gender based violence is passed on from generation to generation unless challenged. This challenge must be effective and embedded in education and positivity and immediate. Our children must grow up with a basic understanding of equality. This must extend beyond girls and boys, women and men and fully encompass the reality of our modern world. Rural women continue to be isolated from full and fair implementation of laws protecting them and are often far from the societal changes their urban counterparts are beginning to see.
16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is very important. It is crucial that we use this period as a springboard for genuine change in the years ahead. The different social media campaigns have seen many millions of women globally come forward and report current, ongoing or historical accounts of sexual harassment, abuse, intimidation and violence. Thumbs up to digital platforms which have raised awareness of these campaigns to unprecedented levels and at a speed never seen before. The reality is that many are still in a position that stops them from speaking out. Situational threats, societal shame, fear of judgement or continued danger and perhaps most critically isolation mean that women around the world cannot escape their situation nor speak out for themselves. We must use our power, voice, and privilege to help raise the voice of those women not being heard. As World Pulse sisterhood we are joining colleagues from all over the world in campaigning to end gender based violence. Each of us must take responsibility for change. Do not tolerate the status quo in your community, speak out for change and for a final end to gender based violence.