The world recently marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with 16 Days of Activism during which people hosted events and spoke out against Gender-based Violence. This day couldn't have come at a better time, just a month after world leaders committed to making the world a better place by adopting the Global Goals. To effectively realize these goals, every member of the society is required to put in efforts at their local community. This means that safe spaces are important for people to work in, especially women. Thus Violence against Women is a problem that should be given serious attention. A safe environment means that women can work and realize their full potential without the fear of violence.
We need to consider a few things as the world strives towards a safe environment for women in the coming year. Violence against Women is a common occurrence at the society and efforts to curb it should not only be confined to one day. Though November 25th is officially recognized as the day to mark the elimination of Violence against Women, the world needs to keep the momentum of the call to end this problem going. Community organizations working at the community with victims of violence should speak out and let their advocacy messages be amplified on different platforms. Organizations working at the policy level should reach out to the community workers and form meaningful partnerships.
We should also create awareness in the community on Violence against Women and the forms in which it is manifested and what actions to take in case somebody is a victim. This is best done with cultural sensitivity seeing that some cultures have different beliefs and customs surrounding the relationship between men and women. To avoid conflicts or resistance from the community, advocates working to create awareness in such communities should reach out to community elders and together they can devise ways through which to communicate these messages of advocacy. Further, while creating awareness focus should also be on the adolescents and the young adults. By reaching out to these groups of people at a young age, we ensure that they don’t learn behaviours that they will need to unlearn when they get into adulthood; let’s stop the culture of violence before it happens.
The face of gender-based violence has also changed over time to include men not only as perpetrators but also as victims. This is why intervention programs must take this into account; new ways of responding to instances of gender-based violence should be adjusted accordingly. It is also important to involve men in the fight to eliminate Violence against Women. Any problem, including gender inequality at the society can only be effectively addressed by collaborative efforts between women and men in such programs as this.
Emerging forms of Violence against Women such as harassment of women on digital spaces must also be addressed with the urgency of now. Women who are empowered through technology are at the heart of development but if they can’t use the digital spaces safely then there is a problem. Safe spaces include online social media where women connect with each other and share information and other resources that contribute to their social and economic development. Harassment in these spaces hinders the full participation of women through the use of technology. Intervention efforts must also be directed towards digital harassment of women.
Finally, it is important for people to speak up especially in instances of violence in the community that go unreported due to various reasons. We should all take a personal responsibility and be proactive in reporting and guiding victims towards organizations that deal with cases of violence. Most importantly, we should speak out to ensure that no human being is subjected to violence.