Raising Our Voices, Standing Together. International Day for the Eliminaton of Violence Against Women 2019 #IStandWithHer

Tamarack Verrall
Posted November 24, 2019 from Canada

This call to action, these 16 days calling for an end to all forms of violence against women begins again now. Our call for 2019. Every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. It is a global call for action. It has its roots in the murder of three out of four sisters, all who were speaking out against a dictator in their country. I read about it because I wanted to know about it. The loss of these women was felt by activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros. In 1981 those women marked November 25 as a day to collectively raise awareness about violence toward women and girls. It became a resolution at the UN in 1999. A promise to end this violence.

We are not pleading, asking politely, satisfied with promises that have so far amounted to nothing on the extremes of torture, imprisonment and death, throwing at the best, crumbs. Women have been asking governments to act on the treatment of women from unfair to deadly, for more years than any of us have been alive. Women speaking out have been vilified, hidden from history, accused of being man-haters, ordered to be beaten up by or imprisoned by governments, by police forces, as well as being killed in the streets and in homes by individual men. Men empowered by a world social system that continues to send out the message that men have the right to dominate women, and if necessary beat or kill us into silence. 

We are living in this horror. And over the next 16 days we name it. And we celebrate knowing each other is there.

It is no wonder that along the way, as our voices speaking out have gotten stronger, that the methods of silencing have continued, even expanded. And we know that women fearing the rocking of this boat have betrayed sisters along the way. We need to continue to encourage each other throughout these lives of ours, for the women who have been killed, for our work to stop it, for this weaving together what we know is possible. 

Man hater. Uppity. Loud mouthed. Ugly. Troublemaker. Full of herself. Useless. Words thrown at us for dreaming of, calling out to find others also working for peace and respect for women. Words thrown at us for working for a world without suppression of, violence toward, murder of girls and women that is still taking place almost everywhere.

As we embark on this 16 Days, all those who want this, let’s move forward together. Feel the beautiful support of each other. Send support to each other. Recognize that we are being attacked because we have a different vision of what is possible. The world needs our leadership. To end violence. To end the wars. To end poverty. To create universal health care. Universal education. To live in harmony with the earth, our home. To live in harmony with each other.

I call on men who haven't known what to do, to move forward with us in waves, not as leaders of women, but as leaders of men and boys and in support of us. By changing what continues to be taught: that outspoken women must be stopped if we go too far. That men and boys have the right to any woman or girl at any time for any reason. Instead, that men and boys have the right to be loving, gentle, sensitive, and respectful of women without being punished. That acceptance into male circles can be gentleness, not macho. That violent behaviour needs to end. That the voices of women as we figure out how we can create a different world by meeting and planning with each other, need to be supported and welcomed. All of our lives depend on this. 

We are reaching a turning point in this change so desperately needed. But there is a barrier of those resisting, not wanting to lose benefits from change in the status quo.

Do we need to say it again? Yes, we do. Women and girls are being tortured and killed daily, almost everywhere. We are being subjected daily to beatings, forced marriages, forced sterilization, breast ironing, FGM, widows huts, acid in faces, imprisonment, rape, torture, murder and all of the devastation that comes with  wars. We are being stolen away into into sexual slavery. We are used for indentured labour, forced into unwanted marriages, watch our children get murdered, our girls raped, and we are killed when we are considered a burden or a danger. What kind of world is this?

This is our call for action each year. Each year we are stronger. Each year more in touch with each other. Let’s be furious together. Let our fury become the strength we need. Even stronger together than before. We are not alone, we have each other. We will not be silenced. Our roar is justified. Our roar is needed. Our roar will help more women find each other, more women to trust themselves in believing that  every one of us has the right to be leaders, to be well supported in the work we are doing, to be free. Let’s soar with each other as we tell our stories, as we make what we imagine come true.

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 25

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Anita Shrestha
Nov 24, 2019
Nov 24, 2019

Thank you for sharing

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Thanks Anita for being there so steadfastly to offer support.

Kika Katchunga
Nov 25, 2019
Nov 25, 2019

Hello TAMARACK

You have been really beautiful I like your advice; you have all my support; so inspired by the title of this article; you had all been right; Thank you for sharing

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Hi Kika,
I feel your strong support, and send the same back to you with all you do.

Pankylt
Nov 25, 2019
Nov 25, 2019

More and more men joining you in supporting your ongoing oppression.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Hi Pankylt,
Thanks for your message. It is true, more men understand now why it is important to support women on this. I am calling on the many who have not yet committed to speaking out openly against all this violence and unjust treatment of women. It is men who will get through to men who believe themselves superior. I'm happy to know you are noticing more and more joining us.

maeann
Nov 25, 2019
Nov 25, 2019

Hi Tam,

Each year we will unite and stand in solidarity.

I stand with you. #IStandWithHer

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

And I feel your strong self standing beside me and with so many women you have gathered around you dear sister.

Jill Langhus
Nov 25, 2019
Nov 25, 2019

Hello Dear Tam,

Wow! So well written! Thanks so much for being the voice of so many women! Thanks, too, for including the brief history of how the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women started. I didn't know that. I also love that you wrote at the end about using our collective fury as an impetus to fuel change... yes! This sounds like a great idea to me.

I hope you're doing well, dear?!

XX

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Dear Jill,
As always I feel you close by my side, always with such understanding of what I (and we all) are saying. We women have been punished for even mild complaints about the situation. So often I have heard "I am not one of those angry feminists" by women afraid to associate with loud mouthed women. They know they can be punished for agreeing. But with the backdrop of millions of women and girls being trapped, punished, tortured, killed I refuse to e apologetic for saying it is happening and has to stop. Thanks for always being there for me in the many ways we have to stay in touch.

Jill Langhus
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Hi Tam:-)

Aw... lovely thought and sentiment:-) Yes, we have:-( Me, too!

Good for you, and for that I love you!! It takes an awful lot of courage to do what you have been doing, and to be that that outspoken, for as long as you've been doing it. You're my personal Gloria Steinem:-) You got it, dear! You're welcome:-)

XX

Lisbeth
Nov 26, 2019
Nov 26, 2019

Dear Aunty Tamarack,
Thanks very much for the background history. It's so interesting.
I hope you are doing great? Thanks for standing with us.
I #standwithher too.
Hugs
Lizzy

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Hi Lizzy,
Thanks for the strong support. I'm glad that writing some f the history is interesting to you. I want women to know that we have been given the same excuses for years.

Lisbeth
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Hahaha :-(!
Absolutely.
Jugs

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Nov 26, 2019
Nov 26, 2019

Hello, Tam,

Wow, oh, wow! What a powerful message this is (as always)! Your words are so beautiful, and I love that you are also calling out the men to stand with us.

We stand with you, Tam! Thank you for this empowering message of support.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Dear Karen,
I means a lot that this touches you. Your support keeps me thinking of what is important to report next. So glad to have you as a sister.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Awww. You’re so sweet, Tam. Thanks again! I’m glad you’re my sister, too!

Obisakin Busayo
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 27, 2019

Dear Tam,
What a powerful message! Thank you so much for sharing
Love
Busayo

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Thank you so much my dear sister. I have felt your support from my first days as a member and long been inspired by your work.
Deep love in sisterhood,
Tam

lizzymark
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 27, 2019

Thank you so much Tam,all need to know,thanks for shearing dear we will keep standing until she is freed.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Dear Lizzy,
I have been so glad to meet you here and know we are standing together until every woman is free.

Urmila Chanam
Dec 01, 2019
Dec 01, 2019

Dearest sister Tam,
I am inspired by your strong determination to take a stance against violence against girls and women without letting worry of being called a trouble maker and a man-hater bog you down. Feminism is under attack like never before alongside rise in crimes against women. A sense of guilt and an image issue are being attempted to confuse and discourage feminists like many women under the influence of men are ranting about why we don't need to talk about women's issues all the time. I value such clarity of purpose that you possess. Wish you all the best in your endeavours my dear sister, I am watching with pride from India.

Love and hugs,
Urmila Chanam,
India

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

My dear sister,
So much has happened in both our countries and in so many others even in this short time between your message here to me and mine back to you. I know that you have borne the brunt of these attacks on your character as I have, and that is one of the reasons I am so glad we have found each other. What you say is so true. These accusations are meant to make us afraid to speak out, punish us, and make us afraid to associate with other women speaking out. Now I feel you always by my side, as I am to you. One day we will meet. I feel as if we have already.
Love and hugs back,
Tam

Usri
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

I found your writing extremely informative and can relate to it in so many ways. At some point, we all face the situation when we stand up and face backlash. But strength lies in togetherness. Supporting each other. Thanks.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Dear Usri,
I am so glad that you can relate to my story, and that you are one of us who continues to dare to speak up. Yes, together we are strong and I am so glad to link arms with you here.