These are the words forming the opening of Every Woman Treaty, an organization that I have come to think of as a strong sister organization working in the same direction that we are, here within World Pulse.
“Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation on earth. I stand for a life free from all forms of violence for every woman and girl, everywhere. I hereby join the call for a global treaty to eradicate violence against women and girls”.
As I sat through a recent meeting, listening to the plans to raise an ever stronger voice against violence against women everywhere, and so aware, as we are, that violence is increasing horrendously through COVID-19, my thoughts went continually to the possibilities in our forming connections individually and as a group to bring this change that we all want, to see the end of every form of violence against women and girls on this planet, and with this, a global society that we know is possible if only the priorities of women, the priorities that we describe so well here, could be in place for the benefit of all.
As I sat through that recent meeting my mind continually went to thinking how powerful if these women in this group could meet the World Pulse women in their countries who are working in the same direction.
The Every Woman Treaty holds the United Nations and the leaders of every country accountable for the lack of action to end violence against women everywhere. They point to the resolution adopted in 1994 by the UN General Assembly, and the Social Council resolution of May 1990: “the recognition that violence against women in the family and society was pervasive and cut across lines of income, class and culture and had to be matched by urgent and effective steps to eliminate its incidence” and recognized that “For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
These words are not new. We have been promised action by many of our governments for far more than half a century. The hours of volunteer labour by women throughout the years to change this, are countless. But the strength of our voices here on World Pulse, and knowing that sister organizations like Every Woman Treaty are working in the same direction, gives me hope.
The Every Woman Treaty website offers this:
A description of what has been promised through the UN; a working group on violence against women and girls and gender equality in 128 countries who have studied recommendations from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; ideas on how to solve the problem of violence against women and girls; and now this Treaty intended to address the lack of response and to hold our countries accountable.
This is the reasoning behind the Treaty:
“Treaties change global norms. With a global treaty to end violence against women, we can change the current system of silence into one of accountability and protection”.
Every Woman Treaty has 1,700 leaders, 843 organizations. 128 countries. World Pulse has 70,000 members from 190 countries. Some of us are members of both organizations. Imagine what we can do as we find ways to work more closely together.
Their Global Working Group members are in Africa 25, Asia 26, Europe 17, Latin America and the Caribbean 15, The Middle East and North Africa 14, North America 18, Oceania 14. The Treaty content the has been worked on: types of violence, vulnerable groups, life stages, implementation, prevention.
The Every Woman Institute released its first-ever Safer Sooner Report on February 20, 2020. “The Safer Sooner Report identifies gaps under current international systems in addressing and preventing violence against women and girls, and maps out a path to a world where every woman can claim her right to live free from violence”. Signing and making this report known is another tangible way to be working together.
They also invite everyone to join the #Red Shoes action "From our homes, during this global lockdown, we join Mexican architect, artist, and activist Elina Chauvet. Her installations of red shoes call for justice and systems change in remembrance of murdered and missing women. We photograph red shoes in solidarity with those who are surviving violence this minute, locked inside with their abusers throughout this global crisis. Join us on Zoom by clicking here at 1:00 PM EDT. Send your photos to [email protected]. Join us in posting them on your social channels on June 4, 2020, during our Virtual March. Tag us, and share the hashtags #RedShoes and #EveryWoman.
During the recent meeting members spoke about hoping to find others in their home countries to form strong alliances with, to challenge governments on their inaction over the years, and their lack of response to the new levels of violence we are dealing with now. I thought of all of you.
So many are working to bring people food and water, to help get people to shelter, to save lives. I hope that at the least this news of this sister organization will bring strength. The time is so long overdue that governments move into action, and that the prevailing obscenity of this world economy, and this world of violence, be radically transformed. Years of inaction have culminated in this current disaster. The more that those of us who envision a different reality link arms directly, the stronger we are. We are in the midst of such an emergency, one we have been dealing with for a long time, one which now with a whole new level of urgency calls for us to work together more closely than ever.