When we talk about gender-based violence (GBV), we remember the kind of horrendous things that girls and women endure because of who they are. These acts of GBV have entrenched in our communities and some have transformed into social norms. It is with disquiet that these globally pervasive and endemic outrages like child marriage, intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation, physical punishment, sexual, emotional or psychological violence, trafficking for sex or slavery are still time immemorial befalling women and girls. We especially remember the greatest women and men in the past and in our midst who set the bar high in the fight against gender inequality. Those who believe that only when we are equal, no one is at peace.
Reflecting back on the time when I felt the urge to stand up for the movement. Times of realization of what a corrupt and dangerous place we have been tolerating and harboring where our mothers and sisters were victims in their own homes, their own streets, in their own country. Victims to their own fellow brothers and husbands and uncles. What a shame. What was I doing to stop this shame?Oftentimes I would ask myself, if I was doing nothing to stop it, then I was no better than the people promoting it? If I could not physically take action, I would advocate. Today I urge all brothers like myself to stand up as advocates for the cries of our dear women who suffer at the hands of predators.
The 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign has become a symbolic international annual event that rallies activists, government leaders, students, academia and the private sector around the world to demand the end of gender based violence. Falling between two important dates, 25 November-International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 10th of December International Human Rights Day, the movement attracts more participants across the globe thanks to the advent of social media which has acted as a boon for community mobilization.
The 16 days of activism is a potent instrument in the fight against gender based violence. The movement raises awareness at local, regional, national and international levels, establishing a clear link between national and international efforts to end GBV, and it also demonstrates the solidarity of civil society entities spearheading the fight against GBV. The rise in the community mobilization, information sharing through workshops, seminar training, media, art and the influence these have on policy making have contributed to the fruition of the 16 days of activism.
Themes, activities, strategies, messages and partnerships focusing to end gender based violence on different facets are directly linked and employed to deliver the course of ending gender based violence. We continue to forge ahead rallying behind the banner of a noble course that was initiated to stop the abuse of people based on their gender. High incidents have been recorded across the globe due to Covid-19 regulations that caused families to be under lockdown. It is our responsibility as a people to empower women and stand in solidarity against GBV.
Our position as humanity is very clear, we must rise against all odds and fight against GBV. We stand in the gap and take the baton to confront all forms of GBV that are within and beyond our academic confines. It is time to rise and face-head on with the beast called GBV. Our voices with a clarion call must triumph in all the four corners of the earth as we shout ”No more abuses, no more excuses: A generation standing in the gap”. The change we seek is right within our reach.
1 July, 2023