I am a He for She: End Violence against Women and Girls!

“16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”

This year, 25th November to 10th December is designated as International Day of Elimination of Violence against women. I feel it’s important for me to highlight these ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence’ to our readers.

I’m also very delighted that the title of this topic is familiar to all of us and it’s clear that gender based violence is something that we have an indispensable task to constructively criticize and protest against.

Gender Based Violence is something our societies have been doing for quite a long time now with no single reason for why it’s done. For those raised in traditional societies where the wife-mother earns greater reputation when she has several children and the more children she has, the stronger her status becomes might understand well.

Most of us were/are raised in families where fathers never walk arm-in-arm with their wives. When they do walk together, a father has to walk ahead while his wife stays three steps behind. Despite the fact that we used to and still blatantly ignore the female being, today, mothers and wives bear much of the greater responsibility in the families than fathers do, including bringing up the children. Such is the case when alcoholic husbands drink up half the money they earn leaving their wives with no money, even for food at home. The domestic abuse ranging from psychological, emotional, and physical to sexual that such women face in their lifetime is a pandemic of global proportions.

Africa is not an exception, neither is the developed world.

The fact is violence against women is the human rights violation and if the entire societies choose to commit violence, the same societies can choose to stop it. Though it’s not as straightforward as one may think, stopping the violence is just something inevitable.

We are heading to this year’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence. It is the most appropriate time to listen to the voices of women in their homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces. It is truly a celebration of the contributions women make in every aspect of life; in the home, on the job, in the community, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders, but more important it is the time to help bring new dignity to women and girls around the globe.

For some who wonder whether the 16 days campaign is worth it in the lives of women and girls should surely know that this is what brings new strength and stability to families. This year’s theme – “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All,” should far more unite us as we share a common desire. Focusing world’s attention on issues that matter most in women’s lives and their families like access to education, healthcare, jobs, credits and the chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights and to participate fully in the political life of their countries.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 makes it clear that education leads to skills and knowledge for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, as well as gender equality. It is an empowerment tool for achieving peace and development, although Gender Based Violence with respect to the right to education remains a constant threat to girls and young women. This is due to insecurity and lack of safety which they face with education. Some of these are School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) like sexual violence and abuse either on the way or within school localities, discrimination in the availability of essential infrastructures such as adequate and safely accessible sanitary facilities, leaving behind the possibility of early/forced marriage that cuts short their education and makes girls particularly vulnerable and liable to being denied this crucial right.

We should perceive this as a great opportunity for youth organizations, policy makers, governments, UN agencies and individuals to incline our attention on issues that bring inequality in education. Some of these can be limited resource provision for the delivery of, or access to education, the patriarchal oriented curricula that are not gender sensitive, policies that perpetuate cultural values and taboos on girls in education and others such as lack of lavatories for girls, classroom spaces and proper budgeting. Since Gender Based Violence knows no boundaries of nations, culture, community, race, sexual orientation or religion, we are argued to join the campaign by organizing activities at community, national and international levels, spread the word using media or art to bring awareness and encourage action in most pressing issues women embark.

Doing so, we’ll build our homes and societies which in turn build countries with proper growth and development. Like an ancient Sanskrit saying, “Woman is the home and the home is the basis of the society.”

*Julius P. Kessy is a 24-year-old Writer/Blogger from Tanzania. His email: juliuskessy45617@gmail.com