Millions of women around the world face violence every day. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This emotive but exceptionally important day marks the start of the United Nation’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign, to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.
To mark the day in meri style in PNG, the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) in Madang, are hosting an event to raise awareness of the millions of women that experience violence every day and unite to end this violence. They have asked men around the world to wear a meri blouse (dress) for one day.
Women are told they are raped because of the clothes they wear, or where they go out, or when they go out. FSVAC want to show that clothing cannot consent to sex and that clothes are not your consent to sex. Every day women face all forms of violence and they want men to show their support in helping end this violence by wearing a meri blouse. Violence against women is not just a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that affects women, men and children.
It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from FGM/C, and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide.
This event is part of the 16 days of activism campaign, which runs from November 25th to December 10th and links violence against women and human rights to emphasise that all forms of violence against women are violations of human rights.
This campaign is used by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by: raising awareness about gender based violence as a human rights issue, strengthening local work around violence against women and creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.
Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
The physical, psychological and social impact of violence is huge, including death, permanent disability, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, infertility, unsafe abortion, loss of income, rejection by family and community, family breakdown, psychological trauma and mental illness. The impact is equally harmful and long lasting on women, children and men. We are often told only women are affected by this violence; but we also know that men and boys are significantly affected when they watch their sisters, mothers and daughters being physically and sexually abused. Every incident of violence is a violation of human rights.
The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.
Violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable and never tolerable.