International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women Can Actually Be A Trigger!
The United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. But even before the United Nations recognised this day, the activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros had recognised this day, in 1981, with an aim to raise awareness about violence against women and combat it. It was much later in 2000 that UN recognised International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. The sole aim of observing this day is to highlight the data and the rising cases of violence against women in different forms like rape, molestation, domestic violence and more. This day also aims to showcase how several cases of violence are hidden and covered up. This year, in 2022, United Nations has decided the theme for the day to be UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls.
This time the UN has planned 16 days of activism starting from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 to mark the launch of the UNiTE campaign. These 16 days of activism conclude on International Human Rights Day on December 10. This UNiTE campaign aims to raise awareness and call for global action to eliminate violence against women while promoting and advocating to create opportunities to discuss challenges and resolutions. In line with the same, UN Chief António Guterres shared shocking data. The UN Secretary-General revealed that every 11 minutes a woman or a girl is killed due to intimate partner violence or domestic abuse meted out by a family member. Now, while I’m all for supporting women and calling for global action against violence against women and girls, I have my own set of problems and questions.
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Why do we have just one day to call for global action to eliminate violence against women? Come to think of it, Covid-19 also didn’t kill as many people and there was so much hue and cry about it and here a woman will lose her life to abuse as we you read this article. Isn’t that shocking? Despite this number, we just have one day to make violence against women a global issue. As someone who has been victimized by domestic abuse, I assure you, if anything this day simply serves as a trigger. Take a moment to put yourselves in the shoes of a woman struggling with domestic abuse. On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we come across politicians and public figures making some big statements and revealing data but the ground reality is cold, harsh and unbearable. Every other woman is dealing with some or other form of violence and she has nowhere to go because our society continues to oppress women and tell them to “make things work” or just “deal” with it. It’s funny how suddenly this very society wakes up one day to speak about the abuse against women and then goes right back to sleep only leaving women dealing with abuse feeling triggered by the sudden talk around this topic.
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Let’s take a look at the numbers and try to understand how this day has actually helped do anything more than serve as a trigger for the survivors and victims. As per UN and WHO data, in 2018, 1 out of 7 women experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their partners. This means that globally 13% women from 15 to 49 years of age experienced intimate partner violence and in 2021, this number rose to 30%. You know what this means? 1 in 3 women is subjected to physical or sexual abuse or both at least once in their lifetime. We’re talking about nearly one-third women across the globe between the ages of 15 to 49 years. And what’s worse is that these women struggling with abuse are more prone to depression, anxiety disorders, STIs and unplanned pregnancies among other health problems. While violence may end, the health problems that women face afterwards don’t. Essentially, this shows that violence has a much much deeper impact on a woman which isn’t just emotional and mental but also physical.
We’re living in a world where abuse and violence against women have been on a constant rise and this is just that data from the cases that have been reported. We know for a fact that in most cases women silently suffer due to the lack of support and resources and due to the fear of social ostracism. And here we are, talking about eliminating violence against women once a year while the number continues to grow. In the 21st century, even with all the feminism and fight that we’ve all been putting on, the cold hard reality is that women aren’t safe even inside their own homes and forget being safe outside. Look at Shraddha Walker’s case, the woman lost her life because of one little mistake because she chose to trust one person to not abuse her and we all know how it ended. In a place like this, how are we expected to hail this day and not feel triggered? Globally 81,000 women and girls were killed in 2020.
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Personally, looking at the data only triggers me instead of making me feel any better. Yes, I do acknowledge that International Day for the Elimination Of Violence Against Women aims to raise awareness and urge countries across the globe to take steps to prevent violence against women but looking at the numbers, it really hasn’t actually changed anything. So, what is this day doing for women apart from making us feel triggered and unsafe considering the statistics?
Janvi uses her pen to smash the patriarchy. Geet one day and Wednesday Addams the next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!