Two years ago on July 25, 2012, the “Orange Day” was launched as a crucial part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.
The SayNO_UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaims every 25th of the month as Orange Day! The objective is to raise awareness about the issue of violence against women and girls, not only once a year on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.
The plight of women and girls across the world seems to be largely unheard. Therefore, I think the fact that every 25th of every month, this campaign does offer a platform to raise awareness about what women and girls go through every day (and in some places more than once EVERY DAY).
Here’s my contribution then with some statistics:
- Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women – are major public health problems and violations of women’s human rights.
- On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
- Up to 80% of violence against women is alcohol related.
- Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
- Between 15% of women in Japan and 71% of women in Ethiopia reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Between 0.3–11.5% of women reported experiencing sexual violence by a non-partner since the age of 15 years.
- The first sexual experience for many women was reported as forced – 17% in rural Tanzania, 24% in rural Peru, and 30% in rural Bangladesh.
- Violence against women can have fatal results like homicide or suicide and leads to injuries, with 42% of women who experience intimate partner reporting an injury as a consequence of this violence. Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
- Sexual violence, particularly during childhood, can lead to increased smoking, drug and alcohol misuse, and risky sexual behaviours in later life. It is also associated with perpetration of violence (for males) and being a victim of violence (for females).
- Children (like children of alcoholics) who grow up in families where there is violence may suffer a range of behavioural and emotional disturbances. These can also be associated with perpetrating or experiencing violence later in life.
- Violence can result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive health and other health problems, and may increase vulnerability to HIV.
- Intimate partner violence has also been associated with higher rates of infant and child mortality and morbidity (e.g. diarrhoeal disease, malnutrition).
It is quite important to note that Violence against women and girls isn’t something that happens to strangers in foreign lands. It occurs to people we know, love, have grown up with, have gone to school with and even meet every day on the street, at work, in the gym, restaurant etc. Since it is ubiquitous, I also expected the campaign to be ubiquitous.
This campaign needs everyone in society to rally behind it otherwise it will be a lost cause. We owe it to our daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters that they may grow up in a world free from violence against women and girls. It needs to become an unbelievable folktale for future generations that domestic violence, sexual assault were perpetrated against women. It needs to become taboo that rape is used as a weapon during war, that a man can raise a hand to hit a woman or a girl.
So I ask this: During this 25th and all the subsequent 25ths of every month, will you join the SayNO_UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign?
- Wear orange on every 25th and spread the news about the campaign ?
- Invite others to wear orange on every 25th of the month, share posts and tweet about it?
- Spend an alcohol-free day, drinking Magic Drink, to help prevent alcohol related violence against women and girls every 25th?
- Organize an activity every 25th to raise awareness? (Community Action Guide IOGT’s Inspire Freedom campaign)
Raising awareness leads to people talking about it, including victims. Talking about it makes people think twice before doing it to others and makes people stop others from committing violence. We simply send the message that it’s not okay. And it cannot and will not be excused. If every man and every woman supports this, then we will have conquered the scourge that is gender-based violence.
We can do this!!