Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!
by Preslava, Member of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board
This blog is part of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence, which runs from November 25th through December 10th, 2014. The 16 Days of Activism are an international campaign that highlights violence against women as a human rights issues and calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Throughout the 16 Days, Amplify will be featuring one blog each day from youth activists who sit on our International Youth Leadership Council and Girl Engagement Advisory Boards.
The protection of the human rights is one of the most important objectives all over the world today. This includes the serious problems of abuse and violence in general, and gender based violence in particular, that should be taken under consideration. But tackling these problems can’t happen if we first don’t find the reasons behind them.
We live in a modern society, which has free access to new technologies, social media and innovations, which isn’t always as good as it is represented to people. Social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Skype, etc., is a great way to spread information, to keep in touch with friends and family, who live far away from us, to communicate easily with the people we work with, using different online surveys, platforms and data bases. We all use these things in our daily work, but we don’t always think about the ways it may be unsafe. Many adolescents and young people use them to share their personal stuff with their friends, but we are not aware of the risks they take when we do this. A lot of people misuse young girls’ and boys’ photos all posted on the internet, and social media can be linked to cases of stalking and physical harm, as well.
Furthermore, for a long time girls and women were thought to be tenderer than men. In the previous decades the women were supposed to take care of the family and the house, their voices have been oppressed and they weren’t allowed to take part in making important decisions. This made women easier targets of violence, and is why the percent of abuse of young women is much higher than with young men. The stalking and attacking of young girls happens a lot and for different reasons. And many girls don’t know how to protect themselves. We need to make programs for girls to teach them how to defend themselves in these kind of situations, but more importantly we need to give them the right to speak their mind on the problems that concern not only them, but the whole community all over the world.
Finally, I want to note the harm caused by domestic abuse of women and children. There are many men who abuse their families. This causes low self-esteem with children and women, a lack of trust and sense of responsibility for the future and problems with settling down. It’s very difficult for them to open themselves to others and to break the walls they have built during the years when they were stressed, oppressed and frustrated.
To sum up, gender-based violence is a serious problem these. Unfortunately, when someone becomes a victim of some of the forementioned actions, she is often afraid or embarrassed to report it. We must give them some courage to talk about these problems, support them publicly, show them that we care, and take action.