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.
by Patricia, Member of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board
Gender Based Violence, as it aptly named, is violence based on gender. But I have my own way to define it: violence, whether physical, mental, or verbal, inflicted mostly on girls and even worse on girls of color. In my country, this chiefly happens in the capital, where the majority of the people still apply this sort of racism. This segregation may seem not to exist. But in fact it does, thought it has changed as our world developed . As a victim of gender and race-based violence, I am scandalized by this hypocrisy. People may pretend to be civilized and refined, but they are rotten into the core. For years, I have been watching my every single gesture to avoid reprisals from my peers and the society. Because to win their respect, their attention, you have to sit a contest, where you will be judged not only by your color but also by the way you dress every day of your life. A girl of color, if she wants respect and even affection from people – and who already must prove that she is someone despite of her color – is very limited in what she can wear. The requirements are: expensive clothes, quite smart and with brushing. Otherwise, she is either invisible, insignificant, anonymous, no one, or someone with a bad reputation. As I am a fashion follower, I’ll illustrate this with fashion and show people’s opinion about white girls and black girls wearing the same things. There are clothes only white people can wear. So this is the rule, if you break it, they will invent a new reputation for you:
- A white girl wearing a mini-skirt + make up = cool, nice shape, lovely, cute , beautiful.
- A black girl wearing a mini-skirt and make up = awful , prostitute, bitch, and even “slut”
It makes you want to cry facing all of that. Not only does it make you lose your self-esteem, but it also makes you upset. I am not safe, girls of color are not safe or not free to do what we want because color prevents us from our rights. I would like all girls of color to be proud and happy for who they are and say to the world: ” I am me , and that’s all I can be”