Today is the start of 16 days aimed at stopping violence against women all around the world; International Day of No Violence Against Women. November 25 has been named ‘Orange Day’ by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Today and the next 15 are about raising awareness and taking action against violence against women and girls.
In a press release, UN Under- Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “violence against women and girls remains one of the most serious – and the most tolerated – human rights violations.”
“It is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality and discrimination. Its continued presence is one of the clearest markers of societies out of balance and we are determined to change that,” Mlambo-Ngcuka continued.
Throughout Africa institutions and people are showing their solidarity in standing against violence against women. The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has organized an awareness campaign with the theme of Women at the Forefront of Development: The Fight against Violence, reported the AfDB.
The South African government has created a specific campaign aimed at the country; “Count me in: Together Moving a Non-Violence South Africa Forward”. At the launch today, South African President, Jacob Zuma states that a woman being beaten by her partner is not a private issue, rather “it is a serious crime,” reported News 24
“Our country takes this crime very seriously. We have declared it a priority crime. All community members must treat it equally seriously,” Zuma continued.
He told the South African people that “If a woman depends on the abuser for housing and general living expenses, they are unlikely to act and report a violent partner to the police or to walk out on them to protect their lives and that of the children.”
A former government minister of Guinea and the founder and president of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network, Saran Daraba Kaba, tolf Africa Renewal that one of the biggest challenges facing women in Africa is social attitudes that keep women believing they are inferior to men. She believes that the way to fight this is to inform women of their rights and enable them to act; “we have to get more women to know their legal rights. We have to teach our people why it is important to protect women and how it benefits the entire community when women are afforded better protection.”