We stand united for the elimination of violence against women
Lieutenant Colonel Zaka Ullah
UNFICYP Military Gender Focal Person
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is not just a single day and it is neither the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, but a firm commitment to leave behind the deep footprint in societal mindsets that oppressing women and subjecting them to violence is seen as norm.
Violence against women is not limited by geographical, socio-economic or cultural boundaries. It is a universal concern, which demands a global solution. This campaign aims to link violence against women with human rights and to emphasize that such violence is the worst form of violation. Any society will obliterate its chances of success when it accepts gender-based violence as a norm and a routine.
The UN is taking greater steps in order for men to come shoulder to shoulder with women through its “HeforShe” movement and I am using this platform to convey my feelings that gender based violence is the worst form of violence. At too often times, it also leaves irreparable damages to the survivors. How a society can claim itself just when such violence still takes place every day?
Violence against women is simply unacceptable, unfortunately too many women continue to live in the shadow of fear. We owe it to them to speak up and step up efforts to protect the rights of women, in our families, our communities and wider society.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world were reporting rising calls for help. While the world is gearing up all its energy to counter the coronavirus infection, on the other hand we are at risk of stepping back advances made to protect women from violence and abuse.
If violence against women was to be considered an infection, we are then experiencing another pandemic. We must not only survive the coronavirus, but emerge renewed, with women as a powerful force at the centre of recovery. Violence is not inevitable. It can be prevented. And we must take action so women rights are protected, and they can enjoy their full potential.