Editorial comment – 16 days of activism

Women groups , NG0's marched through the capital yesterday to mark the 16 days of Activism Against Violence Against Women . Picture: JONA KONATACI

The UN Women website highlights the global theme “Orange the world: End violence against women now!” to mark 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which starts today.

Last year, it amplified the call for global action to bridge gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that could improve life-saving services for women and girls.

Now it states: Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime.

In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters.

A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity.

Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.

While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable, it states, it can and must be prevented.

Stopping this violence, it points out, starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls.

It states, with survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.

Today starts the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marking the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign.

This officially ends on December 10. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

These 16 days offer us an opportunity to relook at how we address the issue of violence against women and girls in Fiji.

The Fiji Times joins the campaign every year, to encourage people to be aware of gender-based violence. Let’s face it, being aware is the first step.

Then there is the need to appreciate and understand the impact of violence on the lives of those directly and indirectly impacted.

Then there is the need for us all to make an effort to change the mindset.

We can do this together and make a difference in our lives and for those we love, and at the same time, place these very important days on a very high pedestal. Surely we can do this together!

More Stories