Elimination of Violence Against Women – Achieving the UN Goal, By Michael Olusegun Babajide

Elimination of Violence Against Women – Achieving the UN Goal, By Michael Olusegun Babajide, Guest Writer

On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, EVAW. One of the strategies adopted to achieve the aim of this day is the launch of 16 days of activism against gender based violence which starts from November 25 of every year and climaxes on the 10th of December, which is the International Day for Human Rights.

In the spirit of these 16 days of activism against gender based violence, the following 16 suggestions are made on how EVAW can be achieved.

  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if acts that constitute VAW are known and criminalized. Articles 1 and 2 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW) define VAW in broad and open ended terms some of which are: physical, sexual and psychological harm, acts or threats of coercion, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, battering, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, traditional practices harmful to women, sexual abuse of female children in the households etc. whether in private or public life, in the family or community or those perpetrated and condoned by the state. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if these acts of VAW which are known are prevented. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if the acts of VAW which could not be prevented are swiftly prosecuted. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if there is a recognition that an “effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women would contribute to the elimination of violence against women”. (See recital 3 of DEVAW) 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if the most vulnerable categories of women are known and protected against violence. According to recital 7 of DEVAW, there are 11 groups of women who are most vulnerable to violence and they are: “women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee women, migrant women, women living in rural and remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, female children, women with disabilities, elderly women, women in situations of armed conflict”. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if society is enlightened enough to know that a woman’s sexual orientation must be respected and cannot be “corrected through corrective rape”. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if data and information on VAW are collected and analysed. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if essential services are readily available to facilitate swift response to occurrences of VAW. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if the first responders to VAW are well trained, equipped, and funded to make their work effective. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if survivors of gender based violence are listened to, supported, rehabilitated and not shushed. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if conversations on VAW are open, sincere and accountable. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if cultural practices and religious beliefs that perpetuate VAW are abandoned or annihilated. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if discrimination against women stops and men wake up to the reality that women are human beings that are entitled to all rights and privileges that men are entitled to. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if men are taught the importance of consent in sexual relations with women and that there are no blurred lines. 
  1. EVAW can be achieved if and only if men know when a woman can be said to have consented to sex. According to UN women, consent is YES when it is “enthusiastic, informed, specific, given freely, and not reversed”. 
  2. EVAW can be achieved if and only if women are empowered, educated and given equal opportunities as men.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: news.un.org

Babajide, Michael Olusegun is a final year Law student at the University of Lagos.

[Ps: EVAW is the abbreviation for Elimination of Violence Against Women; VAW is the abbreviation for Violence Against Women]

 

 

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