1 year ago
16 days of activism: Moving beyond 16 days
“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, our understanding, and our courage, we will have to say yea or nay- and rise!” affirmed American Author Maya Angelou. Living in a highly patriarchal society where stigma associated with being a victim of violence is taken as a crime, we often suffer in the silence.
According to the United Nations Development Programs, sexual and gender-based violence, which occurs in every region of the world is a violation of basic rights that also prevents women from exercising their other economic and political rights. It is estimated that one in three women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. But two out of three women who face such violence do not report it as per the data of United Nations Women Nepal. In Nepal, women and girls are exploited mostly in means of public transportation, workplace and in the privacy of their homes.
However, we have been practicing the trend of normalizing violence in our society by suppressing domestic violence inside the home thinking that it is the matter of husband and wife only or in the name of social prestige and reputation. Recently, arresting of a husband who attempts the rape to her wife in Taplejung was viral and those young minds negative comments and perceptions about rape clearly showed how lightly we have understood about such cases which take inside the home.
I was in the event named “Break The Silence” a solidarity gathering conducted by Ujyalo Foundation to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. During the event, the guest speaker, Bunu Dhungana, an artist and Photographer shared her experience about being on her late thirties and unmarried created a conflicted relationship with her mother. She also shared what she wanted to be as a woman and the projection of what a woman should be like in our society. While she was narrating her story, I remembered mine.
I grew up thinking there is an equal and safe place for women and girls in our society, where I always stand as the tough competitors against boys. It never triggers me that women and girls are less competitive than boys. Times flew. When I had my first menstruation then I realized how much one female has to bear during those days.
While it is possible to shatter the glass ceiling and breaking the gender stereotypes, we need to educate our self, children, men in the family and every possible people about how to support each other in stopping such violence.
It is necessary to publicize and aware every human being about what gender is and why every human should be respected regardless of their class, sex, color, culture and many more. It is also equally important to celebrate the success stories taking place in the world because one story can be the inspiration to so many lives that are waiting for the call. No matter where violence against any gender happens, no matter what forms it takes and whom it impacts, it must be stopped.