It is that time of the year again when the whole world has come together for a common cause. It is all about activism against gender based violence. I know you have seen the hash tag 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign that is on-going on social media. This is a campaign that takes place from November 25th to December 10th annually. In between this period, there are several important days such as the world disability day on 3rd December- International Day for the disabled, , 1st December – World Aids Day and on 10th December Human Rights Day. And as we celebrate world Human Rights Day, it is important to note that Gender Based Violence is a violation of Human rights.
What comes into your mind when the word Gender based violence is mentioned? When some of us hear the word gender based violence what comes in mind is sexual harassment. What some of us do not know is that gender based violence takes physical and psychological forms. In Kenya this campaign comes at a critical time when various forms of Gender Based Violence are on the rise. What with the number of the street harassment against our women, Rape, Child abuse, husband and wife battering? Most of these forms of gender based violence go unreported and little or no attention given to them.
This is saddening because gender based violence has far reaching effects on the victims be it physically, mentally, sexually and even on their reproductive health. The victims need care and support. While the My Dress My Choice campaign was on, many on social media wondered what the relevance was to carrying out an online campaign rather than take to the streets for demonstrations. Online campaigns are an important sensitization tool considering the increase in number of internet users in the world but we also need practical measures to help eliminate all forms of GBV.
For the 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign, it is all about eliminating all forms of gender based violence. Raising awareness about gender based violence, its negative impacts. Sharing the various ways of curbing gender based violence with the intention of getting rid of GBV completely is also another reason we should all participate in this campaign. I am particularly happy that there are leaders in our country who have worked to fight GBV in the country. The Nyeri women Representative is one leader who established a gender based violence desk at the Nyeri police station, Kenya in response to the increased gender based violence crimes in the region from rape to sodomy against young boys. This is an important step that will help in pursuing justice for the victims of GBV. It is important that all victims receive justice.
We need to speak up against all forms of GBV and we shall not neglect the victims. Let us address the root causes of GBV through sensitizing the society. Gender Based Violence CAN and SHOULD be prevented!
GBV -Gender Based Violence