The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
Kate was over the moon when she got into university to study social work. All she ever wanted to do was to help people, specifically children. She knew that as a social worker her job would give her joy because she would be in the position to help vulnerable children. If anyone knew about vulnerability it was her. Kate was molested by a family friend when she was 5 years old, she never told anyone until she was much older. Kate was attacked at age 19 and sexually assaulted. Kate was raped at age 27. Kate was murdered at age 30.
Regardless of her traumatic childhood Kate was a ray of sunshine who wanted to heal the broken. She smiled even when it hurt and nobody, nobody knew any better. When she was attacked at university in her first year of studies, a piece of her was stolen but she soldiered on. After many years of living in a patriarchal society and having her spirit broken, she was raped. It almost destroyed her, it changed her. She didn’t see light in the world anymore, she didn’t trust men and they were always so angry at her anger directed at them. They never knew her story, they didn’t bother ask, all they knew was her anger. They called her a raging feminist lunatic. At age 30 Kate was murdered. She was not murdered by a woman.
Women certainly have more rights in society now than they did 100 years ago but patriarchal patterns of abuse still exist extensively throughout the globe.
We have the right to wear pants, yes believe it or not this was something not allowed by many cultures, we have the right to dress how we please but that doesn’t mean that men will stop judging women who dress a certain way. We have the right to drive, a right many Saudi Arabian women didn’t have until very recently but that doesn’t guarantee that we will be spared from the generalization that women are bad drivers. We have the right to work in any field we choose but that does not stop men from calling women lesbians if they choose to drive a truck or bus for a living. We have the right to study instead of marrying at a young age, but we still hear men say that we are arrogant and think that we are better than others because we choose to educate ourselves. We have a mountain of rights that women fought for over the centuries, so many rights but so little acceptance of it. The view from the top of that mountain is not as pretty as we thought it might be. We stand at the top and as we look down, we can see the stream of blood rolling down the mountain, drowning our sisters.
It is now time for men, good men to rise up and fight the gender-based violence with us.
Just like Kate most women have a story to tell. Many however will be buried with their stories.