Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death.
The United Nations Secretary-General proclaims the 25th of each month as “Orange Day” in a campaign to end violence against women. The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. The official theme framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, is “Orange your Neighbourhood.”
The date of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is Nov 25, also marks the start of the “16 Days of Activism” that precedes Human Rights Day on December 10 each year.
Bangladesh has actively recognized the day and days of activism over the last few decades, and thrives to further reduce the number of women and girls who fell victim to violence. Through implementation of campaigns and development projects, frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls) offer huge promise but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
Decades of mobilizing by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas. Many countries have laws against domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. However, challenges in implementing these laws, limiting women and girls’ access to safety and justice remain. Not enough is done to prevent violence, and when it does occur, it often goes unpunished.
Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. It has tremendous costs, from greater health care and legal expenses and losses in productivity, impacting national budgets and overall development.
To highlight the issues, the theme ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’ will echo with 16 days of activism by several development agencies and human rights groups all around the globe.