By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Each year, November 25 is recognized as the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women that marks a 16-day activism campaign against gender-based violence across America and worldwide.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN is “committed to ending all forms of violence against women.” He emphasized that violence against women is rooted in what he termed as “centuries of male domination, power imbalances, stigmas and gender inequality.”
The 16-days of activities fall under the secretary-general’s campaign UNITE by 2030 to end violence against women. UNITE is a global platform that empowers young leaders to solve the biggest challenges facing their nations.
It was the Latin American and Caribbean feminist organization Encuentros, in 1981who chose November 25 as the day to raise awareness about violence against women and to determine to do something about it.
During most war-time conflicts, gender-based acts of brutal violence are committed against women and children. These acts happen daily worldwide and women are still victims of a widespread global sex trafficking business – even in the U.S.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzole Mlamnbo-Ngcuka explained: “Rape isn’t an isolated brief act. It can have life-changing, unchosen effects – a pregnancy or a sexually-transmitted disease, immense trauma and an unwarranted sense of shame. In both conflict and in peacetime, it often shapes women’s decisions to move from their communities through fear of attack or the stigmatization of survivors. If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. “
The secretary-general reiterated that in spite of worldwide mobilizations and a number of movements such as the #MeToo movement, violence against women across the globe remains pervasive – continuing to be normalized and embedded in social environments.
Meanwhile, Turkey is attempting to change this by training its military about how to handle violence against women. This week, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced it has already trained close to 700,000 soldiers in how to combat violence against women.
Under Turkey’s National Action Plan for combating violence against women – both the Defense and Labor as well as Social Security Ministries collaborated on women’s empowerment. As part of the program, more than 10,000 personnel were trained to teach soldiers a sense of empathy in situations involving gender-based violence.
Additionally, the secretary-general stressed that a pervasive attitude of misogyny and gender inequality in all nations must change immediately.
Guterres explained that everyone across the globe must take a “greater stand” against these behaviors. He added that women’s rights and equal opportunities must be further developed and expanded – commenting that sexual assault and rape of all kinds must end.