If we watch television or read the newspapers or peruse the internet for world news we can see many continuing instances of gross injustices and violence perpetuated against women. In order to stop and reverse this cycle we must be prepared to speak out against such horrible acts and work together to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and punished. Silence in this instance is absolutely not an option.
Afghanistan, Darfur, Iraq, Venezuela, and the Sudan are some of the more news worthy countries where women have had terrible acts of violence against them for decades, but those are not the only countries who have been remiss in the area of human rights, especially women’s rights. Many times the women who have been victimized are left with physical and mental scars that last a lifetime. Some are subject to ridicule and stoning or worse. In most of those instances those perpetuating that violence were unfortunately not punished because many countries have not yet created laws against such acts. This has got to change. The lives of all people are valid, just, and valuable.
For instance, as far back as 2004 the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission found that nearly 69% of 7,000 people interviewed had someone they knew and loved harmed or killed by such gross injustices. That is an alarming statistic and one that we’ve got to change. There is much that can be done. Afghanistan is not alone in this regard.
For decades, the Sudan and other bordering communities have suffered human rights atrocities at the hands of their murderous governments, especially the women who have been raped, repressed, tortured, suffered genital mutilation, and more. President Obama set in motion an Executive Order in 2017 that fell short of curtailing these injustices. For too long the USA and the world has turned a blind eye in their direction. It is way past time to act.
In 2016 Human Rights Watch found that 18,000 people who were thought to have a diminished mental capacity were being shackled to beds or cement blocks, some even kept in animal pens, in Indonesia. While this revelation raised eyebrows across the world their government still keeps over 12,000 of these people shackled. This is outrageous!
The protestors in Venezuela are being denied food and medicine by their brutal government. Infant mortality rates are increasing. These were peaceful demonstrations that turned violent. President Maduro and his Administration deny this is occurring. Something must be done to allow these and other people to peacefully assemble and express their opinions about how they are governed!
Some key spokespeople around the world and the United Nations Office of High Commissions for Human Rights are trying to foster change in this regard. I, as a woman who has had violence perpetuated against me, would like to join their ranks and help end this serious problem. Therefore, I am speaking out and hoping to educate those of you who may be unfamiliar with such gross injustices such that you can in turn take action by helping others to find their voices to speak out. Working together we can bring about lasting and necessary change where the rights or all human beings are honored and valued.
Here is what has to occur for change to take hold. Victims of physical violence and psychological/mental battering must not be afraid to speak out. Mechanisms and support personnel must be in place to help them [victims of abuse/violence] deal with the mental, physical, and psychological issues stemming from such abuse and violent acts. Governments must take a proactive stance against these violations by creating uniform laws that prohibit these abusive actions. Laws must include provision for justice of those violated by punishing those who perpetuate such injustices. For many governments this means reforming their old laws to reflect the changing times, as well as, educating their people about what can be, and is being, done to stop this vicious cycle. Religious leaders, academia, and members of the media can also help move this process forward by maintaining a continuous dialogue.
In the case of Afghanistan, there are eight regional offices where women can seek help if they or someone they know has been victim of violence or abuse. The offices of the UN Human Rights Units were specifically created for these abusive situations. They are located in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Herat, Bamyan, Kandahar, Jalalabad, and Gardez. The primary purpose of these units is to protect the citizens from violence, help transitional governments to reform their laws to include provision for human rights for their people, deliver essential services, allow and foster freedom of expression, and to aid in poverty reduction.
I believe it is the duty of governments around the world to protect their people. Those that have not already made progress in this regard can, and need to be, reformed such that all people are protected from such horrible injustices and that those responsible for such reprehensible acts are punished. Every life is valuable and precious!
Women of the world I invite you to stand with me united against violence and abuse of women. The time to act is now. Please do your part to further this important cause by speaking out and helping victims of violence and abuse to find their voices. It is through our collective voices that we can create change.