CPNN (Culture of Peace News Network) bulletin of December 1, 2017

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal sisters – three of four Dominican political dissident sisters – were murdered by order of Dominican dictator (1930-1961) Leonidas Trujillo, and since 1999, the United Nations General Assembly, designated the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor. Is it our imagination or was the day not marked this year by actions that were stronger and more widespread than ever before?

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that unless the international community tackles the problem, the world will not eradicate poverty or reach any of its other goals.

According to UN Women, “The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from November 25 through December 10, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry. Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day. Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence.”

Our survey of Internet articles found marches and other manifestations in Turkey, France, Chile, Italy, Mozambique, Sweden, Spain, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Mexico and Peru, many of them with colorful photos.

Heads of state and other political leaders took part. In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced an initiative to make it easier to report sexual assault claims to police. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a new reform plan to protect women from physical and sexual abuse. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau encouraged all Canadians to join the #MYActionsMatter campaign and find a way to combat violence against women.

The European Commission stated that “We have dedicated 2017 to European action to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, both in the public and private spheres.”

In Ecuador, the mayor of Esmeraldas, Lenin Lara, took part in 2nd International Conference on ‘Gender Violence in Ecuador and Latin America sponsored by his city, saying that “the fundamental vision is that of a culture of peace, a culture without violence of gender in general that discards the violence of our interpersonal relationships of our lives daily.”

In Africa, local radio, supported by UNESCO, is raising awareness for gender violence across many hard-to-reach regions through dedicated gender-sensitive programming, Our article includes examples from Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

In Latin America, many countries have recently strengthened their legal codes to combat femicide. These include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Mexico. In recent months CPNN has carried details about the movements involved in BrazilColombia and Mexico.

In the United States, the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment has recently taken over social media.  As explained by Tarana Burke, the original creator of the campaign, “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.”

In Bangladesh, A project implemented by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) and UN Women in four major universities is engaging male and female students, as well as teachers, to challenge gender stereotypes, speak out and learn how to prevent sexual harassment.

It is important that in some cases the leadership of the activities has been taken up by men. For example, in the Dominican Republic, The Inter-institutional team for a Culture of Peace in San Francisco de Macoris, organized a men’s walk against gender violence called “All United for Respect for Women.” The mottos that accompany this walk include: I respect women, I respect mothers, I respect my grandmother, I respect my daughter, I respect my sister, I respect my wife.

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