Feb 4, 2009, 6:31 AM
Think Young Women (TYW), a young women led non-profit organisation joins the rest of world in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence on the theme ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Lets Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women.’
Each year, the 16 Days of Activism is commemorated from the 25th November-10th December. The 16 Days Campaign advocates for awareness and action on addressing Gender-Based Violence. This is timely as TYW aims at inspiring and assisting young women to fight against gender-based violence through capacity building and awareness raising. As young people, we choose to be among those who choose to own their power for good.
‘Empowering young women and Girls to end GBV’ is the 2013 theme of TYW. According to the UN Women ‘one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.’ Of three young girls sitting in a classroom, learning to read and write, one will suffer violence directed at her simply because she is female. Of three women sitting in a market, selling their crops, one will be attacked — most likely by her intimate partner — and hurt so severely she may no longer be able to provide for her family. Among women aged 15-44 years, gender-based violence accounts for more death and disability among women than the combined effects of cancer, malaria, traffic injuries and war.
Young women under the age of 35 years represent about 39.9% of the population of The Gambia. In spite of our numerical strength, we face numerous problems. The 2010 Violence Against Women Study of the Women’s Bureau revealed that young ladies are victims of gender-based violence in schools, homes and communities, with very little support for redress.
In The Gambia according to the MICS 1V Report, 46.5% married before 18; 8.6% married before age 15 and, 42.4% of girls 0-14 years had FGM/C. The prevalence of FGM/C is 76.3%. Some of the greatest challenges to the attainment of the fundamental rights and freedoms of women are deeply rooted in the foundations of tradition. For instance, 75% of women aged 15-49 believed a husband is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances.
Our message is simple and straightforward. This year for the 16 Days of Activism, we say enough is enough. Violence against women and girls is never right, never acceptable, can never be tolerated, and it is never excusable.
We freely choose to let our hearts be wounded by such outrageous and inhumane behavior that violates our fundamental rights as human beings. As Hillary Clinton said at the fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, ‘human rights are women’s rights.... and women’s rights are human rights.’
TYW renews our commitment to fight against GBV and empower girls and young women. We believe that an empowered girl or young woman is every girl or young woman rising to say no to violence perpetuated against them simply because they are female.
We urge everyone to join in our efforts. Be part of the campaign to end this injustice. To reecho the words of former Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, we say, No to domestic violence and abuse; No to rape and sexual violence; No to human trafficking; No to female genital mutilation, No to child brides and child marriage; and No to impunity. We are girls and young women standing with all of our sisters.