ISLAMABAD: A global campaign ‘We Can, End All Violence Against Women’, currently going on in 14 countries.
The campaign’s underlying belief is that personal attitudinal change becomes agent for social change.
In Pakistan the campaign is functional with its core group, provincial and district partners and presently has over 440,000 Change Makers (persons who pledge not to commit any violence against women) across the country.
The campaign was launched in South Asia in 2004.
Since that time it has signed up 3.7 million people across 6 countries to the campaign, its change makers, through its campaign partners or Allies.
The campaign’s goal is to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women and the generation of mass social movement, which will create a climate in which violence against women is not tolerated.
Violence against women is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women.
According to an estimate, as many as 70 percent of the total womenfolk in Pakistan experience domestic violence.
This violence can range from beatings, to sexual torture, to broken bones and very serious injury caused by pouring of acid or burning the victim alive.
Women and children are often in great danger in the places where they should be safest within their families.
For many, ‘home’ is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them – somebody they should be able to trust.
Those victimised suffer physically and psychologically.
They are unable to make their own decisions.
According to the statistics for the first six months of this year, 123 women were raped in southern Punjab, while another 46 were gang raped.
A total of 158 women were murdered, while 58 were killed in the name of ‘honour’; 621 were kidnapped, and 65 committed suicide.
“There have been at least 27 recorded cases of acid throwing and stove burning in the province,” Anthony added.
“A total of 152 were beaten, 20 reported harassment and seven were sold in ‘midnight auctions.
Violence against women – both intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women are major public health problems and violations of women’s human rights.
The report said over 90 percent of the respondents in change makers’ circles of influence reported having made some kind of change in relation to their own attitudes and behaviour as a result of their contacts with the change makers.
November 30th has been globally declared as “International ‘We Can’ Day to End All Violence Against Women” and was marked with Launching of a book ‘Measuring Change’ by Suzanne Williams.
Book Launching was followed by the ‘We Can’ Global Declaration, released in 14 countries across the globe.
The book draws upon the consolidated regional report and some of the country reports of the 2010 Assessment of Phase II of the We Can Campaign in 15 countries- Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lank.
It focuses on those findings from Assessment, which offer most insight into the results of the campaign’s efforts.
It accepted that while the evidence of impact of the campaign was localised and fairly small-scale, the community changes can be seen as step towards changing wider gender norms.
Source: Business Recorder