Monday, November 25th marks the observation of the United Nations 16 days of activism for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls under the theme ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’.
What is sexual violence and rape. At times the words sexual violence and rape are often times used interchangeably depending on the context. However sexual violence is defined as: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless, of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work includes the gamut of heinous sexual acts, attempted or carried out (WHO).
While rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object (ccwrc.org).
Sexual Violence against women and girls, specifically rape is prevalent and persistent, however not always noticeable as in cases of physical violence.
Cases of Sexual violence or rape often goes unreported primarily because of feelings of shame, stigma, fear of retaliation and the lack of a proper Judicial & Social infrastructure that caters to the needs of victims and an adequate reformative recourse for the perpetuator.
When this heinous crime goes unpunished, nothing is said or it is trivialized, it creates a culture that normalizes sexual violence, leaving women and girls undervalued and fracturing entire communities and nations.
Sexual violence and violence on a whole against women and girls continue to be a threat to their human rights, development and their overall wellbeing. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres - Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that sexual violence is a serious public health and human rights problem with both short- and long-term consequences on women's physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health.
Whether sexual violence occurs in the context of an intimate partnership, within the larger family or community structure, or during times of conflict or disaster, it is a deeply violating and painful experience for the survivor.
With that said, what will you do, what can you do? Often times many of us fail to challenge the pervasive sexual violent culture that is prevalent in our community. How can you take a stand?
How will you stand up and say, “No is No”? Will you be the one to advocate for stronger laws that will punish perpetrators? Will you befriend or extend yourself to help someone who has been affected?
Will you be that catalyst for change that this beloved country of ours so desperately need? Will you partner with agencies such as Women’s Desk, Safe Haven and the many women’s groups within our community?
Take a stand against Sexual Violence and Rape that crimpling the lives of our women and girls. Be the Generation Equality Who Stands Against rape….… “No is No”!!!!