16 Days of Activism: Peaceful Home and Life without Violence
Friday, November 25, 2011
Cipayung - Millions of women throughout the world have become victims of many kinds of violence such as domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, torture and abuse of women prisoners, or violence in armed conflict that often lead to trauma, physical handicapped, and even death. In war and conflict, women and girls are the most vulnerable groups; they can be victims of rape that is used by soldiers as a weapon of war to subjugate a community. At home, they often deal with physically aggressive partner or relatives. In many communities, issues pertaining to family life are considered private and beyond public authorities' purview. Should dispute and disturbances arise, they would be best kept within the family. To seek outside help would be an act of disobedience. Those seeking protection therefore are often offered no alternative but to return to the abuser and continue being victimized.
This ribbon is a sign that male refugees have committed to stop violence against women at home and everywhere (Ilmi Suminar/ CWS Indonesia)
Violence against women constitutes a violation of basic human rights -- as declared in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Measures, ways and means therefore need to be taken to eliminate violence against women. On 20 December 1993 the United Nations General Assembly, adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women; and on 17th December 1999 it designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence of which 2011 theme is "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women." This annual campaign runs through International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Church World Service as an implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) for Protecting Urban Refugee through Empowerment Project has been holding a series of activities to raise awareness among refugees and asylum seekers.
More than a total of sixty refugees and asylum seekers as well as staff of CWS and UNHCR, gathered at CWS' Cipayung refugee center commemorating the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday, 25th November 2011. At the end of his speech, Madhav Raj Belbase, the UNHCR Indonesia's Head of Community Service, challenged the participants to make a commitment to end violence against women starting from home.
Rodiah, 17 -- a refugee from Somali said -- "We therefore must fight against these violations," on her video presentation displaying proves that women have important role in the world. "We want a society that respects women," she added.
The participants then were invited to make a drawing about their perception on world or home without violence. Everybody drew their perception on a piece of paper and put it onto house-shaped Styrofoam. Zamir -- a minor refugee from Afghanistan -- drew a "home-sweet-home" and a boat depicting refugee's struggle to reach a peaceful life without violence.
At the end of the event all participants were asked to make their commitment to create a home without violence against women on a piece of paper for them to keep. "Women can be your mother, sister, wife, aunt, niece, or cousin. Realizing that life is incomplete without women, so if we want to have peaceful and happy life we should be kind to women," Zamir pointed out. "I commit to ending violence against women," he stated.
In addition to the commemoration, CWS will also hold three times information session on sex and gender-based violence for female refugees from several different countries from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, and Somalia.