By Stephanie Mooney
Violence against women and girls is one of the most devastating and widespread human rights violations in the world today. Sadly, it usually goes unreported due to the impunity, stigma and shame surrounding it.
Sunday 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The day marks the start of 16 days of ‘Activism against Gender Based Violence’, a global campaign that has run for over 25 years to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls.
At HCR, we seek to provide a media platform for women and communities to share stories and experiences in order to stimulate positive change. In honour of the brave women that we have met, over the next 16 days we will share stories from women and communities that show how they are responding to the challenges of discrimination, stigmatisation, abuse and marginalisation. We will look at how women and communities are seeking to change cultural norms and perceptions of women’s identity - how we can be and what we can do and achieve as women.
This year, as I have travelled to different parts of the world, I have met with strong and remarkable women who have been affected by violence and who are advocating for the protection of women and girls. These women are horrified at the level of abuse that is ignored by their communities – often because it is accepted as the norm and seen as ‘just the way it is’. There are numerous women trapped in violent situations and who feel unable to speak out, living in fear, shame and silence.
Progress is being made, but UN figures are still reporting that one in three women experience gender-based violence. Violence against women is a global issue and in each programme that HCR is involved with worldwide, this has been raised as an issue that needs to be talked about and addressed.