OUR story today, headlined “SYS kicking violence out”, in which the girl child rights advocate group, Shamwari Yemwanasikana (SYS) has embarked on a national wide campaign to educate communities against gender based violence, child marriages and sexual reproductive health rights.
The campaign will see issues to do with domestic violence being shunned publicly and this is one thing that needs to be encouraged in all communities.
The biggest problem about issues to do with domestic violence is that they affect children.
Since the January 5 lockdown, a lot of parents and guardians have been forced to live together for longer in the same locked-down environment.
With reduced income and increasing stress levels, a lot of disputes occur and sadly, children are now being found in the crossfire; especially the girl child who is being caught up in the violence.
As SYS say, “Some of these children are being subjected to the violence themselves and end up fleeing from their houses seeking refuge elsewhere or end up in the street.”
The gender based violence scourge is a worldwide problem.
Society has created this problem since time immemorial and to solve this problem, requires the entire human race to have a change of attitude.
The girl child is particularly at risk.
We all have a responsibility to fight for the rights of the girl child and to ensure that she does not continue to be a victim of social ills.
There is need to end the suffering, injustices and all sad realities being faced by the girl child – rape being chief among them.
How many children have access to education, health services, food, shelter . . . all their basic necessities?
How many women are enjoying all their rights as human beings?
We should look over the wall and see what our neighbours’ children keep crying over, it could be rape. Every adult should take it as their responsibility to “Eliminate Harmful Social and Cultural Practices affecting Children” around us and the government and law enforcement agents should step in and ensure that girls and women are always taken care of.
Every woman must be informed about and protected from rape, GBV and many other forms of violence they are subjected to.
Life is precious and we must do everything to safeguard not just our lives but the life of the next person as well.
Gender based violence comes in many forms and we must do our best to expose it so that policy makers act to bring it to a halt.
The girl child is the biggest victim and – alongside women – must be protected from the harmful effects of gender based violence.
We can do better as a people than to sit and watch our women and children being battered physically, verbally and emotionally in our neighbourhoods.
It is time to speak up.