Violence against women and girls is a fact that crosses all boundaries across the world. Research shows that nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime mostly by their intimate partner. During the COVID pandemic these numbers have increased – 2 in 3 women – as domestic violence has been on the rise.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most persistent and widespread human rights violation in the world. Whether physically, sexually, emotionally or verbally women and girls are intimidated, harassed, exploited and killed when they speak out. Young girls, older women, refugees, women of minorities, women with disabilities and women with gender issues are more easily manipulated.
However, women and girls all around the world must be able to talk and need to be heard instead of having their voice silenced.
Education is, in my opinion, the most significant key to this scourge. And we, parents, play a major role in educating our children both girls and boys. Because it’s not only girls that need to know they have equal rights to boys; it’s also boys that need to learn that respect, equality and development applies to both genders.
Violence begins at home. Children mirror our behavior. When children watch their father being abusive to their mother and their mother staying silent in this relationship they get the message; the wrong message. And they will repeat it as victimizers and victims.
So it is imperative that we, as parents but also as teachers and authorities, educate our girls, our daughters first. We need to teach them what true love really is:
Love is all about giving the space to the other person to grow and evolve and to support them even when we may not agree with their choices.
Love, real love, should not hurt or harm us in any way.
Love should not make us do something against our will.
Love should not make us feel dirty or guilty.
Love should not imprison us. On the contrary, it gives us wings to fly.
Love includes respect.
Love is a beautiful, warm feeling; not one we want to run away from.
There is no prosperity or growth unless we end violence against girls and women. Let’s educate our girls – and boys – so as not to have violence as a continuous obstacle to equality and development. Let’s start talking and make our voices heard.
- November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women