The global community Sunday observed the 2018 international Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women themed: “Orange the World: #HearMeToo,” focused on raising awareness the world over on the fact that women and girls were being subject to persistent human rights violations including rape, domestic violence, slavery, human trafficking amongst others.
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Violence against women and girls (VAWG) which manifests in various forms – physical, sexual and psychological – remains one of the most devastating human rights violations in the world today and largely goes unreported partly due to stigma and culture of shame surrounding it.
“We still do not know the true extent of violence against women, as the fear of reprisals, impact of not being believed, and the stigma borne by the survivor – not the perpetrator – have silenced the voices of millions of survivors of violence and masked the true extent of women`s continued horrific experiences,” said Phumzile Mlamba-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women in her message on this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, 2018.
This year`s theme: “Orange the World: #HearMeToo,” marks the launch of 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence which runs from 25 November International Day for the Elimination Violence against Women to 10 December Human Rights Day, and aims to honor and further amplify the voices of women that have survived any form of gender-based violence.
“…One of them carried me to a nearby bush; he cut some banana leaves and placed on the ground, ripped my clothes off and started raping me. They raped me in turn for many hours. I was bleeding everywhere,” writes Emmanuella Zandi Mudheriwa, 21, a rape survivor, from Democratic Republic of Congo.
One in 3 women and girls worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime most frequently by an intimate partner according to the United Nations. “71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited,” said the UN.