VIOLENCE Against Women or VAW, also known as gender-based violence, pertains to violent acts primarily committed against women or girls. Across the globe, one out of three women experience some form of violence, most often physical and sexual. The immediate and long-term impact that violence has on women is devastating. Violence against women has mental and physical consequences, but it can prevent women from fully living their lives or finding a place of acceptance in society.
To create a community free from violence against women, we must all do our part. Despite laws existing to protect women, it’s up to each and every person of all ages to stand up to VAW and ensure women everywhere can live safely, happily, and free from violence.
This is my voice for the anti-VAW community. Violence against women is one of the gravest violations of human rights.
To promote female empowerment, women must know their rights and realize they deserve equal treatment, free from violence.
As a woman, you have the right to say no to a man.
As a woman, you can have a voice, even if it is to express an unpopular opinion.
As a woman, you are equal to man.
Women must appreciate themselves. Know your rights, embrace your equality, and don’t be afraid. If you have experienced violence or know someone who has, reach out to people who can help.
Men, do your part
Violence against women will not stop without men making changes, too. Past patterns lead to future problems, so being active in preventing violence against women is imperative.
But it is more than just being non-violent yourself. Men must promote a society of equality. This is critical. When your friends joke about women, let them know it isn’t OK. If someone is catcalling a girl or making derogatory remarks, do your part to stop it.
Without men taking an active part, the violence will not stop.
Society, teach our children
The lessons we teach our children today are the values that they will hold tomorrow. As a society, we have to teach our children to value women and see the world through the lens of equality.
Parents, teach your children that everyone is equal. Uncles, tell your nephews how to properly treat a girl. Aunts, empower your nieces to be strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves.
Whether you are a brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, you can do your part to teach those around you that violence is unacceptable.
Together we can end violence against women
It will not be easy, and change will not happen right away, but the sooner we get started, the sooner we can make a difference. If you are a woman who has experienced violence, take control of your life, and speak out. If you are a man, make a change and advocate for others to do so as well. Be a positive role model. No matter what your position is in society, do your part to stop the violence.
Together we can create a VAW-free community and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of women across the globe.
The author is a teacher at Northern Marianas International School.