Women in a skit/drama relaying messages of peace and justice and the harmful effects of War and conflicts.
The International Day for the elimination of Violence against women offers us a great opportunity to reflect upon the plight of the women whose daily lives are affected by violence and usually perpetrated by an intimate partner. According to a 2013 study from the World Health Organization (WHO), at least one in three women worldwide (35 percent) will experience physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime, usually at the hands of someone they know.
These numbers however staggeringly increase when we come to war affected or conflict ridden areas of the world. Despite various interventions by governments, regional bodies and local CSOs, We are bombarded by stories of abuse all over the media in all parts of the World. According to a survey we carried out in GBV prevention and response strategy, with support from ACF, in Otuke district, a region still recovering from the effects of the LRA war in Northern Uganda, 98% of women have heard of or witnessed GBV in their neighborhood while 71% of all women surveyed have experienced some form of GBV.
As a human rights organization, at AYINET, We strive to emphasize and demonstrate the values of gender equality and highlight the importance and contribution of women to our families and communities as a whole. While working in combatting gender based violence and enhancing economic empowerment of women in Northern Uganda, a post conflict community where even men were actively engaged, A man in Otuke district in Northern Uganda confesses,
“I was a serious perpetrator of violence before AYINET sensitized our community on GBV issues. I thought if I loosen up and become less tough, my family would not take me seriously and the children would end up getting spoilt. Instead, by being violent, I drove my children into the streets and my wife left me. I had to go and beg my wife to come back and when my children learnt about our reunion, they came back too. Now we are living peacefully”.
With support from USAID through SAFE (Supporting Access to Justice Fostering Equity and Peace) AYINET through community outreaches and trainings has empowered youth and women economically and this has contributed to reduce poverty which is a major cause of violence against women.
We cannot have peaceful communities without women inclusion and participation. The role of women in building peaceful communities in the region has been paramount.
Victor OCHEN at the UN Women International Symposium 2015