Rape is an intolerable cost to society, it destroys bodies and minds and puts peace in jeopardy.
When left unpunished or trivialized, it creates a pervasive culture where sexual violence is normalized, women and girls are undervalued, and entire communities and nations are left fractured.
Too many of us fail to name or challenge the rape culture that surrounds us.
Through words, actions and inactions; discriminatory laws or leniency towards perpetrators; through the media we consume, jokes we laugh at, and attitudes we do not question, we become part of a culture that allows rape to continue.
Our silence and tolerant attitude towards rape and domestic violence is getting it normalized in today’s male dominated chauvinistic society where a larger portion of our society has well carved personal beliefs and cultural practices into religious beliefs, thus marginalizing, discriminating, oppressing and torturing women in the defense of religious and cultural beliefs.
Although in recent years, the voices of activists and survivors through several movements, publications, Media outlets etc have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, violence against women and girls continues in every country.
One in three women are impacted by this violence; 15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced forced sex.
Last year, few gender rights movements in Sierra Leone undertook 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, few months after that, we had the Hands off our girls campaign launched by the first lady, Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio, and then another full force; Black Tuesday led by one of BBC’s 100 most influential Women around the world, Madam Asmaa James.
It was few weeks after these developments we experienced rape at it’s highest peak in the post war Sierra Leone with a more devastating narrative where four, six and nine month babies were sexually abused.
Across the world and in different contexts, women and girls universally experience rape, sexual violence, and abuse. From university campuses to armed conflicts, their voices and stories have reached a crescendo that can no longer be ignored or silenced. It’s time to take a stand to dismantle rape culture in our societies.
Small actions can make big impacts to stamp out rape culture.
For women, the fear of violence is an everyday reality. Whether it’s on their way to work, at home or anywhere in between; women carry a heavy burden—physically, emotionally and financially—to feel safe
As the United Nations Secretary General has called on the world to Unite to End Violence Against Women, let us orange the world. It can start with you; Never hit a woman. Don’t rape one, No, don’t abuse them.
Respect, love and care for them, protect them always.
Break the silence, talk about it, report violence against women and girls.
Engage your peers on the need to end violence against women and girls.
That’s the best form of activism we can use in today’s generation to acquire a free and safe society for all.
Let us change the traditional form of activism and be more practical and realistic.
I want to specially thank and appreciate the relentless efforts of Women around the world who’s voices have gone thousand miles in the fight for an equal world, one safe and free for all; Malala Yousafzai, Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio, Madam Asmaa James etc.