“Violence Against Women Must Stop” …
These were the words of Human Rights Commissioner, Madam Jamestina King on International Human Rights Day, 10th December 2012 at the Seafarer’s Welfare Complex, Lower Savage Square, off Fourah Bay Road, Freetown.
The theme for the day’s celebration was ‘’From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World, Let’ Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women,’’ with the concept note, 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence,’’ which started November 25th and ended December 10th this year.
Whilst delivering her speech, Jemestina noted that the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence is an international campaign that was started by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. She added that the 16 days run from 25 November, (International Day against violence against Women) to December 10, (International Human Rights Day), symbolizing the link against violence of women and human rights, and emphasizing that such violence is a violation of human rights.
She maintained, that the 16 day period captured significant dates such as World AIDS Day on December 1st; adding that since they began the activism it has been used as an organizing strategy by Women’s groups in calling for an end to gender-based violence, mostly against women, through raising awareness over this serious human rights issue that has garnered weight at local, national, and international levels by strengthening work to end violence against women.
She further added that gender-based violence is a universal reality existing in all societies regardless of economic status, class, culture or diversity, saying that so many women have in one way or another become a victim of this issue. She said back home it is a parochial problem as the society is patriarchal in nature, which suppresses woman from achieving their maximum potential and compromises their physical and psychological integrity.
By Mary I Kamara & Emma Black
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