On Friday 25th November 2022, a sea of orange took over the streets of Chiang Khong to spread awareness of the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 days of activism, also known as The Orange Days, that follow.
What is VAWG?
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most prevalent issues in today’s society. This does not only include physical and sexual violence, but also less overt forms such as mental, emotional, and economical violence. The primary driver of VAWG is the patriarchal society that the majority of the globe still remains in. As a result of the deeply-ingrained, unequal, stereotypical gender norms surrounding women and girls that continue to exist, their weaknesses are assumed, and they are consequentially taken advantage of.
How Can We Eliminate VAWG?
The first step to eliminating VAWG is to spread awareness of this issue. Although worldwide advocacy has slowly improved the situation throughout recent years, the current statistics demonstrate that it is still not enough.
- In 2021, around 45,000 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members.
- Approximately one in three women have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life.
- Around 92% of sex trafficking victims and survivors are females.
Greater awareness of VAWG means that there is greater funding to support organizations and efforts to eliminate it. It also lends support to survivors of VAWG, reminding them that they are never alone, and empowers more people, regardless of gender, to speak up about the issue. This will begin to break down the taboo, stigma, and shame that surround VAWG, which has acted as a somewhat shield to hide the issue.
Raising awareness of VAWG can begin now. 16 days of activism started on the 25th of November 2022 and will continue until the 10th of December 2022. Throughout these 16 days, you can commit to sharing information far and wide about VAWG, including how to recognize the signs, how we can end it, and what a future without VAWG looks like.
What Center For Girls Are Doing?
To kick-start, our Orange Days at Center for Girls, banners, posters, flags, and balloons paraded the street between the Chiang Khong Teak Garden and the Chiang Khong District Office, a 1-kilometer stretch, on the morning of 25 November 2022. Local women groups, ethnic groups, and fellow supporters joined us in waking up the streets of Chiang Khong to the issue of VAWG. This was followed by a half-day event where local leaders and activists spoke up and spoke out about what can be done.
Our 16 days continue online, with our social media channels sharing some new insight every day, ranging from messages from our Chiang Khong local representatives to information about what can be done by you to end VAWG once and for all.
For VAWG to end and for women and girls to be treated fairly, equally, and with dignity, it requires a global joint effort. We all need to take a stand to address this issue seriously and with force. Only then can all women and girls around the world be safe from all forms of violence and be able to live positive lives that are controlled by no one but themselves.
– Cheryl Li
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