#HearMeToo: What is the Campaign?
Ms Kaukab Jehan
“Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Orange the World: #HearMeToo is the theme for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign of 2018.
November 25, the UN designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, marks the beginning of the 16 days of activism every year.The campaign culminates on 10 December, which is the Human Rights Day.
These 16 Days of Activism are a time for right activists, organizations, governments and the common public to join hands and renew the collective resolve to end violence against women and girls around the world.
The dates of beginning and closing of 16 Days of activism campaign represent the link between violence against women and human rights. Activists use these two weeks to strengthen the concept that violence against women is a violation of human rights.
Let’s not forget here that it took several years of efforts by women right activists and NGOs to get it recognized that “women’s rights are human rights” and that, violations of women’s rights, particularly violence against women, were not simply private acts outside the purview of the state, but constituted violations of human rights under international law.
In 1993, the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna formally recognized violence against women as a human rights violation and one year later the UN appointed the first Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.
Each year during 16 days of activism governments, international organizations and NGOs organize activities to raise public awareness about gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence affects not only individuals but the entire families and societies. It also affects economies of countries. The adverse psychological, sexual and health consequences of violence affect women and girls at all stages of their life. Whether it is domestic violence or targeting women at workplace or in public places or violence in schools or on the way to school for girls it disrupts peace in the society and hampers development and prosperity.
The theme this year, #HearMeToo, is an initiative to draw attention to and highlight the voices and activism of survivors and advocates of gender-based violence, activists and women human rights defenders. This is the campaign to showcase stories and solutions of the survivors that are usually suppressed out of fear of backlash or disbelief by the people around.
On the 16 days of activism, let’s once again join the worldwide campaign against gender-based violence taking the message to the people and the decision-makers at all levels.
#HearMeToo is to give voice to and express solidarity with all those who suffered violence and remained unheard.
Gender-based violence must be eliminated from the society.
MS Kaukab Jehan is the Executive Director of Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA)-Pakistan.