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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

~ A Message From Dr. Lauryn Oates, CW4WAfghan Programs Director

Violence against women is a pervasive blight, stealing lives, destroying families, and destabilizing communities. It holds women back from reaching their full potential, and it conveys a message to girls that their lives and bodies are less valuable, and more vulnerable. It is a form of violence so corrosive that it harms both individuals and whole societies simultaneously. This point was made by gender and security researcher Valerie Hudson who points out in the seminal Sex and World Peace that “gender inequality is a form of violence that creates a generalized context of violence and exploitation at the society level.”  In other words, when women face violence at the household level, such violence is reflected in social norms that reach the social and even the state level. Structural violence is based on cultural violence – open or implicit violence in private spheres.

The implications of this are clear: if you want a peaceful society, you have to transform relations between men and women to eliminate violence. 

There have been many wins in the fight against violence against women, and an increasingly loud conversation happening globally about the extent of the problem, and its consequences. It's a problem spoken about openly today in countries like Canada, leading to greater awareness, and to action. We have a better idea of the problem we face. But that problem is immense. Hudson has also pointed out that  “more lives are lost through violence against women from sex-selective abortion, female infanticide, suicide, egregious maternal mortality, and other sex-linked causes than were lost during all the wars and civil strife of the 20th century.” So while there has been progress, it falls short of responding to the scale of the problem.

We need to fight violence against women every day, but this day, November 25th, should serve as an occasion to explicitly remind ourselves how much there is left to do, and all that the world loses – in rights, wealth, peace and security – as long as women and girls continue to face gender-based violence systemically. 

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

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