It’s ‘End Violence Against Women Day’: Heads Up and Smile For The Close-Up

By Hanar Marouf:

They say it is the international day  for the elimination of violence against women. They say it is one of the days when positive energy is required from women to prove their existence and defeat violence. They say it is a day when leaders propose new plans and promises to the society. Well, they say a lot, but what about the previous or the following day! Every day women die because of violence while others are victims of sexual harassment, genital mutilation and rape. The World Health Organization has stated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. No day goes by without reports of violence against women. I do not know whether to laugh or to cry on such a day, a day that it is no different from any other, except that we hear big words, immense pledges, and gentility from everyone.

In Kurdistan the situation is not distinctive at all: we live on the same planet, however the focus on the issues facing women here is limited. How many of you know that girls in most of the villages have no access to primary schools? How many of you are conscious of the massive proliferation of child marriage? How many of you know that most women in the villages have faced polygamy? How many of you have heard about female genital mutilation and its practices in Kurdistan? Oh, and what about all the types of violence that women face? We are not different, however some city people think that Kurdistan is a heaven when it comes to women’s issues. Laws and punishments can never bring a change to a society; it is the mindset of every future offender that must change so that he sees his own sister or mother in his prospective victim! Work every day – leaders, activists, NGOs and youths – instead of waiting for next year’s celebration.

Hanar Marouf is a human rights activist based in Suli and an MA student in Politics and International Relations.

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