UN Women hosted an awareness programme on Monday 9 December, the second to last day of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, to generate discussion on violence against women and girls in the Solomon Islands.
UN Women Solomon Islands was grateful to have the support of all UN agencies in Solomon Islands for the Monday event.
During the Keynote address Akiko Suzaki, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, emphasised that “a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable world lies within our reach.
“The initiatives on ending violence against women and girls must be bold and ambitious, signaling transformational change relevant to all people and societies, and for both present and future generations”.
The awareness programme on Monday involved the screening of two UN Women documentaries on ending violence against women and girls in the Pacific.
Both documentaries look at how several Pacific Island organisations are working to deepen violence prevention work, as well as ways to go beyond awareness raising to specific initiatives designed to transform attitudes, practices or behaviours that may contribute to violence.
A dynamic presentation from the youth performance group Optivis (aka Optimistic Vision) brought to life the connections between violence in the home to instability in communities and globally.
The documentaries and performance inspired a panel discussion and question and answer session with the predominantly youth audience.
A key message raised by youth members in attendance was that there is a need for better understanding and awareness of what constitutes violence against women and girls.
Discussion also focused on the specific roles women, men and youth can play in ending violence in our communities including learning about gender based violence, raising awareness through schools, churches and community groups that violence against women and girls is never ok and encouraging violence free homes.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign has been an opportunity to showcase work that is happening in Solomon Islands to bring an end to violence against women and girls.
It has also been an opportunity to bring new people into conversations about how to continue and strengthen this work.
Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of United Nations has stated on the issues of the Violence against Women:
“We must unite. Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government.
“Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.
“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable”.
The UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign has suggested 16 things people can do to help end violence against women and girls.
These actions include, but extend well beyond, the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
- Tell people that violence against women and girls is never ok
- If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused, listen to and support her. Tell her there are people who want to help.
- Believe women when they tell you they’ve been raped or abused. Don’t ask about their behaviour and what they were wearing. Listen to what they say without judging them. Women never ask for nor deserve to be raped or abused!
- Learn about violence against women and what causes it. Your education is a tool to end it!
- Teach boys and young men about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Lead by example!
- Encourage and support those people in your community working to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
- Talk to family and community members about how violence and fear of violence affect the daily lives of women and girls. Talk about how you can support each other to help end violence.
- Make your home violence-free. Children who have witnessed or suffered from gender-based violence are more likely to become victims and abusers later in life.
- Raise your sons and daughters to be equal and teach them that there is nothing that boys can do that girls cannot
- Volunteer to work with violence against women and girls prevention programmes in your community!
- Share the decision making with women in your life. Discuss things with your partner and respect her opinions.
- If you are angry, count to 10 before reacting to something you hear or see.
- If a brother, friend, classmate or teammate is disrespectful to or is abusing a woman or a girl, do not look the other way—instead, find a way to talk about it with them. Remember that silence is affirming—when we choose not to speak out about violence against women, we are supporting it
- Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. Refer to women as equals and don’t use disrespectful words!
- Join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign for women girls, men and boys who want to speak out against violence against women and girls.
- Tell us (www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE or others) what you have done to stop violence against women and girls. We want to learn from your example!