|International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women|
The YCW Calls for Action Against Violence Aimed at Women
The IYCW is calling on all national movements around the world to build awareness of women's rights, and to take action that will empower women to achieve equality and participate fully in action for social justice.
This is an issue very close to the heart of Geethani Peries, the international president of YCW. As a national worker in Sri Lanka, as a regional coordinator in the Asia-Pacific and now as international president, she has experienced at first hand what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
‘I have met many women who have experienced violence – not only physical violence, but also mental and psychological violence from men who believe that they are superior to women and who dishonour them in word and action,’ says Ms Peries.
The Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic are for Geethani Peries a symbol of resistance against all forms of violence against women. On 25 November 1960, the sisters were violently assassinated in what was described as an "accident”. This accident caused much public outcry, and shocked and enraged the nation, helping to bring to an end the Trujillo dictatorship. Today, millions of women in the world are still vulnerable to crime in public or at home, and it is this vulnerability that the YCW is determined to highlight in its resistance to violence in all its forms. It has many examples from around the world that illustrate this.
“Shazia, a 12-year-old girl who worked as a maid in Lahore, Pakistan, was brutally tortured and killed by the family of her employer. Shazia worked for 7 months in the house and received a wage of Rs 1000 per month. Every day before her death, she suffered physical and sexual torture at the hands of her employer.”
Nadeem Bashir, president of the YCW Pakistan
“My name is Migalina and I’m 19 years old. I'm working as a domestic worker in Asuncion, Paraguay. I came from the countryside. Because of my family situation I couldn't continue my studies. It was very hard in the house I worked before. I had to get up very early and do all the cooking, cleaning, and take care the children. If I didn’t do my work on time or made a simple mistake, they abused me. I didn’t have any off day and I had to work as a slave. Some of my friends who are working as domestic workers often face sexual harassment, but they can't talk to anyone.”
“As working women, my friends and I often experience sexual abuse both within and outside the factory. There is no security system that protects us. We must guard ourselves so as not to become victims of sexual abuse. I do not feel the government service is protecting people from sexual crimes.”
Rashmi, garment worker, Sri Lanka
In the face of all the stories shared by its workers, the IYCW is using this day to urge its members to call on governments to fulfil their responsibility to respect, protect and nurture the rights of women. It reminds its members of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution of 20 December 1993, and of the resolution of 12 December 1997 of the UN General Assembly called “The Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Measures to Eliminate Violence Against Women.”
There are in addition numerous other statements condemning violence against women:
The IYCW urges every government to provide full protection to women workers against all injustice and violence. These range from physical or sexual abuse and torture to the denial of work opportunities or positions of leadership because of gender. Governments should be urged to take measures also to assist in the recovery of victims and their families, as well as to provide legal protection and security to all women in their countries.
‘It must be done NOW,’ insists Ms Peries. ‘At all levels of YCW and in every country around the world we must continue to insist on the equality of women and men, and to do all we can to achieve this in our workplaces, our homes and throughout our world.’
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