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Violence Against Women!!!!!!

Author: Women Empowerment Rights
Posted to the web: 12/9/2005 4:34:33 PM

November 25 has been marked as the International Day for
Elimination of Violence Against Women by women activists
worldwide. This day is marked with the brutal assassination, in
1961, of the three Mirabal sisters who were political activists in
 the Dominican Republic. The Mirabal sisters are a symbol of resistance
 against the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic then. Since 1981
women's activists have celebrated this day as the International Day for
Elimination of Violence Against Women to gain momentum and solidarity
 in their struggle against violence against women.


The Right to be free from violence has been recognised as a human
right in several international human rights conventions and treaties.
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women,
1993 asserts that violence against women is a manifestation of power
 relations and “is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women
are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.” Beijing
Platform for Action (BPFA), which was adopted in 1995, reiterates
 the responsibility of all governments to “take integrated measures to
prevent and eliminate violence against women.” The 189 nations that
adopted the Platform for Action committed themselves to developing
comprehensive programmes to end gender-based violence.


However, violence against women continues to be the reality of
women’s lives even today. It is an endemic problem that knows
no national boundaries, no cultural boundaries, no class or caste
boundaries and no religious boundaries. Violence against women
continues to be perpetrated by men, by women, by trans-national
actors and by the state. It continues unabated in situations of armed
conflict and in times of peace. It continues to takes place outside and
inside the home.


The current climate of repression and criminalisation of human rights
work has increased violence against women and the threat of such violence.
Within this context, women have become more vulnerable to violence,
especially in militarised areas, and as displaced persons. At the same time,
 in this era of neo-liberal economic globalisation, private actors (including
 multinational and transnational corporations) are also becoming more
unbridled in their war for profit, plundering natural resources and violating
 people’s rights in the process.
When states fail to provide protections, they hold responsibility for the
abuse. Such failure on the part of the state is clear in the case of
Madam Tina Osayande as recorded by Women Empowerment
Rights (W.E.R). From the moment Tina Osayande married a traditional
chief at the age of 16, she was subjected to intense abuse, and all her
efforts to get help were unsuccessful. Her husband raped her repeatedly,
attempted to forcibly abort their pregnancy by kicking her in the spine,
dislocated her jaw, tried to cut her hands off with a machete, kicked her
 in the vagina, and used her head to break windows. He terrified her by
bragging about using his power to kill innocent civilians with impunity.
Even though many of the attacks took place in public, the police failed
to help her in any way. After she made a complaint, her husband ignored
 three citations without consequence. Furthermore, the courts refused to
grant her a divorce without her husband's permission. This is a common
scenario also in Nigeria.She was forcefully married to this traditional chief against her wishes
and even the wishes of her family. She was compelled to respect
traditional norms which were against her Christian belief. On several
occassion she avoided her Vagina Mutilation. Tired of this violation,
 she planned her escape and ran away. Instead of getting the state
support, she was arrested, intimidated and detained so as to protect
the identity of the powerful traditional chief that was involved. Upon
escape from detention, she went missing and was never to be found.
 A popular lagos based proponent of Gender Equality took up this
case but the case was never investigated!  States have a duty under international law to take positive
measures to prohibit and prevent torture and to respond to instances
of torture, regardless of where it takes place or whether the perpetrator
 is an agent of the state or a private individual. When states fail to take
 the basic steps needed to protect women from domestic violence
or allow these crimes to be committed with impunity, states are
failing in their obligation to protect women from torture.In the past, violence against women, particularly violence occurring in
 the home or between intimate partners, was viewed as a private matter,
 not as an issue of civil or political rights. Now however, by applying the
 legally accepted definitions of torture to the violence that women face
everyday around the world, the international community has explicitly
 recognized violence against women as a human rights violation involving
state responsibilityActs of violence against women constitute torture when they are of the
nature and severity envisaged by the concept of torture and the state
 has failed to provide effective protection. Violence in the home is a
global epidemic. Without exception, women's greatest risk of violence
is from someone she knows. Domestic violence is a violation of a woman's
 rights to physical integrity, to liberty, and all too often, to her right to life,
itself. And when a government fails to provide effective protection from
such abuse, domestic violence is torture.The legal concept of due diligence describes the minimum acceptable
level of effort which a state must undertake to fulfill its responsibility to
 protect individuals from abuses of their rights. Due diligence includes
taking effective steps to prevent abuses, to investigate them when they
 do occur, to prosecute the alleged perpetrator and bring him to justice
in fair proceedings, and to ensure adequate reparation, including
compensation and redress. It also means ensuring that justice is upheld
 without discrimination of any kind. In various measures of this standard,
 in many countries of the world, states are failing in their due diligence and
failing to protect women from violence. The failure of a government to prohibit acts of violence against women,
or to establish adequate legal protections against such acts, constitutes
a failure of state protection.

As we approach the year 2006, it is time we as a society, say: 'No more,and never again.' If we commit ourselves to creating a world free of violence, our children will only say we stopped the most universal and unpunished crime of all time against half the people of the earth.

We should renew our commitment to fight for a live free of violence.
 Women should continue to articulate zero tolerance to any form of
violence—whether in the name of culture, by non-state actors or
oppressively, by State actors. Today, we are calling for a world free
 of violence. I will like to commemorate all the women who have fought
against this endemic violation of women’s human rights. As we celebrate
the survivors of violence against women, we must also remember those
who died as victims of Violence Against Women, VAW.

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