As we observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women today, November 24, it is crucial to recognize the multifaceted nature of violence that women and girls endure.
This day marks the commencement of the UNiTE campaign, an ambitious initiative spanning 16 days of activism and concluding on International Human Rights Day (December 10). The theme for this year’s campaign, “Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls,” urges citizens to demonstrate their commitment to ending gender-based violence and encourages governments worldwide to showcase their investments in prevention strategies.
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, established by the UN General Assembly in 1993, provides a comprehensive definition of violence against women. It encompasses any gender-based act leading to physical, sexual, or psychological harm, including threats, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Often, discussions surrounding the eradication of violence against women primarily focus on physical harm. Today, however, we aim to draw attention to a form of violence that is frequently overlooked—the plight of women left to raise their children alone, devoid of any support from the men who fathered them. This lack of emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, and financial support represents a form of psychological harm inflicted upon both the woman and her fatherless children.
The consequences of such neglect are profound and extend beyond immediate circumstances. Children raised without the active involvement of their fathers may grapple with a myriad of challenges, including emotional and psychological issues. The absence of paternal support leaves a void that can impact the overall well-being of these young lives.
Addressing this aspect of violence against women requires a collective effort to challenge societal norms and promote responsible fatherhood. Governments and communities must invest in programs that foster gender equality, encourage shared parenting responsibilities, and provide support mechanisms for single mothers. Education and awareness campaigns are essential to dismantle stereotypes and expectations that perpetuate this form of neglect.
On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let us pledge to broaden our understanding of gender-based violence. By recognizing and addressing the psychological harm inflicted upon women and fatherless children, we take a significant step toward building a society where every individual, regardless of gender, can thrive free from the shackles of violence and inequality. It is time to invest not only in prevention strategies but also in the creation of a world where the inherent dignity of every woman and girl is respected and protected.