VIOLENCE against women is a global problem and it requires global action, says Socialist Party president Fred M’membe.
Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marked day one of the 16 Days of Activism.
Each year, from November 25 to December 10, the World Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for action against one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights – violence against women.
During the 16 Days of Activism, the Socialist Party, according to Dr M’membe, unites with people around the world to raise awareness about gender-based violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and struggle for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.
“Violence against women is a global problem and it requires global action. To end violence against women, we need to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalise and normalise that violence, and deny women’s right to safety,” Dr M’membe said in a statement issued on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party, from Mwika Royal Village in Chinsali, Muchinga Province. “Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence. To see violence truly eliminated, the attitudes of men need to change.”
He stated that shifting such behaviours was hard and slow, but that gender equality meant that everyone, “and working with all genders is the only way to see true change.”
“Violence against women is not inevitable; it is preventable,” Dr M’membe stated.
He stated that this year the Socialist Party joins the world to campaign for improving of informal women workers – domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, agricultural workers, waste-pickers, and sex workers.
Dr M’membe stated that the lives and livelihoods of the aforementioned have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic crisis that ensued.
He stressed that violence against women continued to occur at an alarming scale in Zambia and: “indeed in every country in the world.”
“Too often it is accepted as normal behaviour and the global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur with impunity,” stated Dr M’membe.
On November 25, 1960, sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal; three political activists who actively opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, were clubbed to death and dumped at the bottom of a cliff by Trujillo’s secret police.
The Mirabal sisters became symbols of the feminist resistance, and in commemoration of their deaths, November 25 was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Latin America in 1980.
This day was formally recognised by the United Nations in 1999.
In June 1991, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), alongside participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The 16 days begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends with International Human Rights Day on December 10 – highlighting that violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.