Girl Planting seeds

Ending Violence Against Women-With The Help Of Our Men

march_home1By Deirdre Imus, 3/2/15
There has never been a more critical moment for women - mothers, sisters, daughters, friends – to have each other’s backs. Around the world, every single day, hundreds of millions of girls and women retain the physical and emotional wounds of physical violence, sexual trafficking, genital mutilation, and rape. These despicable actions leave scars, some that we can see, many more that we cannot.

Other girls and women – roughly 60 million – are routinely denied access to education, a basic human right. This affects their lives in countless ways, not least of which by sharply limiting future opportunities for success across generations. It is a perpetual cycle of suppression, and one that is very difficult to reverse.
These are complex, endemic problems that are often deemed beyond reproach, or overlooked by people who think they are powerless to help. After all, those problems are far away and happening somewhere else.
What can the rest of us do – those of us deeply concerned for the welfare of our fellow mothers, sisters and daughters?
We can march.
This Sunday, March 8, UN Women for Peace will hold its annual March in March To End Violence Against Women. If you'll be in New York City, sign up to join an amazing group of women, led by Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek, the wife of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Patron of UN Women for Peace. Help raise awareness of the injustices being done to women around the world in the name of culture, tradition or plain old evil.
Abuse has lasting consequences on a woman's well-being, and this burden often carries over to her family. A 2013 survey found that survivors of domestic abuse were 20 percent more likely to experience a chronic health condition compared with women who said they'd never been abused. These survivors reported experiencing low back pain; chronic headaches; arthritis; depression; diabetes; asthma; digestive disease; and elevated rates of impaired brain, immune or endocrine system dysfunction. Violence toward women is not finite; its consequences persist, and not only for the survivors.
The theme of this year’s March in March is “Men to End Violence Against Women.” Never have male voices been more necessary in this battle against brutality. We're not raised by strangers. When a child witnesses abuse in their home, community, tribe, or culture, they believe it is the norm. Hitting, raping, or mutilating women is accepted – and expected – in certain places around the world. This behavior perpetuates for generations, until nothing else is known. Learning how to demean, demoralize and deeply wound women is ingrained in boys from a young age if they are never taught otherwise.
We need to show them what strong, empowered, free women – and the men who proudly support them – look like. We need to march together for each other, and for the countless women around the world we'll never meet but whose freedom and independence is as vital as our own. We need to stop the cycle of violence before it starts, in big cities like New York and in remote villages in the Congo.
If you can't attend the March in March, you can still take action by joining the UN Women for Peace mailing list, or,attend the annual awards luncheon on Friday, March 6.  Join the ranks of inspiring women already fighting this important battle, and educate yourself on the unfortunate realities many women face every single day. Until the voices for peace outnumber the perpetrators of violence, our work will never be done.
March is Women's History Month. As we recall the magnificent accomplishments of the legions of women who have come before, let us strive for our own incredible feat, and make violence against women history.
For more information on UN Women for Peace and the event, click here
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