‘One Billion Rising’ on Violence Against Women

“One in three women in the globe beaten or raped in her lifetime; that is one billion women violated. One billion mothers, daughters, sisters, lovers and friends. In this crucial day, women across the country gathering together, walk up, rise up and demand an end to violence against women. Additionally, women by joining in this day say NO to violence against women and girls”.

OBR ReportTherefore, today 14th February 2015, AWN has celebrated the global uprising or One billion rising (OBR) to end violence and sexual harassment against women and girls throughout the country. This event was held & celebrated simultaneously in 34 provinces Afghanistan. The AWN in collaboration of its regional office and member organisation was succeeded to held & celebrate this event throughout the country. The meeting has started with recitation of few verses of Holy Quran. And after that the national anthem was played.

At the meeting held in this occasion, first Mrs. Hasina Safi, AWN’s executive director through her opening remarks welcomed the guests and introduced the programme. She added, in earlier 2013, AWN has officially joined this day and celebrated one billion rising to end violence and sexual harassment against women and girls, and on that day, we called on one billion women & those who love them around the globe to come together and say NO to violence and sexual harassments against them.

Today, in Afghanistan women are being isolated and their human’s rights are being violated, and we must stop this; this happens only & only when both men and women stand together work shoulder to shoulder and demand an end to this phenomena. Finally, she thanked the donors and partners assistance in holding this occasion. She also made a special thanks to media for live coverage of the event.

Subsequently, Mrs. Muzhgan Mustafawi, deputy minister of women affairs said, this is being celebrated in Afghanistan while women are still subjected to violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault, which is really critical. For example, a 19 years pregnant woman has been gang raped in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan; also, an eighteen years old daughter was raped and killed in Takhar province – that all these show the increment of violence and sexual harassment against women. She also, roughly read the figures of violence of the year 1392 and said; the MOWA will present the exact figures of violence and sexual harassments in the beginning of the year 1394.

But despite of all the challenges persist before women and girls, we are still happy that now, the mentality of the people over all is being changed, and people are visiting the MOWA and keeping us informed about the cases have been occurred in their region. She added, one of the worst traditions among people is high bride price which forces the boy to step into the illegal activities. Additionally, special thanks to merchants those who helped us in holding group marriages, and also thanks to AWN for arranging and leading this ceremony and thanked the media for revealing the cases.

Mrs. Anarkali Hunaryar, senator of the upper house talked about effects and consequences of harassment on women; in the community women are still being harassing verbally or sexually which is really annoying “said Anarkaly”. I’m the witness of a case which a daughter was being sexually harassed by her father, and I saw the patches of sexual harassment in her body while investigating the  issue at forensic – the most safes place for human being is his/her own home; and if we are not secure in our home than how we could be secure in the society, and this is not something new, and it doesn’t mean that these issues have not been exist before; it happened before, but not revealed. For this purpose, we should work hard for eradicating this phenomenon and create a secure environment for us.

Mr. Meyagul, head of the political, social and cultural of government administration affairs also, talked about Government proceedings for solving this social issue and said; the national unity government is somehow aware of the challenges & harassment before women, and has important proceedings in their hands, and we have prioritised the women issue on the top of our government future proceedings. Women are the half part of the community and same as men they have equal rights and duties in the community. For instance, they have right to work, study, and vote – and they play key role in development of the country.

Mr. Sharif, Holy Quran instructor at AYARAN School spoke on Islamic quote about violence against women. “The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” The Quran emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile” so, in keeping with the above-mentioned Quote (HADITH) it’s clearly determined that in Islam there is no difference between men and women, and both are equal, so we should not only demand an end to violence against women; but we should demand an end to violence against human being.

In addition, Mrs. Hawa Alam Nooristani, commissioner of human rights commission pointed to Harassment on women from human’s right perspective, and said; increment of violence, verbal & sexual harassment against women is really worrying and we are trying to find the solutions. Though we have had progresses, but still we are trying to work and put an end to all types of violence against women.

Subsequently, Solutions for eradication of harassment on women was presented by Mrs. Samira Hamidi, Board member of the AWN. She thanked the AWN for giving her the chance of speech and continued; all women and girls throughout the country including me are not secure in the community and streets. For instance, when I walk in the street I don’t feel secure, and sometimes being harassed verbally and the people still have negative mentality toward women; but we should seek the solutions so, I call on the young generation, both male and female, that through the social webs (Twitter & Facebook) we should institutionalise the culture of equality and strongly tackle against all type of violence and harassment against women.

Subsequently, Mrs. Roshan Mashal, Networking Manager of the AWN was read out the press statement;

Press release

Date: 14/02/2015 Kabul Afghanistan
Afghan Women Join the Global One-Billion Rising Campaign to Support Action to Access to their Rights

Afghanistan joined the global uprising – One Billion Rising (OBR) Campaign in 2013, in a show of allegiance and support for women victims of physical, sexual, and other forms of violence. An estimated one out of every three women around the world experiences some kind of physical or sexual violence during their lifetime, and the ‘One Billion’ represents the estimated number of victims.

In Afghanistan, the OBR campaign is spearheaded by civil society groups and organizations engaged in advocacy for women’s rights and prevention of all kinds of violence and discrimination against them. As the lead network of organizations and individuals working for women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Afghan Women’s Network and its members throughout the country will observe the OBR campaign to protest violence against women in Afghanistan, and to express solidarity with all women in the world fighting similar injustices.

Women in Afghanistan and civil society groups are concerned about violence targeting women, including sexual harassment and physical violence, especially in the context to the recent unchecked increase in incidence of such crimes. We therefore use this opportunity to remind the new government to undertake appropriate strategies to tackle this problem for one half of the population of Afghanistan – Afghan women – who are at constant risk of harm.

On behalf of the Afghan civil society organizations, we demand that the national unity government take immediate concrete steps that ensure women’s safety and freedom as citizens, to enable them to attain their rights.
We propose the following steps:

1. to document and fallow up cases of violence and sexual harassment against women at the work place, educational institutions, in public places, and other places where they may be exposed to such risk;
2. To establish a committee to oversee appropriate response to violence and sexual harassment against women within the framework of the presidential office, which function directly under the supervision of the president or his designee, and involves the participation of the women rights activists;

3. To create a national strategy to combat violence and sexual harassment against women and enhance the role of government and nongovernment organizations, particularly the Ministries of Hajj, Higher Education, Information and Culture and the Ministry of Public Health, to strengthen the fight against violence and sexual harassment.

4. To conduct public awareness campaigns, and press conferences in order to alter public opinion in this regard;
5. To implement the terms of the law on elimination of violence against women more effectively;
6. To engage media organizations to include issues related to sexual harassment and violence against women in their programming, as a working priority

Finally, the event was ended by closing remarks of Mrs. Shahla Farid board member of the AWN.

Read full report HERE.