The theme for this year’s campaign on ending gender based violence is very much connected with “peace from the home to peace in the world.” And this brings to mind, the popular and wise adage ‘charity begins at home’. The home, which in turn implies family is the smallest unit of society. The truth many aren’t so aware of is the reality that whatever goes on the larger society didn’t just start at that level, it must have started somewhere in the home and then moved to a group of friends, from there it gets replicated in the society, then the whole community, state, and then of course, the entire nation.
Peace in the real sense of it doesn’t primarily start from home, it starts from within – from each individual. We must note that whatever a person doesn’t have, he certainly cannot give. In the same light, violence in any form, doesn’t start from outside it starts from within. The mind ruminates over violent thoughts before it certainly translates them into violent actions.
If in the 21st century, some still subject women and children to violence, it is a thing from inside; it’s from the mind, and it must be tackled, it essentially must be tackled from the home front. Tackling behavioural issues such as this requires repetition and continuous campaigns. In fact, one shouldn’t restrict the struggle for a noble cause like this to just 16 days out of 365 days in a year.
Except people want to look away from the reality that as you read this this piece, a woman somewhere is being molested and going through either physical or psychological torture or both, or probably we want to deny the fact that girls are being raped every minute and hour of the year in one part of the world or the other.
This campaign concerns all, young and old, boys and girls, men and women. It is amazing how we sometimes feel that it’s the job of the women folks alone to fight for a right that directly and indirectly affects us collectively. Or have we forgotten that women’s rights are human rights?
This campaign of protecting the rights of women is such that should be largely channelled on the home front, because everything stands and falls on foundations built at home. This strategy is important because succeeding at it means corrective measures won’t need to be emphasised time and time again. There won’t be any need to advocate for ending violence against women to an adult who got it right from childhood. The need at this early stage is to show and tell every child that when we protect the women and girls, we protect ourselves. And indeed that’s the reality of the matter. Girls grow up to become mothers and the role and essence of women in our world cannot be underestimated nor can it be numbered.
How we treat them counts. How we perceive their importance is key. How adults treat women will go a very long way in affecting how young ones see them. In the home, where the foundation is laid, we must dwell on the fact that what we do for girls and women, we do for ourselves.
As the US President, Barack Obama puts it, “We know that countries are more likely to prosper when they tap the talents of all their people. And that’s why we’re investing in the health, education and rights of women, and working to empower the next generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders. Because when mothers and daughters have access to opportunity, that’s when economies grow, that’s when governance improves.”
If we successfully instil the fact that empowering mothers and daughters with opportunities will increase the chance for growth in economies and governance, it is expected that the message will sink in better. It will help individuals to connect the dot and see the reality that what we do for women is not just for them or about them, it’s about all of us!
In fact when this truth is fully established, individuals can begin to see reasons to abolish patriarchal system or harmful traditions that directly or indirectly support violence against women, and damage their dignity. Much emphasis should be placed on the home front. Boys must learn to respect the right of everyone and also the rights of their sisters. Adults should also note that treating women right matters because how well men treat women will largely influence how well boys treat girls. Hence, the violence done on women around the globe will no longer be an epidemic.
Lanre Olagunju is an hydrologist turned freelance journalist. An alumnus of the American College of Journalism, Lanre advocates on several international platforms for the prosperity and absolute well-being of the African continent. He is @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.
Culled from CARMMA website
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