Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Ring The Bell Against Child Marriage And Domestic Violence - For IndiChange!
RING THE BELL AGAINST CHILD MARRIAGE
Child marriage and child customs occur even today in rural and poor areas of India. An increase in the advocacy of human rights, whether as women's rights or as children's rights has caused traditions of child marriage to decrease in many areas. It is now a children human rights issue. Child marriage refers to any forced marriage of a child younger than 18 years old, in accordance to Article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child. While it affects both sexes, girls are disproportionately affected as they are the major victims. Their overall development is compromised, leaving them socially isolated with poor health, little education, skills and opportunities for employment and self-realization. Child brides are likely to become pregnant at an early age and there is a strong correlation between the age of a mother and maternal mortality. This also exposes women to vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Tradition, religion and poverty continue to fuel the practice of child marriage involving pressure and emotional blackmail to children that lack the choice or capacity to give their full consent. Marrying at a young age has lifelong consequences. Taken together, the costs of this practice are too high to be ignored; societies cannot progress when even the common practice of marriage dooms girls and women to a life of poverty.
It is a huge responsibility for a young girl to become a wife and mother and because girls are not adequately prepared for these roles. This heavy burden has a serious impact on their psychological welfare, their perceptions of themselves and also their relationship. Women who marry early are more likely to suffer abuse and violence, with inevitable psychological as well as physical consequences. Violent behaviour can take the form of physical harm, psychological attacks, threatening behaviour and forced sexual acts including rape.
Though child marriage is entrenched in tradition and culture, change is possible. It is important to ring the bell against child marriage. The sooner, the better.
1. I believe, the more education a girl receives, the less likely she is to be married as a child. Improving access to education and eliminating gender gaps in education are therefore important strategies for ending and condemning the practice of child marriage.
2. We should hold campaigns that will engage young people at advocacy level to stop and eradicate the evil of child marriage.
3. We need to have local organizations to reduce the prevalence and lessen the harmful impacts of child marriage through educational and behavior-change programs.
4. Design effective programs that work with girls and boys, their families and communities to delay marriage.
5. If evidence of child marriage is found, the people held responsible for it should be heavily fined.
6. Collect evidence against people, creating social awareness about the negative effects of child marriage, collect data concerning child marriages, etc.
7. Improve local knowledge of the social and health consequences of child marriage and to encourage attitudes that favour marriage at a later age.
8. Strengthen support for alternatives to child marriage, especially efforts to keep girls in school.
9. Increase endorsements for delayed marriage by religious leaders and other community stakeholders.
RING THE BELL AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
1. Listen to women and believe them. When a women tells you about violence they have experienced in their lives - believe them. Often we don't want to believe that horrible things happen to people. It is extremely rare for a woman to make up a story about rape or abuse. You may be the first and only person she tells. Believe her and support her decisions, without being judgmental.
2. Heal the violence in your own life. Most of us are survivors of some type of violence. Almost everybody fears becoming a victim of violence. Take care of yourself and do what you can to help yourself heal - emotionally and physically. Get counselling. Join a support group. Most women's shelters offer some type of free counselling and support. Celebrate survival.
3. Break the silence. When you're ready, tell other people your own story of survival. Breaking the silence about our experiences reduces the shame that surrounds abuse and can empower other people to talk about their own experiences.
4. Make violence your business. Most of us grew up with the idea that we're not supposed to ask questions about other people's families or relationships - especially if there seems to be trouble. Keeping violence against women private helps no one. If you believe that someone is being abused - ask them. They might not tell you right away, but it will send a signal that you are someone they can trust. If you don't know how to handle the news that someone you know is being abused, call your local women's shelter or crisis line for advice.
5. Raise non-violent children. Talk to the children in your life about violence. Help them find non-violent ways of resolving conflict. Encourage imaginative, co-operative and non-violent play. Don't use violence as punishment.
6. Use your time, energy and money to promote women's equality. Women make up the vast majority of victims of relationship and sexual violence. Get involved in organizations working to end poverty and violence against women. Make donations. Start a group dedicated to ending violence against women. Vote for political parties with concrete plans and policies to increase women's equality.
7. Speak out against negative media images. The media often uses images of violence against women to sell products. If you see an ad or commercial that you find offensive - write/ fax/ e-mail the company. If acts of violence against women on television are passed off as entertainment, complain to the Broadcast Standards Council or the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Make your own woman-positive media.
8. Help girls protect themselves. Help the girls in your life develop confidence and strong self-esteem. Let them know they're important as individuals - in or out of a relationship. Talk frankly to them about sex and dating, stressing respect and their right to choose.
9. Encourage people who commit violence to get help. Don't judge. Let them know their behaviour is unacceptable and that there are counsellors and support groups to help them change.
10. No victim blaming. It’s amazing how often we hear about the amount of alcohol that might have been consumed by the victim, how well she knew her attacker, what she might have been wearing. The ONLY person that bears responsibility for a violent attack is the attacker. No-one else. Ever. This can’t be said often enough. People focus on the victim – especially if the victim was physically attractive. We need to start focusing on the perpetrators of crimes, and condemning their despicable actions, in the strongest possible way.
11. Social media responsibility. Sites like Facebook, Twitter should create awareness. We are a country that glorifies “freedom of speech”. Every single one of us has the power to make change happen by our actions, words.
12. Stop tolerating. Take action. By calling out unacceptable behaviour, be that a tasteless joke, or a sexist remark or misogynistic comment. Language is so powerful. It’s not acceptable. Abusive language about women in general, or talk that cruelly demeans a specific woman or women, often occurs in social situations or online. You can object to this behaviour in a non-confrontational way just by saying, or posting, "It's just wrong to talk about women that way. Stop it." Do the right thing. You may be surprised by how many of your friends agree with you and were just waiting for someone to speak up. If you see a woman being threatened or assaulted, you don't have to stand by and do nothing. Don’t be afraid to intervene and call the police.
Noting that psychological abuse can be extremely damaging, and can happen along with, or without physical violence. It erodes self-esteem and the scars, just because they’re internal, are no less deep. Be more alert, vigilant and aware of your friends and their situations. Violence against women doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to any of us, regardless of age, wealth, class, outlook.
The word “abused” is not to be taken lightly. It does not just mean getting yelled at, or a random slap every now and then. No. Such women and children experience daily domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, and sometimes it may lead to their death. These horrific events do not just occur in places of war, but also in places that one would never expect. To bring a change, be a change! Raise your voice today!! Ring a bell.