Today is Human Rights Day. This marks the final day of 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which has seen campaigners taking action to raise awareness of this issue and call for change.

The theme for 2020 is “Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect” and this year is arguably one of the most important years for the campaign as the UN estimates an additional 15 million cases of gender-based violence are expected to have taken place. Heartbreakingly, many of these cases will go unreported due to victim blaming, leaving millions of women scared and trapped in unthinkable situations. This needs to change.

Gender-based violence is understood as the targeted emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse against women and girls. It can include anything from name-calling, controlling behaviour, coercion, online abuse, domestic abuse and manipulation to forced marriage, physical abuse and sexual violence. What’s clear to me is that gender-based violence is a major public health, equality and human rights issue. Human rights are non-removable or transferable and are vital to a functioning society. They’re there to protect people from harm and ensure that they are treated fairly and equally. Although progress has been made, we’re still not living in a truly equal world. Woman’s rights are human rights.


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