This year marks the 30 years since the launch of the global campaign by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991 to raise awareness about violence against women, and this year it focuses on the problem of femicide, the gender-related killing of women. Over 6,000 organizations in nearly 187 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991 reaching nearly 300 million people.
In Nur-Sultan, the campaign kicked off with an exhibition called “Ordinary Things” convened by the United Nations office in Kazakhstan, the Canadian Embassy, the United Nations Population Fund in Kazakhstan (UNFPA), and UN Women with support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan.
The exhibition which will last through December 10 displays different items that have their own story related to gender-related violence being either witnesses or tools of violence.
“Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we stand together to reaffirm our collective commitment to ending violence against women and girls. Despite the fact that the campaign has been going on for so long, violence against women continues to be prominent across the world and it is one of the most pressing human rights issues we see,” said UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey.
The organizers said that the purpose of the exhibition is to draw the public s attention to the problem of violence. According to data, 137 women die every day at the hands of their family members, and 1 in 3 experienced physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner at least once in her life. During the pandemic, violence against women and girls grew 25 percent.
“We want you to think about how violence destroys women and girls, families and societies. But violence is not inevitable, the right policies, right programs, right understanding, right resources bring results. But most importantly, right attitudes bring results,” she said.
The chair of the Administrative Police Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Atygay Arystanov also spoke about the preventive measures that the ministry is taking to prevent domestic violence.
In Nur-Sultan, the akimat also plans a large-scale awareness-raising work involving representatives of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, experts and volunteers, psychologists, mediators and inspectors for the protection of women from violence.
Experts will conduct training sessions for specialists working with families in crisis centers, school psychologists and parents.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year has put millions of people around the world under unprecedented challenges related to lockdown and other restrictions, but it hit particularly hard people who face domestic violence and who had stuck at home face-to-face with their abusers.
Globally, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner.
The shadow pandemic that has grown amidst the COVID-19 crisis requires a global collective effort until all women are safe.
“Even before the pandemic, violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights. Since lockdown restrictions, domestic violence has multiplied, spreading across the world in a shadow pandemic. This is a critical time for action, from prioritizing essential services like shelter and support for women survivors to providing the economic support and stimulus packages needed for broader recovery,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women.