Tomorrow all around the world women will be rising and raising their voices again against violence in all shapes and forms committed against women.
On 14 February 2013, people in 207 countries rose and danced to demand an end to violence against women and girls. This year again on Valentine’s day, they are asking women and men everywhere to RISE and demand JUSTICE!
In Antwerp, a march will start at 10am from the new Department of Justice building at the Bolivarplaats and will head to city hall in the center of the city.
© Wendy Marijnissen
I haven’t worked on the issue of violence against girls and women in my own country, but I did in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And statistics there are mind-blowing as to how high they are… And that is just the women who are brave enough to rapport their abuse or find strength to run away from the violent situation they are caught up in.
Rape, forced or child marriages, domestic violence, acid attacks, verbal abuse, … it’s all very common and it shouldn’t be. The girl in the picture below, I met in the burn unit of a hospital in Karachi. She is taken into a treatment room to have her bandages changed after she tried to commit suicide and set herself on fire… If it is already a case of self inflicted wounds (as they are often victims of domestic abuse and set on fire or acid attacked within their family)
The main causes for this self-mutilation and attempted suicides are domestic violence, family conflicts, problems with their mothers-in-law…
© Wendy Marijnissen
Don’t think it’s just far from our own world and it only happens in problematic countries like Pakistan or Afghanistan. It doesn’t. It happens here as well and at an alarming rate…
1 in 5 women in Belgium get physically abused during their lifetime.
1 in 10 women experience violence by their own partner.
1 in 10 women get sexually abused
1 in 30 women experience abuse in the year preceding or during their pregnancy.
(Numbers from a study on partner violence by dr. Kristien Roelens, Ugent, 2009)
So if you have the time tomorrow, find out where an activity is happening in your country and city you live in and join in Rising and Raising your voice against violence against girls and women.