By Khadim H. Dahot, Managing Director, SDTS
“I should not be part of violence or perform violence against [my] mother and sisters.”
Shahzeb - student, age 21
In response to the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (GBV) Campaign,which ran from November 25 to December 10, Sewa Development Trust Sindh (SDTS), recently organised activities for young men from the rural parts of districts to help sensitize them about the campaign, because men often create and perpetuate violence throughout their whole lives.
“Safety at Home, Public & Workplace"
This year's topic was: "Safety at Home, Public & Workplace", and more than 60 participants from different youth groups attended.
The purpose of conducting awareness activities with males – especially young men, was to help them become non-violent in their future married or parental lives.
No women were invited, as this was geared toward young men, most of whose ages ranged in their 20s.
The program started with the introduction to Sewa Development Trust Sindh and its programs in the six districts of Sindh province; along with that. Mr. Zahid Dahot, Manger of Operations, shared with participants about how they can contribute in the 16days campaign.
Mr. Zahid Dahot shared basic information about gender based violence and 16 Days' campaign with the young participants.
He posed the question, “What is Violence against women?”
Mr Dahot described violence against women is a pervasive human rights violation, a public health crisis, and an obstacle to equality, development, security, and peace. The terms "violence against women" and "gender-based violence" are used to refer to the range of abuses committed against women that stem from gender inequality and women's subordinate status in society relative to men, he told the youth in attendance.
Violence against women, including during war, is used to drive fear, and terrorize, and humiliate women, their families and communities, he emphasised.
Forms of gender-based violence include, but are not limited to: domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and harmful practices.
These forms of violence can result in physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health and other health problems. In addition, women's multiple and intersecting identities based on factors such as class, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality and citizenship status can serve to increase their vulnerability to violence.
Further, Mr Dahot engaged participants in an exercise about sharing their personal experience; he asked them to share one by one that what they know about gender-based violence and violence against women?
Participants shared how violence exists in home, society, country and in the world especially focusing for rural women facing all type of violence in her life, need to combat with issue by together and start from own home and family.
Every participant shared his experience – mostly they worked as a volunteer with international, national, and local organizations as volunteers.
The Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials – which included pamphlets, posters and stickers, provided by Aurat Foundation, were disseminated among participants having campaign slogan, “Safety at Home, Public & Workplace".
The youth learned for the first time that how women are abused and facing violence from home to society.
Until this workshop, they assumed violence against women – including young child girls, is acceptable, and that men have authority over them:
“It is our honour to perform violence and punish women, if found in adultery, [there] should be honour killing.” – student
After debate and sensitization, they received a basic knowledge about gender-based violence (GBV), and at least they accepted that violence against women and GBV is bad act.
SDTS works in the Sindh province of Pakistan which is located close to the Arabian Sea, and its main fresh water source is the Indus River. The region has recently experienced the worst floods in its history, with heavy rainfall and flash floods.
The SDTS Head Office is based at Khairpur District. (Map of Khairpur)
"No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live."
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, 1944 - 'Founding Father' of Pakistan.