Viewpoint by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
The writer is UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Following is the text of the statement titled ‘A life without the threat of violence for everyone: leave no one behind’ released on 16 November launching ‘Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence‘ ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November 2017. – The Editor
UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – The initial response to the outpouring of ‘#MeToo’ around the world has been of outrage at the scale of sexual abuse and violence revealed. The millions of people joining the hashtag tide showed us how little they were heard before. They poured through the floodgate, opening up conversations, naming names and bolstering the frailty of individual statements with the robustness of a movement.
This virtual class action has brought strength to those whose stories would otherwise have not been told. Sexual violence in private almost always ends up as one person’s word against another, if that word is ever spoken. Even sexual violence in public has been impossible to call out when society does not view rape as a male crime but as a woman’s failing, and views that woman as dispensable.
We are seeing the ugly face of violence brought out into the light: the abuses of power that repress reporting and diminish the facts, and that exclude or crush opposition. MORE >>>