UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA and Nirbhaya Foundation jointly presented “Women in Concert” on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The free musical event at Lainchour Ground urged everyone to join together and speak out more forcefully to fight violence against women and children.
Violence against women, children and adolescents occurs everywhere – at home, families, schools, workplace, communities and public places. Just because you can’t see violence, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. We must make the invisible, visible.
This is the underlying message as UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA and Nirbhaya Foundation. The free musical event at Lainchour Ground urged everyone to join together and speak out more forcefully to fight violence against women and children.
The concert was also part of the ongoing focus of the UN agencies on the elimination of violence against women, children and adolescents. A weeklong initiative to increase public awareness about the issue preceded the concert.
More than 20 established and aspiring female artists, including Ani Chhoying Dolma, Abhaya Subba, Kunti Moktan, Nalina Chitrakar, Samriddhi Rai, Ciney Gurung, Nattu Shah and many more, performed songs at the event with key messages regarding violence against women, children and adolescents.
“Violence destroys lives – in every country and at all levels of society. It cuts across boundaries of age, race, sexuality, educational background and socio-economic status,” said Ms. Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative. “Too often, however, it is an invisible problem because people turn a blind eye to it, or simply fail to report due to fear or stigma.”
Since much violence is hidden from public view – and because it is too often tolerated – the numbers do not reflect the true magnitude of the problem. The need to take urgent collective action is underlined by the limited statistics available, which point to the scale and extent of violence. For example, in Nepal, around 16 lakh children are working as child laborers while 5000 children live on the streets. Similarly, 11,500 women and were trafficked or were attempted to be trafficked in the year 2011.
“Violence against women has been called ‘the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world’. It jeopardizes women's lives, bodies, psychological integrity and freedom,” said Ms. Giulia Vallese, UNFPA Nepal Representative. “Violence may have profound effects – direct and indirect – on a woman's reproductive health, including unwanted pregnancies and restricted access to family planning information and contraceptives; unsafe abortion or injuries sustained during a legal abortion after an unwanted pregnancy; complications from frequent, high-risk pregnancies and lack of follow-up care; sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; persistent gynecological problems and; psychological problems.”
In Nepal, studies show that as many as one in every five women experience physical violence and one in 10 sexual violence. Nearly 1 in 10 adolescents aged 15-19 experience physical violence during pregnancy. Most often the violence is perpetrated by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member.
Men and boys have a crucial role to play as husbands, fathers, brothers, friends, decision makers, and community and opinion leaders, in speaking out against violence against women, children and adolescents and ensuring that priority attention is given to the issue. Importantly, men can provide positive role models for young men and boys, based on healthy images of masculinity.
In a recent 2013 survey of Asia and the Pacific, half of the men and boys who admitted to rape reported their first time was as a teenager. This is a deeply disturbing reality.