Violence against the Girl Child
In July 2012 the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign’s Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.
In 2013, the UNiTE campaign focused its Orange Days on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), which focused on the theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Orange Day highlighted issues including safe schools, safe work places and cyber space as a safe space for women and girls. Activities culminated in a call to ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’ from November 25 and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. The Call resulted in ‘orange activities’ in over 50 countries and over 76 million people being reached through social media.
In 2014, Orange Day continues to spark actions around the world on specific themes and issues towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This month, UNiTE #OrangeDay will focus on violence against the girl child.
VIOLENCE AGAINST THE GIRL CHILD
Girls play multiple roles in the household, society and economy, yet are discriminated against from the earliest stages of life, throughout childhood. This can hold back their progress, prevent them from enjoying their human rights and make them more likely to face violence.
Violence against girls is perpetrated by both adults and peers and takes place in all social spaces, both public and private, including the home, the classroom, on the way to school, and online. It has immediate and long-term consequences and creates additional obstacles to girls’ progress.
In emergency situations, girls may face rape, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy and sexual slavery as tactics of war, and also as a result of war-related instability and conflict. Girls are trafficked mainly for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic service, the hidden circumstances of which put them at greater risk from violence. Emerging new approaches in media and technologies have increased girls’ access to information and opportunities for political participation, though technological progress has also exposed girls to new risks including from sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and psychological violence.
Millions of girls are subjected to “harmful practices” including female genital mutilation, and early, forced and child marriage. More than 130 million girls and women worldwide have experienced some form of female genital mutilation in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where it is most commonly practiced. Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence, while young teenage girls are more likely to experience complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s. Children marriage is a human rights violation in and of itself, but also prevents girls from enjoying other rights.
Multiple international laws, standards and goals address violence against the girl child including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979. The Beijing Platform for Action, the blue print for advancing women’s rights which will be 20 years old next year, recognizes the girl child as one of its critical areas and highlights the need to eradicate violence against the girl child. If the aspirations from the Beijing Platform for Action for women and girls are to be realized, the new global development agenda which will replace the Millenium Development Goals must tackle discrimination and violence against girls, and emphasize girls’ empowerment.
ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES
On August 25, take action to eliminate violence against the girl child!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Orange your school! Wear orange to school if you are allowed. If you are a teacher, tell your class about Orange Day and engage with gender equality in your lesson plans. See resources for ideas: http://teachunicef.org/explore/topic/gender-equality
- Are you aware of innovative initiatives to end violence against girls? Take part in the UNiTE campaign’s Twitter Q&A on 25 August, during which organizations such as Together For Girls and WAGGGS will participate in a discussion about their programmes to end violence against girls. Follow @SayNO_UNiTE and #orangeday on Twitter.
- Find out about UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ joint programme for young people to stop violence against women and girls, Voices on Violence. Interested in running the programme? Please contact email@example.com.
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES
25 Aug is #OrangeDay! #UNiTE says violence against girls must be priority in the #post2015 dev.agenda http://ow.ly/x2QGP
Today is #UNiTE campaign’s #OrangeDay! Is your school teaching children about #genderequality? Share lesson plans and other resources: http://ow.ly/zKzNc
More than 700 million women alive today were married as children. On #UNiTE #OrangeDay Say NO to violence against girls! http://ow.ly/x2QGP
Girls around the world continue to face discrimination and violence, including female genital mutilation, child marriage and trafficking. This #OrangeDay, August 25th, wear orange to show your support to end violence against and girls. Share your orange photos on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #OrangeDay! http://ow.ly/x2QGP via [@SayNO.UNiTE]
This #OrangeDay, the UNiTE campaign highlights violence against girls. Learn more about UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ joint programme for young people to stop violence against women and girls, Voices on Violence. Interested in running the programme? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is #OrangeDay and the UNiTE campaign is highlighting violence against girls. Share UNICEF’s lesson plans and other resources on gender equality with your teachers: http://ow.ly/zNz78
Today is #OrangeDay, a day to take action to end violence against women and girls. The UNiTE campaign is focusing on violence against girls. Join UNiTE’s Twitter Q&A on effective strategies to end violence and empower girls! http://ow.ly/x2QGP
- Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children: http://srsg.violenceagainstchildren.org/
- UNICEF: End Violence against Children: http://www.unicef.org/endviolence/
- United Nations Girls Initiative: http://www.ungei.org/whatisungei/index_2593.html
- UN Women and World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts joint programme for young people to stop violence against women and girls, Voices on Violence: http://www.wagggs.org/en/take_action/violence/curriculum
- Together for Girls: http://www.togetherforgirls.org/
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON