Silence Is Not An Option
1 in every 3.
That’s the number of women around the world who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Approximately 35% of all women.
Whether you’re the kind of person who cares about statistics or not, you should be troubled by this disheartening fact.
All of us at Kuda are definitely troubled by it.
But it is not enough to be troubled.
As more heartwrenching stories of rape and sexual harassment are told across social media, one can only wonder how many more there are that haven’t come to light.
This life-destroying culture of violence against women has been around for generations.
It has been ignored, pushed to the back burner, shouted down and covered up.
Questions have been asked:
“What was she wearing?”
“Why was she there?”
“Are you sure you were raped?”
All the wrong questions.
While these pointless questions were asked and victims shamed, lives were being ruined and trauma was being reinforced.
So what now? Where do we go from here?
We’ve waited for change but change doesn’t have a habit of coming to those who wait.
Change is made, and change begins when we all refuse to keep quiet.
Now more than ever before, silence is not an option.
Inaction is also not an option.
We cannot continue to sit by idly and watch our women’s rights to their own bodies trampled upon by entitled criminals.
Women should not be afraid to walk down the street, ride in a vehicle or go out to have fun.
Women should never have to choose their outfits fearfully, wondering if wearing a pair of jeans will be the difference between being assaulted or making it through another day.
Women should not be forced to endure hostile, oppressive or abusive work environments.
These are realities, not scenarios.
They may not be real for you, but they are real for millions of people.
For the sake of our humanity, we must stand on the right side of history by:
1. Respecting women’s rights to their bodies.
2. Seeking consent and confirming it.
3. Supporting movements and organisations that support women and their rights.
This is the bare minimum but it’s a start.
The women who have suffered these subhuman ordeals don’t have to be our relatives for us to do the right thing.
In the next few days, we will launch and contribute to a fund in support of organisations committed to preventing rape and other forms of violence against women.
The money raised will be used to help end gender-based violence and support survivors of rape.
We invite you to join us on this important mission.
Women’s lives and their freedom are nothing to play with.