Nirbhayas transforming through Grassroots (“the brave hearts”)


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‘We’, the Nirbhayas will rise from Grassroots!


WOMEN delhi-gang-rape-bollywood-reacts-to-nirbhayas-deathViolence Against Women has made news headlines for years now. BOLLYWOOD TWEETS

Thousands of women are being brutally beaten, assaulted, harassed, mutilated, raped and molested even murdered worldwide. In general there has been a phenomenal increase in crime against women.

Every year several Nirbhayas, “the brave hearts” bravely undergo ordeals of most heinous crimes against humankind before succumbing to their injuries. Another Malala Yousafzai is being targeted by terrorists for promoting education rights for women. Numerous Individuals, organizations and institutions are tirelessly engaged in fighting for rights of women and challenging extremism of any kind.

Since its inception and till date the United Nations (UN) has been instrumental in addressing women issues. The UN General Assembly designated 25th November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.

In his message for Nov 25, 2012, the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon said;

Women and Girls are afraid to speak out because of a culture of impunity. We must fight the sense of fear and shame that punishes victims who have already endured crime and now face stigma. It is the perpetrators who should feel disgraced, not their victims.”

no-to-violenceHe told that “UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is engaging governments, international organizations, civil society groups, the media and ordinary citizens.” And called on “all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls in all parts of the world.”

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) is a testimony to the global consciousness that violence against women and girls is neither inevitable nor acceptable. The UN Trust Fund is a leading global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms. It supports effective initiatives that demonstrate that violence against women and girls can be systematically addressed, reduced and, with persistence, eliminated.

To date, the UN Trust Fund has delivered more than USD 86 million to 351 initiatives in 128 countries and territories. Established by UN General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 and administered by UN Women on behalf of the UN system, the UN Trust Fund works with non-governmental organizations.

Every year on the 8th of March the world celebrates womankind and womanhood as “International Women’s Day”.

strikeThis day becomes significant for the fact that on this day and generally for the month of March issues faced by women come to the forefront of all national and international platforms, policy initiatives, political and academic discourses, media campaigns and events, etc.
Every year the UN chooses a particular theme which it feels should be highlighted and foe the year 2013 it has chosen “Violence against Women”.

Previous United Nation International Women’s Day themes:

– 2012: Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty
– 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology
– 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
– 1975: First IWD celebrated by the United Nations

UN_Women_Facebook_Logos_EN_normalbachelet_official_headshot_square-150x150The UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet in her message for International Women’s Day said;

“Violence against women and girls have no place in the 21st century. Enough is enough!”

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW -pdf) which is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has chosen the theme “Elimination and prevention of all forms of Violence against Women and Girls” for its fifty-seventh session that is taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013.

CSW is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women.

Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.


“As recent events of horrific Violence Against Women in India and other parts of the world indicate, it is not the lack of normative framework or basis that is impeding our efforts, but rather its effective implementation. These gaps must be identified and plugged.”

She highlighted the following measures which are recently taken up the Government of India of Government has set up fast track courts to try cases pertaining to violence against women. The report of the government established committee headed by the former Chief Justice of India,  Mr. J.S. Verma.

The report is very comprehensive and recommends a range of measures.

  • Based on these recommendations, the Government promulgated an ordinance in February 2013 amending the criminal law in India. It significantly broadens the definition of sexual assault and harassment, includes new types of violent behavior such as voyeurism, stalking, etc, and aims for greater accountability of public officials.
  • The Parliament also adopted the ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibiti on and Redressal) Bill, 2013 in February this year covering women employed in both public and private sectors. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act came into force in November, 2012.
  • The Government has recently announced budgetary allocation worth US$ 200 million for a dedicated fund to implement measures to ensure dignity and safety of women.
  • The government is introducing “One Stop Crisis Centre for Women” in 100 identified critical districts during the course of this year with the aim to provide integrated services required by women subjected to violence.

saksham_daksh_ 2009-10-07 05-31-16Bringing to light the value of civil society, ‘awareness‘ generation and sensitization programmes are now deemed as an integral part of combating Violence Against Women.

A recent initiative of Ahimsa (peace) messengers has been introduced to mobilize communities at ‘grassroots level‘ as change agents to combat Violence Against Women, in both public and private spaces.

Another scheme being formulated by Saksham is aiming at holistic development of adolescent boys to make them self-reliant, gender-sensitive and aware citizens.

“The numerous initiatives, policy programmes and campaigns which have been so far established and carried on for years, have come to spread the common cause of welfare of Women, on both international and national days. These initiatives can only realize their true potential when ‘we’ as a society, act as responsible individual citizens, creating one unified collective on earth.

When ‘we‘ are able to cultivate an accountable generation of ‘culture and character’, with respect for all (irrespective of gender) is when ‘we‘ will produce societies that groom and nurture sons/daughters equally, is when our world will experience the ‘responsible sons, fathers and husbands; daughters, mothers and wives‘ of this present century and future.”


By Meetika Srivastava, MPA

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