Text by: Shirlene Green Newball Photo by : Kimmo Lehtonen
My phone rang and I saw it was a loving friend calling, so I picked up. On the other side, I heard her sad and weeping voice saying: “He hit me and I had the baby in my hand”. She was referring to her partner and father of her child. I was mad since I also had my experience in my teen.
When I arrived at her house I saw a bruise on her left cheek. We sat down and she told me her outrage violence story. She decided not to press charge against him, which was unacceptable to me, but I knew I had to respect her decision and just let her know that I was there to support her. And so I did.
Gender-based violence forms can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and others carried by individuals and states. Every day hundreds of women and girls around the world live it, so my friend’s case was not an exception.
According, to the Global Study on Homicide 2019: Gender-related killing of women and girls research published in July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2017, a total of 87,000 women were killed intentionally from which, 50,000 were killed by an intimate partner or relative, meaning that 137 women were killed daily by a family member. This act of killing a woman is known by international organizations, some governments, academic, and women movements, as femicide.
The study also highlights the total women murders by continent; Asia being the continent with the largest number fallowed by Africa and the Americas.
Since I became an activist, every 25thof November, I participate in manifestations on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Historically, this day is based on 1960, when Dictator Rafael Trujillo assassinated the three Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic.
My friend was at home in her porch when the episode occurred, which confirms that our home is not a safe place for us, but so are the streets, public transportations, and social media channels.
Can you imagine that in Granada, Spain, during the manifestation on Monday (25 November) a group of girls was attacked by a man with a knife? This act is insane and ironic. Why did he attack women in a protest against violence? Is it because of hate speech, superiority or misogyny? What is clear is that someone almost got injured because of these extreme thoughts.
Currently, the media and the Internet are spaces that lead to a lot of contents of violence against women.
Do you remember the ridiculous attack Greta Thunberg faced during her visit to the United States of America in September? This teenage activist raising awareness about climate change was attacked tremendously on national television and social media by the right party. The accusations were crazy, from the way she dresses, her hairstyle, her whiteness, etc.
On the 23rd of September during the broadcast of Fox News, Michael Knowles called her “a mentally ill Swedish child”.
Another ridiculous statement came from Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host who called Greta’s United Nations speech as “chilling”, with a head title saying, “Climate change hysteria is changing our kids”.
Since social media plays an important role in being informed and active today, my friends and I got caught in this discussion. One of my friends was so tired of answering that it occurred to her we needed a strategy to continue, so she started to tag others in her answers with the purpose of getting support of our statement against the furious women and men attacking Greta and all her supporters.
Gender-based violence has increased over the years. As women, we all are exposed to attacks any day. So it is not only the on 25thof November that we need to remember this, it is every single day.
The strategies women create to counteract violence may seem foolish for some people. However, whatever you invent to protect yourself, make sure that it is effective and of great help to you.
My friend was brave to call me and tell her story, but unfortunately, not every woman does it because they are scared and ashamed. From my experience and my friend’s, it is better to break the silence, look for help, go to a shelter home and press charges. Remember you are not alone and there is always support.