Choki Wangmo

Themed, ‘Orange the world: generation equality stands against rape’, international day for elimination of violence against women was observed in Thimphu yesterday.

The day was a reminder about the injustice that continues to be committed against women and girls around the world.

As of last month, police and Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) received more than 700 cases against women and girls, not counting the cases filed in with other agencies and JDWNRH.

Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji said there were cases of even infants being raped, leading in some cases to the death of the victims.

“It is horrifying,” he added.

A study carried out by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) in 2017 says that more than two in five women (44.6 percent) experienced one or more forms of partner violence in their lifetime, be it physical, sexual, psychological or economic.

Worryingly, seventy-two percent of the women did not report the case to the authorities fearing impunity, stigma and shame.

Lyonpo said that these challenges should be addressed so there was no safe haven for the perpetuators of violence against women and girls.

Resident representative of UNDP, Azusa Kubota, said that was a need for coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services.

“Violence at home affects all of us in society. We must engage all members of the communities to tackle this complex and multi-faceted challenge that affects our collective present and future,” Azusa Kubota said.

Globally, one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. One in two women worldwide is killed by their partners or family while only one out of 20 men was killed under similar circumstances.

Along with 189 member states, Bhutan adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995, a progressive blueprint conceived in the advancement of women’s rights.

Violence against women is one of the 12 critical areas of concern in the declaration.

Since 1999, the UN has marked the day to highlight the urgent need to collaborative action from all sections of society to address violence against women.

The goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, including specific targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

“Acho Khegpa”, an animation produced by RENEW to educate children about the good touch and the bad touch was also screened during the event.

Youth dancers, GOKAB, performed the one billion rising dance anthem  ‘Break the Chain’, a global campaign founded in 2012 to end rape and sexual violence against women.

Members of the Parliament and stakeholders from relevant agencies attended the programme.