International Women's Day - A call to end violence against girls and women
On another afternoon, as Winfred was walking home from school, a man whom she had refused to marry threw a can of acid in her face. The horrific attack would scar her for life.
Both girls were in their early teens when they were attacked. In both cases, their attackers walked free. In both cases, too, it took long months of physical and psychological healing for them to be able to stand up and face life again.
As the world celebrates women on International Women’s Day 2013, we are reminded that we have a collective responsibility to ensure that girls and women live and thrive in safe, secure environments where their dignity and rights are respected.
Countless women the world over live in fear and suffering, sometimes in their own homes. While the numbers of girls and women requiring help and support may seem insurmountable, it is nevertheless possible to act for positive change at every level.
It is also crucial that continuous efforts are made to ensure that girls and women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as their male counterparts without fear of violence and discrimination
FAWE takes this opportunity to stress the crucial role of education in helping to tackle the discrimination and violence that many African girls and women face in their societies.
Returning to school has been a key aspect of recovery for both Gloria and Winfred. By working with the families, communities, schools, local police and legal system, FAWE Zambia, the FAWE National Chapter in their country, has been able to bring positive change for both girls.
On International Women’s Day, FAWE would like to salute Gloria, Winfred and so many other courageous young girls who have overcome brutality and pain to rebuild themselves and walk into a brighter future.
Watch their stories:
Gloria: “He just dragged me into the bush and held my mouth because I was screaming. There was no one around to help me…”
Winfred: “We should be strong when we face troubles like this. It’s not easy. I’m happy I’m still alive.”