White Ribbon Day Commemorated

 

College of Social Sciences and Humanities celebrated the White Ribbon Day on November 25, 2016 in the University’s Resource Center with a half-day seminar to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.

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In his opening speech, Professor Nigussie Dechassa, Vice-president for Academic Affairs, stated that our world is a patriarchal world full of discrimination and violence against women and other marginalized groups of the society. “For this reason”, he underscored, “the importance of raising awareness amongst men and the general community about the seriousness of violence against women is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. People need to be urged to speak out against attitudes and behaviors that support violence against women, and play a positive and constructive role in bringing an end to it.”

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A seminar paper on “Violence against Women” was presented by Dr. Bamlaku Tadesse, a staff member of Gender and Development Studies Department. The event was attended by over 60 staff members, students and representatives from Haramaya, Dire Dawa, East Hararghe and Harari Women’s Affairs.

According to Dr. Adinew Tadesse, Dean of CSSH, the main aim of the seminar was to raise awareness among men and others to end the violence women are subjected to. He said that the seminar would be a good opportunity to encourage participants and the community to join different campaigns to stop violence against women.

White Ribbon Day, which is an international day celebrated to condemn and end violence against women, is celebrated on the 25th of November every year. Historically, the White Ribbon Campaign was started by few Canadian men in 1991 on the 2nd Anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 female engineering students in Montreal. They came to a conclusion to acknowledge the responsibility men have in the matter and to urge men to speak out about any violence against women. The men decided to wear the white ribbon as ‘a symbol of men’s opposition to the violence’.

The statistical facts magnify the importance of the White Ribbon Day’s celebration; more than 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries. An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.

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Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth. In general, the costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations. The responsibility to eliminate such last longing social problems, is not the sole responsibility of women, girls and women’s organizations, but the involvement of the male partners can enhance the elimination of such violation against human right.

At the end of the seminar, participants led by Dr. Adinew took an oath to stand up, to speak out and to act on in condemning ending and preventing violence against women and girls.

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On a similar note, the Gender, HIV/AIDS and Special Needs Mainstreaming Directorate in collaboration with IPAS, Girls’ Union and Forum also celebrated White Ribbon Day with different events.

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