RE­NEW aware­ness walk to elim­i­nate violence against women

Bhutan Times - - FRONT PAGE - Deki Lha­zom

An aware­ness walk to elim­i­nate violence against women in Bhutan had over 600 women and men cov­er­ing a dis­tance of about 13 kilo­me­tres in Thim­phu last Wed­nes­day. The aware­ness cam­paign was con­ducted co­in­cid­ing with the In­ter­na­tional Day of Elim­i­na­tion of Violence against Women in­tended to re­mind ev­ery Bhutanese that home is a safe place and that there should be no room for violence.

In Thim­phu the cer­e­mony was graced by Her Royal High­ness Princess Kezang Cho­den Wangchuck and themed ‘Or­ange your Neigh­bour­hood’, the walk flagged off from Drolma Lhakhang in Pan­gri Zampa raised an amount of Nu 336,965 as do­na­tion.

‘’ Homes are places that ev­ery­one must feel safe, se­cure and most im­por­tantly loved and not a place for a con­tin­u­ous fight for dom­i­nance over one an­other,’’ said RE­NEW’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tandin Wangmo.

‘’we must be con­cerned, be­cause at RE­NEW, we see cases of violence against women and chil­dren from ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try and we must not let that con­tinue, ’she said.

A study done on women ‘sit­u­a­tion of violence against women in Bhutan re­veals that about two in 100 women aged 15 to 49 years are likely to be sex­u­ally ha­rassed be­fore the age of 15. One in three women of the globe ex­pe­ri­ence phys­i­cal or sex­ual violence in their life time.

The study also un­cov- ered that women aged 15-49 years who had ex­pe­ri­enced violence; they are much char­ac­ter­ized by health prob­lems, emo­tional dis­tress and sui­ci­dal thoughts. Women who fall into the same cat­e­gory were more likely to re­port mis­car­riages and in­duced abor­tions.

The find­ings also states that the per­pe­tra­tors of violence were both within the fam­ily and out­side. How­ever the cases re­ported are not as much as in case of some neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

Emo­tional violence tops the forms of violence in the coun­try. Sex­ual violence is least preva­lent. The study states that the preva­lence of controlling be­hav­iour among in­mate part­ners of women is alarm­ing, but ex­plain­able by the tra­di­tional so­cio- cul­tural norms found in the coun­try.

The study found out that women liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas are more vul­ner­a­ble to violence as poverty still con­tin­ues to be a dom­i­nant char­ac­ter in ru­ral life. The elim­i­na­tion of poverty would ul­ti­mately end violence against women, con­cluded the study.

A GNH sur­vey con­ducted in 2015 have find­ings which state that ma­jor­ity of the 614 re­spon­dents who were found to be un­happy were women. 47.87 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion were found to be nar­rowly happy and 8.75 per cent un­happy.

Pres­i­dent of RE­NEW vol­un­teers, Dolma Drukpa, said that she as a teacher could fig­ure out that most of the chil­dren are liv­ing in homes and com­mu­ni­ties where do­mes­tic violence is widely preva­lent. This she said could leave them with scars.

‘’ see­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the scenes of fa­ther bat­ter­ing the mother and vice versa, they in­tend to per­ceive that it is the way of life and repli­cate the same when they be­come adults,’’ she said.

Tsh­er­ing, a 17 year old girl who took part in the walk said that she feel priv­i­leged to be the part of cam­paign as it is im­por­tant that ev­ery Bhutanese are ad­dressed of how im­por­tant it is to elim­i­nate violence from the so­ci­ety and make homes more safer and bet­ter place to be.

The walk which was ini­ti­ated by RE­NEW ended at clock tower square and sim­i­lar pro­grams were or­gan­ised in 20 Dzongkhags on that par­tic­u­lar day.

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