RENEW awareness walk to eliminate violence against women
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.