The victim is one among thousands of unnamed women who fell prey to violence against women not just in India but in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Gender-based violence robs off women of their rights, healthy well-being, and the opportunity to reach their full potential and dreams among others.
Gender-based violence happens in all areas of society from individuals, family, community up to the state level. Domestic violence, the most rampant form, happens inside the home and usually perpetrated on women by their own husband/partner which includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Various forms of violence are also common in public areas, schools and workplaces. Rape is among the most dehumanizing and vicious form of GBV. But the most devastating is when the state fails to sensitize the issue and instead tolerates the act due to traditional, cultural and religious norms.
Violence against women not only cause serious harm to women and their families but also paints a nation an ugly face and brings detrimental impact in its social and economic development. Recognizing these adverse effects, AFPPD has been working with parliamentarians and other stakeholders to end violence against women through active policy advocacy in 25 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
It is disheartening that so many women’s lives have been lost or ruined from pervasive incidence of gender-based violence. We, as individuals and as an organization must strive to protect our daughters, wives, granddaughters, mothers, grandmothers, nieces and female friends from any form of violence.
The AFPPD stands in solidarity with the people of India and the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD) in ensuring that justice will be served on the 23-year old Indian woman gang-raped inside a moving bus in New Delhi. Much more, we will strive to look into policies that must strengthen empowerment of women and the state’s resolve to protect women from any form of violence.
May this painful incident serve as a call to action for policymakers particularly parliamentarians in Asia-Pacific countries to review their policies and look at the welfare and protect the rights of women and girls and ensure that laws are in place to protect them against any form of gender-based violence.