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Violence against Women and Girls Imposes Large-scale Costs on Families, Communities and Economies, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

November 25 is the start of the United Nation’s 16-day campaign to raise awareness against gender-based violence

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A woman covers her mouth with a tape that reads "My sexuality is not your conjugal right" during a demonstration to support International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 25, 2016. VOA

Much remains to be done to turn the awareness of violence against women and girls into meaningful change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

“Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies,” Ban said in a statement Friday marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. “When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships.”

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November 25 is the start of the United Nation’s 16-day campaign to raise awareness against gender-based violence. It ends December 10, Human Rights Day.

Resources, funding lacking

Violence against women and girls is not only a human rights violation but also an obstacle to sustainable development, Ban said. He lamented that efforts to address such violence, while having strong political commitment, suffer from lack of resources, including funding.

Watch: Reversing the Trend by artist and activist Rand Jarallah

“The statistics almost defy belief. What is even harder to understand is why: why men prey on women and girls; why societies shame the victims, why governments fail to punish deadly crimes, why the world denies itself the fruits of women’s full participation,” Ban said at a U.N. Women-hosted Orange the World event in New York.

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“This is truly a matter of life and death,” he added. “In some countries, as many as 70 percent of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. In some countries, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims.”

Ban said gender-based violence also results in lost productivity for businesses and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health care agencies. The net result, he said, is “enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.”

Ban is observing the U.N. day for the last time as U.N. chief. Incoming U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres takes over January 1, 2017.

Students wearing masks pose with the word "Enough" written on their hands during a performance to commemorate victims of gender violence, during the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Oviedo, Spain Nov. 25, 2016. VOA
Students wearing masks pose with the word “Enough” written on their hands during a performance to commemorate victims of gender violence, during the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Oviedo, Spain Nov. 25, 2016. VOA

Marches mark the day

Around the world, dozens of protests were held Friday to mark the day.

In Turkey, protesters, mostly women, in Istanbul and Ankara spoke out against a recent proposal in parliament that critics said would legitimize child marriages. The proposal was withdrawn in its current form earlier this week and submitted for review by a parliamentary committee after mass protests last weekend.

“They discussed a proposal (the child marriage bill) last week. We came together as 137 organizations to raise our voices against the laws against women that AKP (Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party) tried to inaugurate. We will tell them that we won’t let the parliament pass the bills that are against women and children,” Meltem Kolgazi, an academic, said.

Thousands protest in Buenos Aires

In Latin America, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Buenos Aires to protest horrific violence against women, a long-ignored issue in the region. About 200 women have been killed by former or current partners so far in 2016, AFP reported.

Thousands also marched in Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala, with another planned Saturday in Peru, according to the French news agency AFP.

A study by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) found that domestic violence, which is illegal in Latin America, is vastly underreported. A PAHO study said only 14 percent of female victims report violent crimes they have suffered.

A woman waits for a protest to start in Mexico City, Nov. 25, 2016. VOA
A woman waits for a protest to start in Mexico City, Nov. 25, 2016. VOA

Activists call for women’s strike March 8.

Events focused on eliminating gender-based violence were also held this week in Israel, Australia, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Buenos Aires protester Dora Machicado, 42, told AFP that equality for women would translate to less violence.

“Economic independence frees us from the violence of machismo,” she said.

Activists are also calling for a worldwide women’s strike March 8, 2017. Organizers said strikes are planned in Argentina, Germany, Italy, Russia, Israel, South Korea and Mexico. (VOA)

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Actress Sunny Leone: Violence is Something That our Children See and Learn

"I do not endorse violence," says Actress Sunny Leone

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Sunny Leone
Actress Sunny Leone took a neutral stance on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) violence. Wikimedia Commons

Actress Sunny Leone took a neutral stance on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) violence by saying that she doesnt want to comment on the anti-CAA protest and fee hike issue in JNU, adding that she is pro-peace and she hopes that all concerned parties will come out with a solution on the matter.

“I don’t want to share my opinion on an actual thing that people are fighting over. I feel there are many things that we can do if we put our foot down, if we speak to each other and stop the violence, because violence is something that our children see and learn. Violence doesn’t affect just one person. It affects the entire family because it also emotionally hurt them. I am pro-peace and I do not endorse violence. I am sure that there will be some solution that can come without violence,” said Sunny, while interacting with the media at a promotional event, when she was asked to comment on Sunday’s attack on JNU students by unidentified masked men.

Sunny Leone
“I think it’s time that we start respecting mother earth and giving back to her basically what she has given us,” says Sunny Leone. Wikimedia Commons

At the event, Sunny also spoke about the devastating wildfires in Australia. “I think we have created this path of destruction, and wer are destroying things that are so beautiful in our world. I do believe that we have the ability and the means to clean up our cities and homes. I feel we have to keep our beaches clean, and provide education to children about what it means to throw your thrash in the garbage box.”

She continued: “I think it’s time that we start respecting mother earth and giving back to her basically what she has given us, which is the ability to live on this planet. I know we practice certain things in our homes that help the environment, and I really hope that people start paying attention to these things because it is only going to get worse.”

Also Read- Actress Tanushree Dutta Compares Nana Patekar to Asaram Bapu

Talking about the web series “Ragini MMS: Returns” season 2, which released on December 18, she said: “I am really happy that people have liked season 2. I haven’t got the chance to see it. I have seen only my portions while dubbing but I have heard nice things about it. I wish success to Zee5 and ALTBalaji and I hope it does well for them.”

“Ragini MMS Returns Season 2” features real-life couple Divya Agarwal and Varun Sood. Sunny Leone plays a paranormal expert in the series. (IANS)