COMMIT, ACT, DEMAND: Unite to end violence against women
25 November, Phuentsholing - Initiated by the UN and in partnership with RENEW, the 2013 campaign on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW) was observed to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls in Phuentsholing.
Dorji Choden, Bhutan’s first woman Minister with the Works and Human Settlement, in her key note statement said the Multiple Indicator Survey 2010 (Bhutan) indicates the acceptance rate of violence against women is as high as 68 percent. Further adding, “This is worrisome and calls for massive education, awareness and comprehensive support system including enabling legal environment and protection.”
United Nations’ Resident Coordinator, Christina Carlson emphasized that more importance needs to be placed on women’s empowerment and gender equality in the face of emerging challenges, more needs to be done. She stressed, “Amongst rural women, 72 percent believe that a man is justified for beating his wife or partner for any one of these reasons- neglecting children, going out without telling him, arguing with him, refusing sex and burning food.” Adding that for the first time, a dedicated outcome on gender and child protection in the UN one program 2014-18 has been approved, “This will support legal and policy frameworks to promote gender equality to prevent gender-based violence.”
According to RENEW statistics about 132 clients availed themselves of the RENEW shelter service in 2013. The most common form of domestic violence reported in the country is physical abuse or battery. The level of tolerance of domestic violence in Bhutan suggests that more needs to be done for women and the girl child’s state in alignment with the principles of Gross National Happiness. The increasing number, though worrying, has helped the UN and RENEW to reach out to victims, the government and development partners to find ways to protect them through various programmes and projects.
The UNFPA State of the World Report “Motherhood in Childhood” was also launched by HM The Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck to commemorate the event. The report highlights the challenges of teenage pregnancy around the world. Her Majesty is the President of RENEW and has been actively involved in promoting social causes, especially those concerning violence against women and children.
RENEW actively promotes gender equality through every aspect of its work. RENEW team is constantly exploring and testing new ideas to find meaningful ways to nurture, support and empower women and girls especially those who are dependent, victims and survivors of domestic violence and trapped in helpless circumstances. Counseling, temporary shelter, legal assistance and need-based provision of vocational training in selected skills and micro-enterprises as a way of providing opportunities to help transform lives of many women, are some of the core services that RENEW currently has on offer to its beneficiaries.