I stepped into the airport transfer vehicle in the Solomon Islands to head to the airport and catch a plane to Papua New Guinea.
I was the only passenger in the vehicle and the driver asked, conversationally, “who do you work for?” “The Global Fund for Women,” I said.
“And what does your organization do?” he asked. “We support women’s organizations in developing countries to deal with issues in their community such as women’s and girls’ access to education, training and jobs. Also their access to sexual and reproductive health services as well as addressing violence against women and ensuring their safety and security. We support women to advocate for their rights.”
“Well, women here have themselves to blame. They dress like they are asking to be raped, with the short skirts and dresses many of them wear and all of that bare skin. It’s natural for a man to grab them if they dress like that.”
16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign in November each year where thousands of organizations across the globe are demanding an end to violence in their communities. This includes peaceful demonstrations in many countries to call for an end to gender-based violence and appeals to governments to respond, protect, and prevent violence against women.
Except that here in the Solomon Islands, where I’m visiting Global Fund for Women Grantee Partners and advisors, I heard that last year during the 16 days campaign, a Solomon Islands woman who joined the demonstration here was killed for her participation. This year, I was told, another woman was killed before the 16 days commenced.… Continue Reading