A Continued Call to Action to Stop Violence Against Women

Music Features
Share Tweet Submit Pin

When a 14-year-old Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai was attacked by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school last October, it proved to be a shot heard around the world. The teen suffered a bullet wound to the head, but has since recovered her strength and is now heralded as a leader in the movement to bring education to every girl. Her message: We won’t accept violence.

As the 102nd anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8th approaches, women—and men—across the continents are joining their voices in unison to echo the same sentiment: We must all commit to end violence, rape and abuse.

From female journalists being sexually assaulted in Egypt to our own politicians publicly stating they believed only some allegations of rape to be ‘legitimate,’ 2012 sometimes seemed like a setback for women’s rights. The gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old female physiology student in India and a 17-year-old girl in South Africa has sparked a ripple of anger that has spread across the globe. Sadly, these are not exceptional cases; they are the tip of the iceberg. We can’t continue to ignore the fact that women aged 15 -44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined.

Yet, there is hope. In the wake of such atrocities, men and women have united to stand for equality and create change. We know the support of men and boys is also an important part of the solution, and that we’re more powerful when we all stand together. Around the world, bells have chimed, people have converged in peaceful protest, communities have congregated online, and men and women have crowded in the street to dance—all in the name of change. In 2012 the power of the Internet and social media gave us an opportunity to unite. 2013 could provide the moment to act.

We are standing collectively and saying “we won’t accept violence”. Everyone has a role to play. We can say enough is enough to violence against women and girls. We can provide better support for the survivors of abuse. We can ensure young people are educated about healthy relationships and we can challenge sexism when we encounter it. We want to turn up the volume, so let’s make our voices heard on International Women’s Day—and every day.

—Annie Lennox, Activist and Founder of the EQUALS coalition
and Elton John, Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Signatories:
Helene Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA
co-signing with Muhammad Musa of CARE India
Keira Knightley, Actor
Barbara Broccoli, Producer
Sarah Brown, Writer and Activist
Eve Ensler, Activist, Tony Award Winning Playwright, and Founder of V-Day
Afshan Khan, CEO of Women for Women International
Juliet Stevenson, Actor
Zainab Salbi, Writer and Activist
Anouskha Shankar, Musician and Composer
Joe Wright, Director
Beverley Knight, Musician
Emeli Sandé, Musician