Kazakhstan: 16 days of activism against gender-based violence

ASTANA (TCA) — On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, the nation-wide campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” started in Astana with the support of the United Nations in Kazakhstan, National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan and the National Volunteer Network.

The campaign will continue in 17 regional centers of Kazakhstan with participation of the activists from the civil society organizations, representatives of the local authorities and education institutions. The offline events include flash mobs and interactive theatre sessions, dedicated to the issues of violence, discrimination, victimisation, and stigmatization united by the theme #HearMeToo: End Violence against Women.

Recently global movements like “#MeToo”, “#TimesUp”, “#NeMolchi” has generated public conversations around sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women. For every high-profile case that receives media coverage, there are also countless women around the world who have been speaking out and taking action. The theme #HearMeToo: End Violence against Women has been chosen to amplify the diverse voices of women’s rights defenders and activists from around the world, to listen to and believe survivors, to end the culture of silencing and to unite for the good of women and girls.

“Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. It is a moral affront to all women and girls, a mark of shame on all our societies and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. At its core, violence against women and girls is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women. It is an issue of fundamental human rights,” Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, stated in his message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

“We still do not know the true extent of violence against women, as the fear of reprisals, impact of not being believed, and the stigma borne by the survivor—not the perpetrator—have silenced the voices of millions of survivors of violence and masked the true extent of women’s continued horrific experiences,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, stated in her address on this international day.

The problem of violence remains topical for all the countries around the world. It is a violation of human rights and freedoms, including the right to health and integrity. The origins of all forms of violence are gender inequality and discrimination.

Kazakhstan’s statistics shows that every third crime in Kazakhstan in 2017 was committed against women, including 83% of all forced sexual acts. The prevalence study on violence against women shows that 17% of Kazakhstani women, who ever had an intimate partner, have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence; every fifth woman has experienced physiological violence; almost quarter of women have been victims of all three forms (physical, sexual and psychological) of intimate partner violence at some point of their life.

The campaign started on November 25, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and finishes on December 10, on International Human Rights Day.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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