Orange Day Every Day

 

The UN campaign to end violence against women declared November 25 as “Orange Day” – a day for activities and appeals to raise awareness and call for world leaders to fulfill the promises they have made to end gender violence.

But I believe there is a need to take action to stop violence against women in my country every day. Every day, we hear of violence committed against women and girls in Afghanistan, but we rarely hear of any punishment for those who commit it.

Even when the offenders are jailed, they can be released after only a few days. They pay the police to release them. In Persian it is called rishwat and in English it is called a fine.

I sometimes wonder how long it is going to continue. Why can’t it be stopped?

Then I realize, we need more than a change in the laws, we need the help of the police to stop violence against women and girls. We need the support and voice of every individual in Afghanistan.

We need to increase the awareness of girls and women living in rural areas.

We need to encourage girls and women to get an education.

Our efforts can help to make them strong people, who have the courage to speak out and who refuse to tolerate violence against them.

We should fight for the rights of women and girls, beginning with ourselves, our families, and our friends. 

If we fight against violence against women and girls everywhere, our own women and girls will benefit too.

And not just on Orange Day. It is my hope that my people will speak out every day to stop violence against women and girls all over the world, and especially in Afghanistan.

By Yalda N.


Comments

  1. I am with you, dear Yalda. May every day be an Orange Day.

    I was especially struck by your line: “We should fight for the rights of women and girls, beginning with ourselves, our families, and our friends.” Yes, we need to begin with ourselves, in our own homes, on our own streets. Sometimes it’s easy to think that if we’re not somehow making positive change for 10,000 people, then nothing has been accomplished. That all efforts must be big, big, big to be worth anything. But I think that is a fallacy that we need to refute. We are each others’ role models. If we can succeed at making small changes, our positive example can ripple out to the people around us, and they in turn can ripple it out further. That is what I have witnessed before.

    Thank you for writing this, Yalda. I appreciated reading it very much.

    Stacy

  2. Thank you for this, Yalda. Your words have power in them! Keep speaking the TRUTH!!

  3. Very well said. It is an issue for all in the society, not just women and girls…men must have a change in perspective, as well.

    Good piece!

  4. Elizabeth Titus says:

    Dear Yalda,
    Congratulations on your essay!
    It was pleasure working as a mentor and helping you this past month.
    Keep on writing!
    Warmly,
    Liz

  5. Gloria Nixon-John says:

    Dear Yalda: This reads like a speech for the United Nations! Once conditions improve for you, perhaps you should look to become a leader in an organized effort (like this one but even larger). As you know there are some in my country who would take certain rights away from women that generations of American women have fought to get/keep. Yes, even here we must be ever vigilant. But, you know all this, don’t you? I see your hands reaching across the miles and miles and finding my willing hands and heart. Be strong. We are a part of a global sisterhood.

    Gloria

  6. Tilden J Le Melle says:

    Dear Yalda,
    Thank you for your rallying cry to fight for equality. Dominant groups in any society will never freely give up their position of dominance. Equality must be taken by the subordinated. That, of course, means making sacrifices and organization. I am still moved by the vision of the Afgan woman on the cover of National Geographic magazine whose eyes spoke of an inner strength which once released will not be stopped by any opposition. Organize that strength and victor;y will be yours. White dominance in South Africa no longer exist. European Colonialism no longer exist. Segregation in the South USA no longer exists. Change comes through struggle. A Luta Continua.

  7. Albert George Thomas, MD, MS says:

    Greetings Yalda:
    You’ve got insight and this is where change begins!
    George

  8. Niki Mihovilovic says:

    Dear Yalda,
    First off I would like to say that I completely agree with the statement that you make in this essay. This has become a common occurance in Western contemporary society. We relegate certain days or other periods of time as days of activism where everyone is called to donate or do something in the name of a re-occurring problem within our global society. Examples include “earth day”, or breast cancer awareness month. Although these days or months are successful in rallying the people to act they inevitably fail because once the period of time has passed people immediately forget and move on to the next one. It happens time and time again. I agree with you that we need constant action and awareness about what is going on over there in Afghanistan but the problem is, in the U.S. or any other western country, is that we are not there experiencing what is going on. It is far too easy to sit behind a keyboard and type comforting messages to those who are going through what you and countless other women are going through in Afghanistan. I am even doing it right now. The real problem is that we simply do not know how we can help because, in a sense, we have no true, real life, experiential idea about what is going on over there. We are too comfortable with typing messages on a blog, donating money or acting out on certain days or months dedicated to things like this. When you mention our efforts will help these women, what efforts are you referring to? Will simply donating suffice, or should more be done?
    What you are doing is incredible, something that very few women get to do, or even choose to do when they have the option. The world needs more writers like you who have the courage to criticize things like these and are able to show us how to improve them. Thank you.

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