This year, SIHA Network leveraged on the 16 days of activism as an opportune period to bring the #MeToo conversation to the light – attempting to understand how the gender power imbalance creates opportunities for men to prey on women and girls; promotes a society that ridicules the victims; allows the perpetrators to go unpunished; and accepts governments to sit on the sidelines and watch without taking action.
The last couple of years have seen the propagation of the #MeToo campaign, rallying survivors of sexual and gender-based violence from around the globe to come forward with horrific tales of suffering, humiliation and the abuse of power. Underlying many of these experiences is the ability of the aggressor to use power to set their own rules, attack and go unpunished. The silence that has enveloped these incidents, sometimes for decades, is a direct result of the fear of the possible stigma, shame or violence that could be directed at the accuser, compounding the distress, if she or he comes forward. It is exactly this condition that is exploited by the abuser.
Taking the #MeToo movement further into #HearMeToo, this year –we at SIHA Network commemorated the 16 Days of Activism by carrying out a series of activities as a platform for taking the #MeToo campaign to the next level of action by turning pronouncements of sexual violence into the catalyst for real structural change.