From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. This year’s theme for 16 Days of Activism is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All!“. Fortunately for Zimbabwe, girls are allowed to go to school and wouldn’t be bombed for it. But there are other factors that make school an unsafe space for girls that could be just as detrimental.
School needs to be a conducive environment for pupils to maximise their potential. Anything that may make parents uneasy when they drop off their kids at school or anything that may make a child disheartened to attend school qualifies as factors that make school unsafe. This could be anything from health issues such as the menstrual cycle to bullying to sexual harassment.
Comedian Eddie Griffins once said, “It feels like every time children go to school or church somebody is tryin’ to stick a d#$k in them.” This would be funny if it wasn’t so true. This is an issue that affects both girls and boys. There are less cases being reported for boys abused in school because the effects are less visible as opposed to girls that could get pregnant.
As we celebrate 16 days of activism we need to be more vigilant as parents and guardians to notice the changes or warning signs that children put out when they are having trouble in school. Not only that but the organisations that claim to handle these things should actually put in more work to help the people that come looking for help. I went to a school that had a counsellor and that may have saved my life because when I started to act out my Senior Mistress sent me to get counselling in the afternoons. And a stitch in time and such.