By Yvonne E. Mwende
“Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”, is this year’s theme for the international campaign “16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (GBV) which starts on 25 November 2019 —International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to continue to 10 December 2019 —Human Rights Day.
The campaign focuses on the issue of rape as a specific form of harm committed against girls and women and consolidates action to prevent and end violence against girls and women. The color orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence. It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence, hence it is used as the color of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Global statistics on violence against women show that, on average, 35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence (WHO, 2013, p.2). This figure, however, does not account for all the other forms of violence against women such as sexual harassment and abuse against girls under the age of 15, the damage to children, families, online violence, and the psychological trauma that lasts for years.
It is important to focus on prevention at an earlier age as an estimated 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18 . Research shows that GBV poses a major health, human rights, and development challenge.
With such glaring ramifications posed by the pandemic, I Am My Bodyguard has committed to the prevention of GBV. We train young children mostly between the ages of 6-15, and women, life skills designed to empower them through awareness building, self-esteem, assertive skills and physical self-defense techniques. So far, we have trained more than 1000 children, mostly girls in Kenya and a vast number of women in other countries. We have provided free trainings to children in informal settlements at Wings of Hope Rescue Home, St. Aloys FP Academy in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Kivuli Centre and Ndugu Mdogo Rescue Centre – Koinonia Community, and Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC), also in Mukuru kwa Njenga, one of the largest sums in Kenya.
For us to continue offering the life skills training to more children and women, we need your support. Partner with us with any amount so that together we are able to train more children and women body safety through our programs. The workshops are designed to show the importance of trusting their instincts and how to develop critical thinking skills to understand fear, cultivate assertiveness and not hesitate to protect themselves.
As the world marks 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence for the next week or so, I Am My Bodyguard continues to pave way in taking preventive measures to address GBV. Synergy building, greater attention, investment, and action by everyone is needed to eliminate all forms of GBV.
 The Advocacy Center. “The Facts About Youth Sexual Abuse.” Accessed February 21, 2014, http://www.theadvocacycenter.org/adv_abuse.html.