Op-Ed: The Countdown to an End to the 16 Days of Activism and an End to Gender-based Violence


Author: United Nations Country Team in Timor-Leste

Photo: UN Women/Helio Dearaujo
Photo: UN Women/Helio Dearaujo

English | Tetun

Imagine if we no longer needed the 16 Days of Activism to draw attention to gender-based violence - one of the most widespread human rights violations around the world. Imagine if, in 2030, the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and its Goal 5 target on the elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG), we could commemorate an end to the 16 Days Campaign. Imagine the 25th of November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls) becoming a day to celebrate the milestones achieved to make homes, streets and all spaces safe for all women and girls - regardless of their age, their location, their abilities, sexual orientation or gender identities. Imagine if activism countering discrimination against women and gender inequality (the root causes of VAWG) would be the norm, with visible action and investment 365 days a year. Imagine if the struggle for women and girls to enjoy their right to live free of violence became part of history, in the same way that Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence has now become a memory of times in the past.

What will it take to move these ideas from our imagination into a reality? With more than 1 in 3 married women (37 per cent) in Timor-Leste experiencing violence from their partners in the past year, and more than half of women and men believing such violence is justified, eliminating violence against women and girls by 2030 often seems impossible and unlikely.

But Timor-Leste’s history of resistance and solidarity teach us that with a clear vision and path forward, there is a way to overcome barriers that seem impossible and unlikely. The journey to independence required leadership that is accountable to its people, commitment to invest in the winding and sometimes unpopular resistance, and space for all people – with their diverse identities, to engage and be part of the movement for independence. As with the vision for Timor-Leste’s independence, we must start with the vision that an end to VAWG is possible by 2030.

This vision can be turned into a reality if we all take individual and collective action. It requires each of us to use our power and our voices, even if we have not felt the deep and complex consequences of VAWG in our own lives. We must do more than just commit to non-violence; we must actively take steps to take apart the structures and practices which allow VAWG to continue. Violence against women and girls is growing as a shadow pandemic, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is all around us and up to each of us to choose to identify it and put a stop to it.

Similar to the three fronts of Timor-Leste’s independence struggle, there are four areas of action that can help us put an end to VAWG by 2030 identified in the 2020 theme of the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign for the 16 Days of Activism: "Fund, Prevent, Respond and Collect."

First, we must fund efforts to prevent and respond to VAWG and the women’s organizations and movements that have been working on the frontlines of this struggle for decades. We need to ensure that the 2021 Timor-Leste State Budget allocations for preventing VAWG and providing essential response services can cover the range of commitments in the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence. Development partner investments importantly complement State and civil society efforts, such as the KOICA-UN Together for Equality Programme, the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the Government of Australia’s Nabilan Programme, USAID and other partners’ work. However, efforts to end VAWG must begin with adequate investments by the State at national and municipal levels given that VAWG is a barrier to women’s equal rights and the country’s sustainable development.

Second, we must prevent VAWG from happening in the first place. This involves teaching children that boys and girls have equal value in families, that each child has power over their own body and has the right to feel safe wherever they are. It means supporting young people and couples to build healthy relationships based on respect, where power is shared, and communication is non-violent. It means supporting women to be economically empowered, and socially accepted as income-earners and decision-makers in their homes, communities, and institutions. It means expecting community members and leaders to stand up and speak out against violence against women and girls; and stopping harmful stereotypes that blame women and girls for their experiences of violence.

Third, we must respond to the widespread violence by making sure that quality and essential health, social and justice services for survivors of GBV are maintained and adapted as needed during COVID-19. This means VAWG services (shelters, legal assistance, counselling, health responses) are funded, accessible to young women, women and girls with disabilities, LGBTIQ persons, and adapted to reach women and girls who might not be able to seek support. It also requires key institutions including all Ministries, Universities, companies and corporations working together to support action to prevent and create an environment in which violence against women and girls is not tolerated.

Fourth, we must collect and analyze data that already exists to inform all efforts for EVAWG. This means making sure that crime data is disaggregated by sex, age and disability. It means using data on VAWG reported to health workers, police, women’s organizations and other service providers to allocate enough funds for programmes and support services to operate. This also means that we do not need to collect new data on women’s experiences of VAWG during the pandemic to know that violence is a problem. We must remember that only 20% of women report their incidents of violence to service providers and recognize that the problem is much larger than the numbers reported.

Similar to the struggle for independence working across the three fronts of action, Timor-Leste can make history again by advancing these four areas for a future free of violence.

So, let us not only imagine this future, but invest in change. As individuals, we must call on our leaders to keep this vision high on the national agenda. It must remain central to the country’s development and cannot be moved to the margins of the COVID-19 recovery. As institutions, whether State bodies, the UN or other development partners, we must listen to women and girl survivors, individual advocates and feminist movements. Their experiences are the realities that should guide our policies and programmatic support. Within our communities and across society, we must use our individual and collective positions of power and our space at decision-making tables to work in solidarity for gender equality. A Timor-Leste free of violence against women and girls can become a reality by 2030 and turn gender-based violence into a problem of the past. It requires all of us working together to make this vision a reality for all.

United Nations Country Team in Timor-Leste (December 2020)

Op-Ed: Konta Regresu ba Loron 16 Ativismu no mos Terminasaun ba Violénsia Bazeia ba Jéneru

Author: Ekipa Nasoins Unidas iha Timor-Leste

Photo: UN Women/Helio Dearaujo
Photo: UN Women/Helio Dearaujo

English | Tetun

Imajina se karik ita la presiza ona Loron 16 Ativismu atu dada ema nia atensaun ba violénsia bazeia ba jéneru – violasaun direitus umanus ida ne’ebé luan los iha mundu. Imajina se kuandu iha 2030, tinan ultimatu ba Objetivu Dezenvolvimentu Sustentavel no ninia Objetivu alvu 5 ba eliminasaun ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira, ita bele komemora terminasaun ba Kampaña ba Loron 16. Imajina iha 25 Novembru (Loron Internasiónal ba Eliminasaun Violénsia Hasoru Feto no Labarik Feto sira) sai hanesan loron ida ne’ebé ita bele selebra ita nia susesu ne’ebé mak halo uma laran, estrada no espasu hotu seguru ba feto no labarik feto sira – la depende ba sira nia tinan, lokalizasaun, abilidade, orientasaun seksuál no identidade jéneru. Imajina se kuandu ativismu kontra diskriminasaun hasoru feto no igualdade jéneru (abut ba violénsia hasoru labarik no labarik feto sira) sai hanesan norma, ho asaun no investimentu ne’ebé bele haree iha loron 365 ba tinan ida nia laran. Imajina se kuandu luta ba feto no labarik feto sira atu goza sira nia direitu atu moris livre husi violénsia sai parte istória, hanesan mos maneira Timor-Leste nia luta ba independénsia mak sai ona hanesan memória husi tempu pasadu.

Saida mak ita persiza hodi bele lori ideias hirak ne’e husi ita nia imajinasaun atu sai fali realidade? Dala barak, ita haree katak eliminasaun violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira hanesan inposivel iha tinan 2030 , tanba liu feto kaben-nain 1 husi 3 (37%) iha Timor-Leste hetan violénsia husi sira nia parseiru íntimu iha tinan kotuk, no liu tan metade husi feto no mane fiar katak violénsia hanesan buat ne’ebá bele hetan justifikasaun.

Maibe Timor-Leste nia istória ba resisténsia no solidaridade hanorin ita katak ho vizaun ne’ebé mak klaru no dalan ba oin, ita sei bele hakat liu bareira sira ne’ebé mak ita hare’e hanesan inposivel no la bele atu liu. Dalan ba independénsia presiza lideransa ne’ebé mak ho akontabilidade ba ninia povu, komitmentu atu investe iha prosesu rezisténsia ne’ebé bobar ba mai no dalaruma la hetan apoiu, no espasu ba ema hotu – hamutuk ho ema nia identidade oi-oin, atu envolve no hola parte ba movimentu ba independénsia. Hanesan mos vizaun ba Timor-Leste nia independénsia, ita tenki hahu ho vizaun ne’ebé ita bele termina violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira iha tinan 2030.

Vizaun ida ne’e bele sai realidade se kuandu ita hotu foti asaun individual no koletivu. Presiza ita hotu nia kbi’it no lian, maske ita la sente konsekuénsia fundu no kompleksu ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira iha ita nia moris ida-idak. Ita tenki halo liu tan komitmentu ba naun-violénsia; ita tenke ativamente foti pasu atu sobu estruturas no prátika sira ne’ebé fó fatin ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira atu kontinua. Violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira sai bo’ot hanesan pandemia ida, COVID-19 pandemia halo a’at liu tan. Problema ne’e iha ita nia sorin-sorin no ida ne’e depende ba ita atu identifika no hapara tiha.

Hanesan mos frente tolu iha Timor-Leste nia luta ba independénsia, iha área ha’at ne’ebé mak bele ajuda ita atu hapara violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto iha tinan 2030, ida ne’ebé mak identifika ona iha tema 2020 husi Secretária Jerál Nasoens Unidas nia Kampaña UNiTE ba Loron Ativismu 16: “Fundu, Prevene, Responde no Halibur.”

Dahuluk, ita tenki fundu esforsu sira atu prevene no responde ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira no organizasaun feto nian ne’ebé mak servisu iha liña frente ba problema ne’e iha dékada nia laran. Ita tenke asegura katak iha 2021 Timor-Leste nia alokasaun ba Orsamentu Estadu atu prevene violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto no fornese atendimentu esensiál ne’ebé mak bele kobre komitmentu oin-oin ba Planu Asaun Nasionál ba Violénsia Bazeia ba Jéneru. Investimentu parseiru dezenvolvimentu nian kompleta Estadu no Sosiedade Sivil sira nia esforsu, hanesan KOICA-ONU nia programa Hamutuk ba Igualdade, Inisiativu Spotlight UE-ONU, Governu Austrália nia programa Nabilan, USAID no parseiru seluk sira nia servisu. Maibé, esforsu atu hapara violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira tenki komesa husi investimentu adekuadu husi Estadu iha nivel nasionál no munisipál, ita hatene tiha ona katak problema ne’e sai hanesan bareira ba feto nia direitu igualdade no mos nasaun nia dezenvolvimentu sustentável.

Daruak, ita tenke prevene violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira antes mosu. Ida ne’e involve hanorin labarik sira katak mane ho feto sira bele iha valór hanesan iha sira nia família, katak labarik ki’ik hotu iha podér ba sira nia isin no iha direitu atu sente seguru iha ne’ebé de’it. Ida ne’e tenke suporta joven no fén-la’en sira atu kria relasaun bazeia ba respeitu, fahe podér, no muda komunikasaun sai naun-violentu. Ida ne’e siknifika katak fo kbiit ba feto ekonomikamente, no aseita sira sosialmente hanesan rendimentu-nain no desizaun-nain iha sira nia uma, komunidade no instituisaun sira. Ida ne’e signifika katak espektasaun membru komunidade no lider sira atu hamri’ik no koalia hasoru violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira; no hapara estereótipiku sira ne’ebé mak duun feto no labarik feto sira ba sira nia esperiénsia ba violénsia.

Datoluk, ita tenke responde ba violénsia ne’e liuhusi asegurasaun kualidade no saúde esensiál, sosiál no atendimentu justisa ba sobrevivente ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira atu mantein no adapta hanesan mos presiza ona durante COVID-19. Ida ne’e signifika katak atendimentu ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto (hanesan: uma mahon, asistésia legal, akonsellamentu, responde ba saúde) sei hetan fundu, fasíl ba feto joven, feto no labarik feto sira ho defisiénsia, membru LGBTIQ sira, atu hetan asesu no adapta atu bele to’o mos feto no labarik feto sira ne’ebé mak labele hetan suporta. Ida ne’e presiza instituisaun esensiál sira inklui Ministériu hotu, Universidade, kompañia no korporasaun sira atu servisu hamutuk ba suporta asaun atu prevene no kria ambiente ida ne’ebé la tolera violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira.

Daha’at, ita tenki halibur no analiza dadus ne’ebé mak eziste ona atu informa ba hotu-hotu nia esforsu ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira. Ida ne’e signifika katak asegura dadus krime sira desagregadu ba seksu, tinan, ho defisiénsia. Ida ne’e signifika katak uza dadus husi violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira sei fó hatene ba servidor saúde nian sira, polísia, organizasaun feto no fornesedór ba atendimentu sira atu aloka fundu sufisiente ba programa sira no suporta atendimentu sira atu la’o. Ida ne’e mos signifika katak ita la presiza atu akumula dadus foun ba feto sira nia esperiénsia ba violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira durante pandemia atu hatene katak violénsia ne’e sai hanesan problema ida. Ita tenke hanoin katak só de’it 20% husi feto mak fó hatene sira nia insidente violénsia ba fornesedór atendimentu sira no ita tenke rekoñese katak problema ne’e boot liu fali númeru ne’ebé fó sai.

Hanesan mos luta ba independénsia nia servisu liuhusi asaun frente tolu, Timor-Leste bele halo istória dala ida tan liuhusi aselerasaun ba área haat ne’e atu asegura futuru ida ne’ebé livre husi violénsia.

Entaun, ita labele imajina deit ba futuru ida ne’e, maibé investe ba mudansa. Hanesan ema individu ida, ita tenke bolu ita nia lider sira atu mantein vizaun ás ba ajenda nasionál. Ida ne’e tenke mantein fatin sentru ba dezenvolvimentu nasaun nian no labele muda ba marjen rekuperasaun COVID-19. Hanesan instituisaun, inklui entidade Estadu, ONU ka parseiru dezenvolvimentu seluk, ita tenke rona sobrevivente feto no labarik feto sira, advogador individual no movimentu feminista sira. Sira nia esperiénsia sira mak realidade ne’ebé bele fó mata-dalan ba ita nia polítika no suporta programatiku. Iha komunidade no sosiedade, ita tenke uza ita nia kbi’it individual no koletivu no ita nia espasu atu halo desizaun atu servisu ho solidaridade ba igualdade jéneru. Timor-Leste ida ne’ebé livre husi violénsia hasoru feto no labarik feto sira bele sai realidade iha tinan 2030 no muda violénsia bazeia ba jéneru sai ba problema pasadu ida. Ida ne’e presiza ita hotu nia servisu hamutuk atu halo vizaun ne’e sai realidade ba ita hotu.

Ekipa Nasoins Unidas iha Timor-Leste (Dezembru 2020)