It’s Not OK to Be Silent on Gender-Based Violence


This page in:

The recent gang rape in India alarmed all countries in South Asia. A 23-year-old woman was gang-raped by five men on a bus in New Delhi. Some of the offenders had jobs (bus driver and assistant gym instructor) and one was a juvenile. The victim failed to survive the trauma. This incident resulted in a public outcry for justice, and the media still report statements exposing public officials who are insensitive and lack awareness of the social and economic costs of gender-based violence. Do we have to wait for such a violent incident to occur to start acting?

It is our individual and collective responsibility to make sure that we do not witness any such dramatic incident in the future in our country, city, or neighborhood. It is truly up to each one of us to take responsibility, talk openly about it and say NO. Consider:

  • In Bangladesh, every week more than 10 women suffer from an acid attack.
  • In India, 22 women are killed each day in dowry-related murders.
  • In Nepal, 77% of the episodes of violence against women are reported as being from within the family.
  • In Pakistan, more than 450 women and girls die every year in so-called “honor killings.”
  • In Sri Lanka, 78% of victims of grave sexual abuse (seduction, rape, and incest) were girls, especially those under 16 years old.

There are high costs associated with this situation: the value of goods and services for treatment and prevention, the psychological costs post-trauma, and economic and social multiplier effects such as reduced productivity and intergenerational transmission of violence.

This issue can no longer be swept under the rug as a domestic issue or personal issue or a United Nations human rights issue. It’s not OK to be silent until it happens to someone you know or someone in your own country. It’s about time we break the silence and culture of denial and blame. The shame falls on all of us, whether a woman, a husband, a policymaker, a youth, or a child.

Let us work together to improve our legal frameworks, public systems (police, shelters, counseling) and continue to fight for fair women’s economic and social participation. Let us include gender sensitization in school curricula and teacher training programs; this is where it starts. Let us make public transport safe and accessible for women and train health care workers on early detection of domestic violence. Let’s talk openly to our children and friends about gender-based violence.

South Asia is home to 26% percent of the world’s youth population, and 20% of South Asia’s population is between the ages of 18-25, according to U.N. population data. So let’s start right now:

How best can the youth of South Asia work together to end gender-based violence?

Send us your ideas in response to "What will it take to end gender-based violence in your country?"

Your idea can be no longer than 140 characters. Exciting prizes await the best idea. We are all looking forward to very innovative ideas.

For more information on how to enter and complete eligibility rules, click here.


Diarietou Gaye

Vice President and World Bank Group Corporate Secretary

Joe Qian
February 27, 2013

Hi Sagolsem,

The link for participation with details is available here.…

Sagolsem Inaobi Singh
February 27, 2013

Dear World Bank Team,

I on behalf of our NGO " The Socio-Economic Development Association" Manipur based Indian NGO would like to participate your online competition .

So you are requested to send the details and link for participation.

Look forward to hearing from You.

Sagolsem Inaobi Singh
President /CEO

Outraged mother
February 27, 2013

"A Maldives court has sentenced a 15-year-old alleged rape victim to 100 lashes and eight months under house arrest after she admitted having had premarital sex in a separate incident.

During a police probe into allegations that the girl had been raped by her stepfather, investigators uncovered evidence that she had had consensual sex with another man

The child’s stepfather faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of rape and a murder charge, after he allegedly killed a baby which resulted from his rape of his step-daughter

In September a Maldivian court ordered the public flogging of a 16-year-old who confessed to premarital sex. Her lover was jailed for 10 years."

So where are the Billion people rising and dancing on this issue? I don't see any statistics for this small nation in the article?

Amit Agrawal
February 28, 2013

Hi All:

Eligible Frens in Nepal who do not have internet access , can send their 140 character entry by sms.

Just TEXT it to 5455 . SMS cost Re 1 + tax only [ Works from NTC, NCELL, UTL and Smart Tel in Nepal ]…

Thank You.
Amit Agrawal
Sparrow SMS

March 02, 2013

women empowerment with institutional supports will be initiative to subsquent eradicate atraciity against the women

Nirmalan Dhas
March 06, 2013

While all females were born to females no male is born to a male and the impact of the consequent physiological, psychological l and experiential asymmetries has to be explored and addressed and responded to instead of the currently dominant approaches based on a search for numerical balance, punishment and legal containment.

There is room to suspect that the animosities and antagonisms between the sexes may to a large extent be contributed to by this failure to explore and understand these asymmetries in depth and respond to them effectively through the appropriate modification of primary formative processes and social institutions and their internal processes and the very human identity and modes of being.

The advocacy of this need for deeper study and exploration over the last twenty five years or more has unfortunately met with only volatile rejections and no creative response and the problem continues not only to persist but to increase in its volatility. Perhaps it is not too much to ask that this task be attended to at even at this belated hour and within this critical context wherein the human species is rapidly bringing on its own extinction through the acceleration of global warming and the climate change and volatile weather patterns that are arising as a consequence.

Kumari Sweta
April 01, 2013

It has a been fight since the ages, and there seems no improvement.only forms are changing. In a social system where only men are human beings and women are just another thing that are another necessity to satiate the human needs, how can things change or even improve? so many thinkers and activists have spoken their minds,there ideas, the people even accept those, but hen when it comes to individual families, it is the family honor, prestige, name and everything the onus is on the female members of the family or the group. The biological built has been negatively used against women. Things will change only when everybody is treated as a human being first, who have just different make up. Also bodily functions should not be equated and justified with the stereotype roles prescribed as norms in the society.

Nirmalan Dhas
August 04, 2013

The 'family' itself may be part of the problem and may have to make way for something better. The very architecture of human habitat and human identity may have to change. The content of the interface through which human being in its male and female modes mediates its reproductive functions may have to be replaced with new ones. The problem is far deeper than 'culture'. It reaches down to the very structure of human being.

chat with friends
August 25, 2013

Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your
situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we
are looking to swap techniques with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

February 24, 2015

Yes. Breaking the silence is very important. From those women who are silent and do not tell their story; to those women who see opportunities to help others and do not. This responsibility to protect women does not solely lie with women, but our power is unrivaled and any cohesion/collaboration amongst ourselves, will go a long way towards enhancing the livelihoods of women. In fact, gender-based violence to me extends to issues such as female genital mutilation. We must speak up. It reminds me of the quote (although I'm paraphrasing): First they came for my neighbors and I did not speak up. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up for me.