UNICEF’s latest report says that one in four adolescent girls experience physical violence. This report, ‘a compilation of data revealing the magnitude of violence against adolescent girls’ lists down some alarming statistics –
- Almost one quarter of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (approximately 70 million) report being victims of some form of physical violence since age 15.
- Around 120 million girls under the age of 20 worldwide (about 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts, and one in 3 ever-married adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 (84 million) have been victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners.
- Data suggest that in some countries, as many as seven in 10 girls aged 15 to 19 who had been victims of physical and/or sexual abuse had never sought help: many said they did not think it was abuse or did not see it as a problem.
- Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15.
The enormity of these facts and figures is overwhelming. Needless to say, there’s an urgent need to raise awareness about violence against girls and educating people about their right to education. To this effect, UNICEF’s new anthem ‘Baap Wali Baat’ is sure to strike a chord with the people.
Launched on the eve of International Day of the Girl Child – October 11 – ‘Baap Wali Baat’ is an anthem that presents a violence-free scenario, where girls are given all the freedom and equal opportunity to flourish. A part of UNICEF India’s #ItStartsWithMe #EndViolence campaign, this anthem aims at inspiring all the fathers to nourish and help their daughters to blossom into strong and independent individuals. The song also pays tribute to those fathers who go all out in support of their daughters’ dreams and aspirations.
And what a coincidence it is that this anthem is unveiled on a day when the Nobel Peace Prize for the year has been awarded to two leading child rights activists – Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay, for their relentless struggle for children’s rights. One can only hope that developments such as this pave way for a better future for not just the girl child but for all the oppressed and deprived children in general.
Coming back to Baap Wali Baat, this song has the ‘baat’ to make people aware of the challenges faced by girl child and come forward to pledge their support to the cause of #EndViolence. Let us too spread the word and share our support for this campaign. The #EndViolence #ItStartsWithMe campaign aims at raising awareness about different forms of violence, including physical, emotional, sexual and child marriage. Join hands and take a step to #EndViolence against children. I can #EndViolence because #ItStartsWithMe.
Observed on October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child was declared to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year, the theme is Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.