Salon: Men & Boys, Women & Girls:
Gender Based Violence
At our first Salon of 2016 on 2 February we were thrilled to have Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England fly in to Geneva to be our Guest of Honor.
During a 24 year career, Nazir prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the UK. And the present high profile of several subjects dear to the heart of the Salon owe a considerable amount to Nazir's tireless 'campaigning' on the issues. He led nationally on several legal topics including Violence against Women & Girls, child sexual abuse, and honour based violence. He advises UK government ministers and trains lawyers and judges from other countries. He had responsibility for more than 100,000 other prosecutions each year. Parenthetically he has also had the honour of being the only lawyer to ever prosecute a case before the Queen.
Called “An inspiring figure, forensically intelligent” by The Times in an Editorial, he flew in fly in to address us as our Guest Catalyzer on the theme of Men & Boys, Women & Girls: Gender Based Violence.
After galvanizing remarks, the curated roundtables consisting of high level Genevans from Ambassadors to Directors focused on the critical touch points highlighted in Nazir’s talk. A talk which was conceived to promote collaboration and action from the room.
The core of work that must be urgently addressed:
- Early education as a means of prevention
- Legislation as a means of messaging
- Building a business case for action
- Zero tolerance by police and prosecutors
- Media strategies
- Male role models
I am a boy. Sadly, to many a boy is seen as a blessing whilst a girl is seen as a burden.
For some, they never find out what a girl can be because they are aborted before birth as the family only wants a boy. For others, they are killed or buried alive just after birth because the family only wants a boy
Many more are neglected by their families, denied even a basic education, treated as cheap slave labour before they are forcibly married off while they are still children
Many suffer at the hands of man’s obsession with the “great wall of vagina” refusing to give them any choices, controlling their every move, cutting off their clitoris’ and sewing them up so that their genitals are mutilated but that so their future husbands can control their feelings.
Millions more are abused physically and sexually by men. Exploited across countries and between countries. Destined to live a life where men make all the rules and women have to obey them. Where male power and control is all we protect at the expense of basic human rights.
Whist we allow foeticide, infanticide, early & forced marriage, the denial of opportunity and education, domestic abuse, sexual violence, trafficking, driven suicide and murder of women and girls then all of us suffer with them.
Extremism towards women and girls is not confined to so called caliphates, it is found everywhere and anywhere you look. Gender terrorism pervades every society though men never call it that, because it will then need a national and international response.
Educate a boy and you educate a boy. Educate a girl and you educate a family, a whole community. Education sets you free. Education is not about what you learn, but enables you to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t know. It opens doors, opens minds and opens opportunities. It is like the passing of the soul from one generation to the next.
Enhance the rights of the girl and you enhance the wealth of your nation. Deprive her of rights and you damage us all
Nazir Afzal OBE