Illustration by Sunita
Freedom of opinion and expression is a human right that is not distributed equally and fairly.
We have seen the persistent push to suppress and control women’s voices, agency, and experiences in our everyday lives. This silencing and controlling of women’s autonomy is done violently (ex. domestic violence, hate speech, rape threats, harassment, etc.) yet sometimes it is done subtly (ex. moral and tone policing, all-male panels, etc.). While people from all gender have been the basis of inequality in the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, but women, girls, LGBTQ persons face specific challenges rooted in the patriarchal structure that often benefits heterosexual cis men.
Yet women still speak, despite their voices being ignored, belittled, mocked, interrupted, or shut down because we know the importance and power of speaking up, of making visible of what had been ignored. We know too well that silence is what allows people to suffer without recourse, silence is what emboldens the harm doers and allows people to escape accountability.
This 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, here is a message from us and to all the women who have been speaking up or are still trying to find their voice. May our courage and persistence be the testimony of our resilience in building this perennial movement of strength.
In solidarity always,