Launch of Baap Wali Baat

On the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child, and as part of the second phase of the #ENDviolence campaign launched recently with the slogan #ItStartsWithMe, UNICEF India unveiled the Baap Wali Baat song, which presents a positive scenario free of violence where girls can thrive and develop to their full potential.

“It is a song that stresses the importance of valuing girls for whom they
are, of empowering them through education, protecting them and upholding their role as a human beings and citizens of our society,” said Louis-Georges Arsenault at the launch event.

The anthem of the #ENDviolence campaign talks to men of different age groups, inviting them to follow a role model that decides to stand out of the crowd and to do everything possible to ensure his daughter gets an education, is safe and dreams of a future where she can take her own decisions regarding her life. A father who does not care about the social pressure that other fellows may play on him, as valuing his daughter is his mission.

“Like this man, any man can undertake this mission and do their bit to empower, value and protect their daughter, sister, friend or any girl,” stated Mr. Arsenault.

The International Day of the Girl Child was declared to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year, the theme is Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.

Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, UNWOMEN Representative in India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, referred to the challenges faced by women and girls in India. “There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women and girls is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable. Every woman and every girl has a right to freedom from violence and freedom from fear of that violence. Today is a step towards breaking the silence on this very important issue,” she pointed out in her speech.

Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative in India and Buthan highlighted the importance of investing in and empowering adolescent girls in order to prevent and eliminate t he various forms of violence that adolescent girls experience. “Ensuring the human rights of the girl child and providing quality education and opportunities for a healthy development are critical steps to reach to her full potential. With these investments she is more likely to marry later, delay childbearing, have healthier children and earn higher incomes. Consequently, she can invest in her family, society and the nation. Let every girl be a part of the nation's development agenda and she will do her part," she said.

Besides reinforcing the value of girls in society, the second phase of the #ENDviolence campaign aims at raising awareness about different forms of violence, including physical, emotional, sexual and child marriage. It builds on the idea that every child has the right to a happy childhood free of violence and for that to happen we all play an important role.

Breaking away from social messages that transfer the onus of action to everyone out there, this initiative’s umbrella theme cut across the us and them divide and talk in first person: I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe.

Ending violence against children is a challenging task as often they suffer in silence and many times adults turn a blind eye to the problem. It can only be ended by collective realization and empowerment by speaking out, reporting cases and not adopting violent practices. Surely, this needs to be associated with efforts to: strengthen a comprehensive package services for survivors of violence, including child and women friendly justice, health and counselling services; to raise awareness in all contexts; to ensure safety of women and girls.

"Violence against women and children is one of the most pressing challenges of our times, and I believe that it is our responsibility, as the future of this nation, that we shed light to this issue and help change the structures that facilitate this systemic oppression. It is a pre-requisite for our development, as a society, to help build an egalitarian system where the oppressed half of the population is given their rightful due. I am glad that this campaign is focussing on raising awareness on the same and hope that the ensuing discussions will lead to tangible solutions on ground," concluded Akhil Kumar, Senior Editor at Youth Ki Awaaz.

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