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Leaders of Commonwealth Women Are Committed to Eliminating Sexual and Domestic Abuse

The Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, has issued a call to women leaders to collaborate in the fight against the silent epidemic of sexual and domestic abuse.

At a gathering held in London by forward-thinking female leaders from the Commonwealth countries, she issued the call to protect women and girls from sexual and domestic abuse.

One in three women will experience domestic or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. The pernicious effects these abuses have on survivors, families, communities, and economies serve as a constant reminder that immediate action is needed.

We’ve heard for far too long and far too often that there is no way to stop this… But now, we reject that idea and say, “NO MORE,” because we can do it as a team.The Secretary-General declared, “We have invited you to explore what we can do together and establish a new commitment.”

She said, “so that we may finally deliver a world where no child cowers in the shadows of abuse, and where no woman fears the footsteps behind her.”

The first ladies of the Commonwealth, Maryam Mwinyi of Zanzibar, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow of The Gambia, and Fatima Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, talked about worrying statistics that exposed the predicament of millions of women and girls who are mistreated, abandoned, and sometimes killed in their homes.

Speakers during the discussions provided specific steps that could be taken to help put an end to the violence. These included early childhood education to break down harmful cultural norms, one-stop centers that provide nonjudgmental health, legal, and counselling support, campaigns aimed at men, and legislation that would enshrine equality under the law.

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