Ruto ought to be at the forefront of global fight against violence

President William Ruto. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto has an opportunity of leaving a legacy by joining the call for a global treaty on violence against women and girls.

A report released by the global women's rights advocacy coalition, Every Woman Treaty, details the horrific rise in violence occurring around the world - global crises such as climate change, armed conflict and the abusive use of technology are driving a rise in violence against women and girls across the world. Similarly, the volley of reports and papers released to mark International Women's Day this year indicated that the plight of women's rights remains grim globally.

The situation in Kenya mirrors this sad state of affairs. Violence against women and girls continues in our country almost unabated.

A growing global movement of women's rights activists is calling on world leaders to advocate for a new treaty to curb violence against women and girls, pointing out that this silent worldwide pandemic affects not just women, but is eroding societies as a whole. Besides its devastating consequences to families, its economic impact is just as significant; intimate partner violence costs nations more than conflict and terrorism combined.

It is as obvious as it is tragic that the patchwork of protective measures that are expressed at best at the regional level do not make up for the lack of a binding international framework specific to violence against women and girls, leaving us trying to plug gaping holes in the normative, geographic and enforcement landscape related to women's safety.

To address this, working groups and other experts of the proposed treaty summarised current data and best practices into five proven interventions - legal reform, training and accountability, violence prevention education, and services for survivors, and providing each with adequate funding and data and monitoring for compliance. It is a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to ending violence against women and girls, leading to the successful implementation of the treaty and stronger and healthier communities.