When is a girl the most powerful person in the room? When she decides to be! As part of the Community Speaker Series at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg and our Women’s History Month programming, Consular Officer Karin Ehlert spoke to members of the Eldorado Park Community Police Forum’s “Youth Desk” last week about gender-based violence as a Human Rights Issue. She discussed with the youth the damage it inflicts on individuals, families, communities, and an entire society. She emphasized that gender violence is more than just a crime – she said there is nothing more destructive or disempowering for women than physical, financial, and sexual violence inflicted upon them, along with the deprivation of basic human rights by family, authority, governments, and even
religion. Karin summed it up, saying, “Gender-based violence is an abuse of a person’s most basic and fundamental human rights.” Karin paid particular attention to the critical importance of empowering young girls – how access to education, prevention of teenage pregnancies, and avoiding substance abuse can give young girls the tools they need to be all they can be – including the most powerful person in the room.