So, today November 19th is World Toilet Day. I didn’t think much of it until I read this shocking statistics:
Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.
As someone who is very passionate about protection of the girl child, that last sentence stood out to me. A good, clean and hygienic toilet gives one more than just a proper means of relieving oneself, it also gives women and girls privacy thereby protecting them from rape and abuse.
Here is an excerpt of an article I read online titled ‘Me, Myself And The Loo: A Woman’s Future Can Rest On A Toilet‘ which depicts real life consequences this sad condition.
Geeta has no toilet near her home in northern India; she treks 2 miles in the dark to a field for privacy. Geeta comes from the Indian village where two teenage girls were gang-raped and murdered over the summer while relieving themselves in a field. If Vanessa’s school had private bathrooms, the 17-year-old wouldn’t have to miss class when she’s having her period. In Ecuador, Reverside, 37, wouldn’t have to visit her brother’s house to use his toilet, which is shared by nine other people from different families.
Among the 2.5 billion people without access to a clean and proper toilet — more than a billion of whom defecate out in the open — women and girls are hit hardest. The consequences of such precarious solutions go beyond health. Also at risk are education, employment opportunities, personal dignities, your privacy and your security.
We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why I’m in support of the theme of today’s United Nations World Toilet Day: ‘Equality And Dignity‘. The campaign will inspire action to end open defecation and put spotlight on how access to improved sanitation leads to a reduction in assault and violence on women and girls.
It is a day to do something about it.