“In the last analysis, human security means a child who did not die, a disease that did not spread, an ethnic tension that did not explode, a dissident who was not silenced, a human spirit that was not crushed.”
— Mahbub ul Haq
Mahbub-ul-Haq coined the concept of security and classified it into categories of economic, food, health, environment and personal security. Haq outlines human needs for security, and in a world where these needs are not readily available, free, or equally distributed, conflict arises.
When looking at safety issues, it becomes important to consider what motivates persons to act in ways which threatens the safety of others. In a persons bid to attain self-actualization, there is an experience of survival of the fittest, which pushes people to fight or flee.
Conflict, in some cases, is a necessary interaction for development. And in most cases, it retains an animalistic selfishness, whereby one has to ‘overcome’ another in order to attain their need.
The concept of safety is vast, and to narrow down issues affecting safety of girls will lead to innumerable issues.
Based on the understanding of Safety being both Internal and External (SAFIGI, 2017), we were able to pinpoint key issues threatening the wellbeing and protection of the female gender in our changing world.
Internal Safety pertains to peace of mind, heart, and emotions. This form of safety is intangible, meaning, it exists but cannot be touched. It is rather felt or experienced. The world we live in is influenced by things we cannot see or touch, or even experience in some cases, such as molecules, the concept of time, sunlight and the air we breath. These intangible factors affect the quality of life, and indeed, allow for life itself to exist. When trying to understand safety and safety concerns in regards to the human individual, it would be grossly shortsighted to consider only things or experiences that can be touched.
Internal Safety is difficult to grasp if the environment does not support a sound mind, or if emotions are strained by physical factors. Heart health, the emotional heart, is correlated to the mind and the physical heart, to the point that an emotional experience directly affects the heart rate and health. This maintains why External Safety cannot be ignored on the basis Internal Safety has been attained.
External Safety is protection of the body, other person, and environment. The environment is relevant to the Earth as our dwelling place and the property we own. There are many safety issues in relation to the physical body, it being an individuals portal to the worldly environment. In addition to our own body, human nature requires interaction. Other persons affect our wellbeing, both internal and external, therefore the safety of others affects our own safety. The unselfish aspect of safety, that being safety of other persons even in instances when their lack of safety does not affect our own, is not always considered when thinking of individual security yet it is quite important especially when we think of the human being as a struggling-caring being in accordance with Charles Malik and how our world is becoming a global village.
THE INTER-CONNECTEDNESS OF SAFETY
The world around us is built on creativity, ideology and theories all stemming from the mind. What we do and how we act is premeditated internally before it is executed. For example, to travel to work, we think of where to walk, which bus to take, and then which seat to fill, and then which door to use, how much money to spend and whether we will buy lunch or prepare it ourselves. What starts from a mental level is executed on the outside, and we become so fluid in these actions it does not seem we are thinking about it at all.
Safety is underestimated in the way we live our lives. When taken in the context of internal and external safety, it becomes clear that safety is not merely an action to protect oneself from danger but a way of life—a survival instinct. It also becomes easier to categorize safety related concerns and thus solve them with that understanding of its true origin.
External factors can easily affect internal wellness. The danger with internal safety is that it affects everyone to different degrees, and not all persons have the understanding of the safety cause and effects in their lives. Likewise, internal safety can affect external situations causing conflict which affects external safety. With this understanding, it brings to light a more difficult issue. As we will review in our currently situation, internal safety affects every human being and yet, safety education pertaining to this is marginal for both males and females.
The society we live in preys on the silent, voiceless, and the ‘perceived’ weak. In an atmosphere where cultural norms or habits marginalize a particular group because of their abilities or non-abilities, the safety concerns affecting them become steep compared to the privileged. There are instances where the privileged are few and others where the majority gain benefits over a few who are sidelined.
The Safety Report by SAFIGI is a two-fold Open Data document on 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The first part of the Safety Report is a Research Paper. The second part is a detailed Data Analysis.
The Safety Report Research paper is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The paper starts with an abstract before focusing on subjects in the key regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. A total of 7 Research papers make up the safety Report (sans the introduction and conclusion), including:
- The psychological effect of mass sexual harassment on girls in Egypt (P.24) by Heba Elasiouty.
- Safety concerns in relation to social media: Growing up female in an increasingly digital world (P.45) by Karin Temperley.
- Psychosocial challenges faced by parents raising children with physical disabilities in Oshana region (P.68) by Misumbi Shikaputo.
- Gender-based violence and subsequent safety challenges experienced by Rohingya women (P.119) by Shucheesmita Simonti.
- LGBT policies and overall safety in Brazil (P.141) by Alinne Lopes Gomes.
- Silent voices‘: Violence against the female body as consequence of machismo culture (P.177) by Steffica Warwick.
- America‘s Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations (P.208) by Dr. Christina Sisti.
The Safety Report Data Analysis is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls. Results and Outcomes based on Zambia, Egypt, USA, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Namibia.'
SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a volunteer-based and youth led NGO registered in Zambia, implemented the Safety Report in order to understand the multifaceted concept of safety and how it applies to the female gender in diverse settings. And therefore, further prove safety is intrinsic, and that vices in society stem from an intimate level of the human being before its manifestation. This way, when we create safety solutions, whether it be in a developing nation, conflict zone, refugee camp, or patriarchal society, the problem is resolved from a deeply rooted cause. Such that, we treat the disease itself and not mere symptoms.
This study is as a result of collaborative effort pursued in the spirit of volunteerism via UN Online Volunteers.