Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get Involved: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Nov. 25 was the International Day to End Violence Against Women, and every year that day is the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, which is orchestrated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University.

The theme of this year's campaign:
"Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women" -- looking beyond specific forms of violence to underlying societal structures that permit gender-based violence to exist and persist.

The organizers define militarism “as an ideology that creates a culture of fear and supports the use of violence, aggression, or military interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests.”
Rutgers' website for this campaign has a ton of information, including resources and a Take Action kit you can download. Even though the campaign has been going on for a couple days now, it's not too late to get involved. One of my favorite things I've seen come out of this is the blog 16 Impacts of Sexual Assault. If you can, I recommend checking it out. The International Women's Development Agency also has good information related to this campaign.

Here is what the United Nations Population Fund lists as "16 Ways to Stop Gender Violence." Would you add anything to this list?
  1. Calling for an end to impunity for those who perpetrate violence against women. Both the Secretary-General's UNiTE campaign and our Executive Director's statement make it clear that   violence against women can no longer be tolerated.
  2. Highlighting the need to include involve women in peace and reconciliation processes. This year’s State of World Population report focused on the impact of war and humanitarian crises on women, and on the importance of fully implementing Security Council resolutions that address women’s role in the peace and reconciliation process. See also the Stop Rape Now campaign and  our social media space.
  3. Protecting women and girls in the aftermath of humanitarian crises. Following the earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan, UNFPA played a lead role in setting in place and coordinating displaced women and girls.
  4. Delivering as One to end violence against women. UN agencies, governments and civil society are working together in Burkina Faso, Chile, Fiji, Jamaica, Jordan, Kyrgystan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda and Yemen to support survivors of violence and change the attitudes and structure that perpetuate it.
  5. Engaging boys in their formative year with messages of gender equality. Breakaway, an electronic football game, launched at the time of the World Cup, aims its social messages about respecting girls at 8- to 15-year-old boys.
  6. Calling for an end to female genital mutilation/cutting in a generation. Accelerating Change, the Joint UNFPA/UNICEF programme to encourage abandonment of FGM/C, is setting in motion a dynamic for positive change in communities that support this harmful practice.
  7. Calling attention to sexual violence as an instrument of war. Congo/Women, an international photography exhibition and educational campaign, compels viewers to acknowledge the suffering endured by women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to recognize the human faces behind it. See also this related documentary.
  8. Enlisting sports heroes to speak out against gender-based violence. A public service announcement by football star Sam Eto’o urges men to be champions in life by taking a stand against gender-based violence.
  9. Addressing the needs of women in refugee camps. Refugee camps are intended to be safe havens – but displaced women often face many forms of gender-based violence. UNFPA is part of an interagency team that sends gender advisers to humanitarian settings to ensure that women’s needs are being addressed. See also this related video.
  10. Using culturally sensitive approaches Gender-based violence is a deeply rooted problem that demands strategic, comprehensive and culturally sensitive approaches. In ten countries, UNFPA has applied such approaches and documented the experiences for development practitioners as well as other interested parties. See the multi-media exhibit. See also these case studies.
  11. Highlighting the injustice of child marriage and too-early pregnancy. Child marriage is a human rights violation with social, cultural and economic dimensions, including high rates of maternal mortality and injury.
  12. Working with religious leaders to end tolerance for gender-based violence. UNFPA values the influence of religious leaders in preventing violence within families and reducing maternal mortality. The Fund works hard to build bridges between faith-based practitioners and development practitioners.
  13. Giving people who have lived with violence new channels for self-expression. Around the world, various forms of art – from breakdancing and painting to puppetry and crafts, are used to soothe tormented spirits and teach lessons about war and peace.
  14. Forming partnerships with men to end violence against women. Constructive engagement of men and boys aims to encourage them to play positive roles in the lives of women and girls, while improving their own lives.
  15. Assisting survivors of domestic violence. Women often stay with abusive partners because they have no other place to go. UNFPA-supported shelters offer an alternative. Read the feature story, view a related video.
  16. Documenting the long-lasting effects of rape and torture. The psychological impact of rape – as well as the physical scars – can fester for decades, as portrayed in this feature story and photographs.

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