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EVAW

This story is part of World Pulse’s Campaign to End Violence Against Women.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.

Learn more about the campaign.

GLOBAL: Ushering an End to Gender-Based Violence

Perpetrators of violence often walk free, and crimes go unreported as women avoid ‘justice’ systems that punish victims instead of the perpetrators. Emi in Tunisia laments of a Tunisian woman who was arrested and charged with public indecency after being gang-raped by police officers.

Upasana Chauhan of India submitted stories about three gang rapes in Haryana state that occurred within a span of 20 days. In these instances, public figures immediately blamed the victims, suggesting girls should avoid going out late and wearing jeans. “It isn't that [law enforcement] can’t see the solution,” writes Upasana. “It is that they can’t see the problem.”

The problem is huge—it is inequality for women across every level of society. In India, that inequality often begins at birth where preference for sons persists, causing girls to grow up without a sense of worth—or to be denied the chance to grow up at all. Gender inequalities extend to education access and to women’s representation in politics and public life, all of which curtail women’s chances to escape violence.

Kabukabu Ikwueme slams the many traditional courts throughout the African continent that do not include any women, and which routinely “deny women equal opportunities before the law.”

“While we wait for our government to get their act together, we can protect our little ones,” says Chioma Agwuegbo who hails from Nigeria, where 13 bills are pending on the rights of women and children.

Changing Minds

Like Chioma, the grassroots women leaders in the World Pulse network do not appear to be waiting patiently for institutions to change on their own. They are busy shaping the next generation and changing patriarchal attitudes at the community level. Education and training–at every age group–emerged from this campaign as a leading solution to ending violence.

“Women need to learn from childhood how to value their dreams and their psychological health,” writes Asma Asfour of Palestine. “They need to feel that their dreams and hopes are in safe hands.”

Family and community leaders also need access to educational resources to become agents of change. “In families, literate women can prove to be the most influential and radical sources of socializing modern peace-building attitudes,” adds Ali Reza Yasa, another male ally from Afghanistan.

Some contributors wrote about the need for sex education so that girls and women are empowered in their bodies. “There is a need to carry a wider effort in educating every member of the community to know his or her own rights,” says Ruun Abdi of Somalia.

And these women aren’t just talking—they’re doing. From Sudan to Vietnam, they are making use of the arts through street plays and drama as a vehicle for education and lasting solutions. They are leading community education projects like Gender Danger in Cameroon which trains communities to prevent violence, in this case in the form of breast ironing. They are creating the opportunities they never had, like Gladys Kiranto who ran away from home as a child to escape female circumcision, and who now provides community-led advocacy and a safe haven for young girls.

Not Without Men

Women who participated in this campaign spoke loud and clear that prevention efforts need to include men too. “Let us not only empower girls, but also talk to our boys about self-awareness and self-respect,” writes Emms from Namibia. . . .

Comments

Ruth Bech's picture

Thank you

It is a great job you are doing, and many valuable opinions you have vocalized. I miss one thing, and that is women addressing the fact that most women's liberation have been about liberty to take part in the mans world. I myself is more radical, I believe that women's traditional work in society should be integrated into the economy/financial system - it would not only benefit women career wise, it would boost the economy. It is amazing that all jobs women contribute with all over the world, does not turn into paid work until somebody else does it. A parenting wage to stay home and raise children is a great way to go for all women who does not want to be a CEO or part of management in some company. It is not discriminatory before it is expected that this core socialization job is done for free, and as long as women are free to choose if they want it themselves. Most western politicians would protest against it, and hide behind immigrant mothers - that immigrants would stay at home instead of getting work outside the home, and prey on the social goods (!). Known arguments in the current gender scheme in my part of the world
It should be tried out anyway, if the politicians are using arguments of discrimination against all forms of parental wage, - I believe the test project should involve in any country a) language skills, b) a minimum of education and c) at least 3 years of work experience from the country you are in. And- women would be free to take more education in the parenting period if they want to, thus raising their value in the out-of-home work arenas.
Giving traditional women's jobs the status it deserves is a fight we sooner or later need to take, or else we are not ending up with gender equality, we will be ending up with emancipation :)

Best regards, Ruth

It's something I've experienced first hand in mid November 1989. I was working on a sheep farm near Christchurch in the south Island of New Zealand. The farm was isolated and the nearest neighbours lived several miles away, so it was a live in job. One evening, the Sheep farmer I was working for, beat me to a pulp, raped me and left me for dead. I was about 3-4 months pregnant at the time and I lost the baby. It had a HUGE impact on my life and almost completely destroyed me. Now I have zero tolerance of violence of any shape, size or form and am doing anything I can to help others who have been abused.

True Unity Accepts Diversity

Sarah Diop's picture

No more Secrets

This is wonderful…I think the more these stories are shared the easier it will be for those of us that have experienced abuse to share theirs. When it’s kept a secret it doesn’t help us or future victims. Thank you to all those brave women and men that shared and are inspiring others towards change.

Wishing you many Blessings,

Sarah

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