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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

Heather Plett, who survived a rape by an intruder in her home in Canada, found solace in the fact that men in her life were there to support her. “I believe it was a game-changer for me that men were in my corner along with the women,” she says. “To make real change, rape needs to be seen as a crime against humanity,” she adds. “Anything less than that, and it can be dismissed as a ‘women’s issue’.”

Economic and Social Support for Survivors

“Economic empowerment is a crucial component to stopping violence against women and children,” says Dr. Edonna who found freedom from abuse herself by establishing her own financial independence. Now she helps domestic violence survivors in Jamaica earn a living crafting eco-friendly body products, giving them a viable alternative to returning to their abusers.

“Ideally, there would be the formation of a multidisciplinary task force to protect and care for victims, made up of professionals from psychosocial, legal and health backgrounds,” suggests Andrea Vilela Araujo of Brazil.

Valéria Barbosa da Silva of Brazil echoes a popular sentiment that “welcoming the victim should be prioritized, creating a space of trust and comfort where she can share the pain that she keeps a secret.”

Finding Solace in Voice

“What about the violence of the silence?” pleads Ynanna Djehuty of the US. “Of the cry caught in her throat, the pain in her chest, and the fury in her womb?”

Ynanna struggled for a long time to even use the word rape to describe what happened her. But when she did say the word out loud, it prompted a healing process that has led her to not only claim her own voice, but to become a voice for other survivors. “Even if my voice shakes,” she says, “I will talk about rape.”

The strength of this digital action campaign goes beyond concrete recommendations to the sense of community forged amongst hundreds of voices speaking in unison against violent practices. Every word written and spoken against violence takes power away from the silence and isolation of victimhood. Together, these testimonies send a resounding message to women everywhere: You are not alone.

“There is someone somewhere in the world in the same situation,” advises Jennifer Johnson of the US. “Probably very close to you.”

“In my culture, it is not familiar to express fear, hopes, and ambition in public...” says Asma Asfour of Palestine. “But one needs to start breaking these traditions to initiate the change.”

Mukut Ray shares the story of a 13-year-old girl in India who watched as her mother was shunned and abused by her community simply because she was a widow. The girl Jyoti began by going house to house speaking her mind, gradually prompting changes in the attitudes and treatment towards widows in her community. As Mukut says, “If a young girl can, we also can.”

Yes, the solution will involve new laws and new norms. It will involve major shifts in our political landscape, in our communities, in our families, in the lessons we teach our children. But it can start with one young girl standing up for what’s right. It starts with a man who decides to create a new story that challenges violent masculinity. It starts with all of us creating supportive spaces for survivors to speak and release their pain. It starts with us. And it starts NOW.


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,


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