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Education and economic empowerment are key to ending violence against women

I am fortunate not to have been a victim of violence. For over 25 years, I worked as a local government executive in the prosecutor’s office and court system in the United States. I have seen firsthand the challenges that victims of violence against women face even in an advanced legal system. Everyone in the system struggles with the mix of emotional and legal issues which complicate the process. Often the most difficult, potentially explosive situations police officers encounter are related to intimate partner violence. Violence against women by strangers involves different issues; but also, often is emotionally laden. If a bank is robbed, the bank teller is not asked why she did not act to stop the robbery. Female victims of violence quite commonly are on the defensive with the police and in the courtroom. The legal system must ensure that criminal defendant’s rights are protected which can mean that victim’s rights are not.
It is imperative that all justice partners (judiciary, prosecution, defense, and victims’ advocates) are trained to properly handle the legal issues. However, the legal system is not the answer to violence against women. In the years that I worked in the justice system, I have seen the difference that training for judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys can make in the prosecution of crimes against women. However, the most important changes I have seen in the United State are societal. Although every county must have laws against violence against women and strong legal systems to enforce those laws, cultural changes accomplished through education and economic empowerment will be the best way to end the victimization of women and girls.
My vision for ending violence against women is that every girl and every boy would receive the education that they need to lead healthy, fulfilled lives and that this education would lead to an understanding of the value of every human being regardless of gender, ethnicity or religious affiliation. I believe that education is the key to ending practices that degrade women and girls. Denying education to girls is a form of violence that must stop. Education is a vital component for lifting girls and boys out of poverty. Economic empowerment helps women and girls stand up for their rights. Men and boys who have aspirations and hopes are better able to treat with women with respect and dignity.
My hope is that educational opportunities and economic empowerment will lead to equality for all and an end to gender violence.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

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.
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Beverly Rose's picture

Dear Tressa, Thank you for

Dear Tressa,

Thank you for sharing this story. I have been a sexual/dometic violence advocate for over 10 years on this tiny island 'paradise' in Hawaii. I can relate to the shortcomings of the judicial system all too well, unfortunately. I agree with you regarding education as being key, education and economic empowerment. But something else has to shift the paradigm so that male perpetrated violence is not even an option! So that violence against anyone, male or female, young or old, is a thing of the past. As we work toward that end, let's continue with the education and economic empowerment.

Thank you for what you do. And please keep sharing your stories.
In peace,

Angela Kintu's picture

Couldn't agree more

Dear Tressa,

I couldn't agree more with what you say. The laws to protect women are coloured by the actors of the law. And if those actors have wrong attitudes or ideas, they cannot effectively help women. Keep working, sharing and speaking up. We will get there.


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