Prevention of gender-based violence
Prevention plays a central role in efforts to eradicate and remove the root causes of gender-based violence. Youth work and human rights activism can make an important contribution to such preventative work.
This might include:
- Work to change attitudes, or questioning gender roles and stereotypes that make gender-based violence acceptable in society. This can be done through organising campaigns, training, peer-to-peer education, or by including a gender equality dimension in all aspects of education policies;
- Providing accessible information about what gender-based violence is, about its different forms, possible remedies and existing support measures. This might include producing leaflets or websites, working on social media campaigns, creating TV spots, or making information available in youth centres and schools;
- Training professionals to be able to identify, address and respond to gender-based violence. This might include providing training for teachers, youth workers, social workers, trainers, the police, the justice system, health care providers, etc.;
- Revealing the scale of the problem: gender-based violence is rarely discussed, and data at a local or regional level is often not available, or is incomplete. Many victims choose not to report incidents, and certain forms of violence (e.g. sexist hate speech) may not be punishable by law. It is very important that the extent of the problem is made clear;
- Awareness raising campaigns and policies to address gender inequality and gender-based violence can also help to raise the importance of the problem in the public eye. Such campaigns might use traditional means, such as posters, leaflets and websites, but might also utilise social media and flash mobs, for example;
- Empowerment programmes which strengthen the self-esteem and autonomy of those sections of the population which are more likely to be at risk of violence;
- Furthering gender equality and human rights education for everyone.
The four campaigns below are meant to be examples of global actions and initiatives which may support local action by strengthening the global dimension of the issues and the action.
UN Women, in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) has developed a global non-formal education curriculum to engage young people in efforts to prevent and end violence against girls and women.
“Voices against Violence” is a co-educational curriculum designed for various age groups, from 5 to 25 years.
It provides young people with the tools and expertise to understand the root causes of violence in their communities, to educate and involve peers and others in the community to work to prevent such violence, and helps them to to learn where they can access support, if they experience violence.
Since 2005,17 May has been observed around the globe as the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It marks the date when, in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. 17 May has become an annual landmark, drawing the attention of decision makers, the media, the general public, commentators, local authorities, and others to the risks and difficulties faced by Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender or Intersex people, and by others who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms. Coordinated by the IDAHO Committee 17 May is marked around the globe with political statements, street marches, parades, festivals, art and educational activities.
#metoo (including names in other languages)
#Metoo is a hashtag which began in October 2017 and has since spread virally on social media. It has acted both to highlight the prevalence of gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace, on a global level, and to offer solidarity and support. #Metoo arose after a series of public claims of sexual misconduct arose, against a well-known American film producer. The hashtag has been used widely in many European countries, and denunciations cover different professions and areas of life: politics, sport, finance, cinema etc. The movement is reported to have extended to more than 85 countries, expanding the scope of the initial discussion and prompting the European Parliament to hold a special discussion on sexual harassment on 25 October 2017, calling, among other things, for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the European Union and its member states.
This is an international campaign, which runs each year from the 25th November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - to the 10th December, International Human Rights Day. It is seen as a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
The campaign originates from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, in 1991.
Each year the campaign takes a theme – either a new one, or a continuation of a previous theme. Throughout the 16 days of the campaign, numerous organisations and movements run events dealing with particular areas of gender inequality, in order to bring attention to these issues and help to bring about change.