All posts filed under: Gender-based Violence

How Music and Theatre are Educating Young People in Uganda

Last Wednesday (March 8) marked International Women’s Day. The energy and effort within the women’s rights movement has clearly not slowed down from 2016. Events like the Women’s March on Washington (and the ripple effect that that has caused worldwide) as well as the consequent A Day Without a Woman campaign have showcased the creativity and inspiration that emerges when women come together to express their views on what they believe to be right and just. Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) has been working to set the stage in Uganda for spreading messages on sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRHR) and gender-based violence (GBV) through creative means – music, dance, and drama. The initiative proves that the performing arts are an effective medium of ‘edutainment’ – challenging gender norms and creating spaces to discuss sensitive topics. As a community-centered organization, it made sense for GUIU to partner with Plan International Uganda for a youth-focused program called Ni-Yetu (translating to It Is Ours in Swahili) – operating in five districts of Uganda. In Kampala, Ni-Yetu has introduced two activities to spread messages on SRHR …

How Martial Arts Helped Me Get Back on My Feet

Content note: this post contains depictions of physical assault  After being attacked on my way home, I decided to start training in martial arts. I wanted to become stronger both physically and mentally, and eventually, I found my way to the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Today, the mental tools taekwondo has given me help me out in all areas of life. In my twenties, I was attacked on my way home after a late shift at work. A man followed me and forced his way into the building where I lived. Luckily, he didn’t have a weapon, and I managed to get out of his grip and scream for help. Even though he ran off when he heard people approaching, I was deeply shaken. What if there wouldn’t have been anyone around? I felt so helpless. The man who had attacked me wasn’t big – around my height. But when he grabbed me, it was like one of those nightmares where your muscles stop working. I was paralyzed by the thought that he might …

He Broke Her Face – But Kept Playing

When the 2014 World Cup finished, I wrote an article for an online youth outlet in the UK calling on men to stop asking women “But how come you love soccer, you’re a girl?” Not only is this attitude outdated, but it is also completely true that women love, watch and play sports as much as men, including those sports traditionally seen as ‘masculine’ – soccer included. The rather more worrying trend I emphasized though was what emerged since the football tournament in South Africa in 2010 – namely, domestic violence increases significantly during major sporting events and the usual victims tend to be intimate partners: wives and girlfriends. In England, after game losses of the national team, domestic violence tends to increase by up to 25%, the National Centre for Domestic Violence has found out. This may be a direct result of high levels of viewers’ engagement and passion for the game, but may also be due to drinking and betting. Multiple campaigns have so far focused on this issue but sporadic TV ads …

“Speaking the Unspeakable”: Sexual Violence in Conflict

Their suffering and desperation was so great that they begged them to kill them, to end their pain once and for all… but the men who had been raping them replied, “No, we’re going to leave you alive so you can die of sadness.” This is the harrowing story told in the documentary “The Uncondemned” of the first time genocide, rape and sexual violence were prosecuted in an international tribunal. But this isn’t just a story of sadness and grief; it’s also a story of hope and healing. It is a story about the three brave survivors and witnesses who testified at the tribunal, identified then only as JJ, NN and OO. Co-director Michele Mitchell said: “In the face of enormous tragedy and pain, the fact that three of them were laughing about the plane journey shows their great resilience and demonstrates how they had kept their humanity.” I was privileged to watch this amazing documentary when it was screening in New York City. I left the theater with a heavy heart, but also feeling extremely encouraged and …

Brazil’s Problem: Violence Against Women

The movement #NiUnaMenos started in Argentina, but its message and impact has crossed the borders of the country and is now the voice of all Latin America protesting violence against women. On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women established by the United Nations, women marched in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and other cities against the epidemic indexes of violence against women in Brazil. In a video of the protests in Rio shared on Facebook by Hermanas, a page dedicated to bridge Brazilian feminism to that of the rest of Latin America, women were singing, “violence against women is not the world that we want.” Data shows just how serious the reality of femicides and violence against women is in Brazil: According to the UN, Brazil has the 5th highest index of femicides in the world. According to PRI, “the number of women killed in homicides in Brazil keeps on increasing” (see Graphic 1 below). Also according to PRI, this number is higher among black women (see Graphic 2 below), …

Gender and Colombia’s Peace Agreement

Gender has become a hot-topic issue since the referendum vote on Colombia’s peace negotiations. Several tumultuous weeks following the failed referendum on Colombia’s peace agreement, renewed negotiations between the government of Juan Manual Santos and the FARC produced a new agreement. Misconceptions regarding the role of gender language within the initial peace agreement, however, seemed to cast fear and doubt that it would be removed from a new accord altogether. Why was a gender focus within the country’s peace deal so controversial? And what follows for women within the country’s peacebuilding processes now that a new agreement has been signed? More than 50 years after the start of a conflict that has resulted in more than 220,000 deaths and nearly six million displaced, the decades-long Colombian war has reached a formal end as of Thanksgiving Day (Nov 24th, 2016). Representatives of the FARC—an armed, left-wing guerilla group—and government representatives under President Juan Manuel Santos had spent four years engaged in peace negotiations. A previous peace agreement was brought to a popular vote in October. Most …

Getting the Story Right About Violence Against Women

The need for data-driven storytelling is bigger than ever. With the growth of social media, where stories can go viral any second, it is crucial that we tell the stories right – to change perspectives, challenge the roots of patriarchy, create movements of positive change around the world, and ultimately to end violence against women. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – a day to highlight the importance to fight violence and discrimination that so many women are subjected to on a daily basis around the world. The United Nations defines violence against women as, any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. When a President is elected, despite the fact that he has said that powerful men can “grab women by the pussy” or when a Swedish male politician calls a female minister “whore” in …

Community Heroes Drive Progress to End Violence Against Women

Blog Post written by Global Fund for Women and Rifka Annisa Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Rifka Annisa, a domestic violence shelter in Indonesia supported by Johnson & Johnson, works to empower women and communities to eliminate gender-based violence. Rifka Annisa works at all levels, providing counseling to male perpetrators, educating the community and training groups of women to address gender-based violence locally, and advocating for new laws and pushing for legal enforcement. Rini Iswandari leads the of Forum for Handling Victims of Violence in Bleberan Village, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta. Johnson & Johnson partners with the Global Fund for Women to support 5 grassroots organizations like Rifka Annisa in Indonesia and the Philippines to provide services to victims of gender-based violence. This is the last of 3 blog posts spotlighting how collective, community-oriented action is needed to end violence against women around the world.  How are you working to end violence against women or care for survivors of violence in your community? What do your programs to end violence against women in your community look like? Every human …

Women and Girls Working to End Gender-Based Violence at All Stages

Blog Post written by Rise Up and Colectivo Joven Tracie Mendez Saravia and her teenage daughter Jimena are leaders and advocates fighting to reduce the prevalence of violence perpetrated against girls and young women in Guatemala. Tracie is a graduate of Rise Up’s Let Girls Lead initiative, and leads Colectivo Joven (The Youth Collective), a Johnson & Johnson partner. Colectivo Joven’s strategy is to build partnerships between community-based organizations, and to enable young women like Tracie’s daughter Jimena, to strengthen their leadership and participate actively in public forums and dialogues with key decision makers and health providers. Johnson & Johnson partners with Rise Up to support 3 grassroots organizations in Guatemala and Honduras that empower youth to address gender-based violence in their communities. This is the second of 3 blog posts spotlighting how collective, community-oriented action is needed to end violence against women around the world. How are you working to end violence against women or care for survivors of violence in your community? Tracie (T): Our work in the Youth Collective in Jalapa is centered on …