All posts tagged: Violence against women

The FGM Conversation has to Change

It’s been roughly 100 days since 2017 began. Reflecting on the past year’s campaigns against FGM and early marriages, it is true that all who are involved have come a long way. There have been moments where the campaign may have faltered and made missteps – but we’ve also seen some significant progress. However, in the course of writing and campaigning, as well as visiting various communities across the country where FGM is practiced, I can attest that activists are increasingly encountering subtle resistance. A revisionist movement is slowly but surely pushing back, challenging some of reasons advanced in campaigns against FGM as well as approaches that do not seem not to fit with their local context. As such, the conversation at the global and national level is not making much needed impact at the community level. How is this possible, given the resources that are being channeled and renewed vigor among activists? To illustrate this, sometime in 2016 during a Rugby 7s event dubbed #EndFGMmaasai in Kajiado, Kenya, a group of elite young men …

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 Not only is this attitude outdated, but it is also completely true that women love, watch and play sports as much as men, including those sports traditionally seen as ‘masculine’ – soccer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), …

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 …

Hitting the Breaks on the Cycle of Gender-Based Violence

Physical, psychological or sexual assault is a treacherous act, and yet it happens to women and girls all over the world on a daily basis. Just the thought of another person taking the most intimate part of my being makes my entire body shudder and simultaneously freeze. According to UNFPA one in every three women will experience physical or sexual abuse at some point during their life.  Now imagine dealing with this type of horror and being separated from the comfort of your family, familiar surroundings and home. I asked several individuals that have worked or lived in, or reported on, post conflict areas various questions about the psychological and long term impact of rape within refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps. The information varied in detail but the overall response was grim and sadly similar. People around the world are suffering from the generational effects of war, violence and despair. I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, but I think that rape and GBV can leave a permanent mark on any woman …

How to Reduce Violence? Celebrate the Young Women Who Do It Every Day

Wherever you are in the world, statistics on gender-based violence are overwhelming – if not terrifying. At a time when 1 in 3 women will experience some form of violence over the course of her life, reducing the figures can seem like an insurmountable task. For an individual especially, it’s all too easy to feel like no match for a problem of this scale. But there is a simple thing we can all do to make a difference; we can celebrate the young people who are increasingly choosing to devote their time, energy and skills to eliminating violence and protecting vulnerable people in their communities. Young people like 25-year-old student, Stephanie Moniz. Stephanie is currently studying for a Masters in Clinical Counseling Psychology at Brenau University, and as part of that she’s completing an internship at Gateway Domestic Violence Center. When she’s not in class or doing her internship, she spends her time working at the shelter as an employee. I talked to her about her studies, her work, and her thoughts on gender-based violence. So first of all, can you tell me a bit about your internship? …

Gender Equality in Sweden: Can it get any better than this? (Video Blog)

Video blog by Amanda Ring (18) and Julia Wiklander (29) from Sweden.  According to a report made by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 81% of women in Sweden said that they had been sexually harassed at some point after the age of 15. With these numbers Sweden topped the list. The average rate in the EU was lower – 55% – but the report also says that Sweden’s high rate probably has to do with the relatively low unrecorded cases and a high report rate. Read more. When it comes to gender equality, Sweden is the 4th most gender equal country in the world. This is showed in The Global Gender Gap Report made by the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report also shows that in Sweden, the payment gap between women and men is as high as 30%. Learn more about the start of the movement for legislation that includes sexual consent in Sweden through this Al Jazeera story.      

I Feel Rage – And You Should Too

I have never been raped, but the threat of rape is embedded into my conscious and subconscious. It’s a part of me; it’s a part of being a women in the vast majority of the world. Recently, I got a treadmill. In the middle of a run, my partner casually walked in and began talking to me. I jumped, nearly tripping on the machine as my heart rate seemed to double. I screamed, yelling that he should never, never surprise me on a run again. Never. He didn’t understand why I was so upset; he was just asking if I wanted him to pick up a post-run latte for me. When I’m running outdoors, I explained, I’m on alert for any man who might sneak up behind me. Even though I was running in my own home and even though I heard a familiar voice, I panicked because my brain is so programmed to fear approach during those moments when I’m alone on the trail. The threat of rape is very real. I feel it …