Ending violence against women is everyone’s business
Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts, and climate disasters. A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. University College Roosevelt does not tolerate gender-based violence and we act against it if and when it occurs. We are proud of and support students who stand up against the disrespectful and unacceptable treatment of women worldwide and closer to home.
As we mark and support the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign (25 November – 10 December), UCR hopes to join hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, and people from every walk of life, to shine a light on the need for funding, essential services, prevention, and data that shapes better-informed responses.
Ten ways you can make a difference, safely and impactfully
When a woman shares her story of violence, she takes the first step to breaking the cycle of abuse.
It’s on all of us to give her the safe space she needs to speak up and be heard.
It’s important to remember that when discussing cases of sexual violence, a victim’s sobriety, clothes, and sexuality are irrelevant.
The perpetrator is the sole reason for assault and must bear the responsibility alone. Call out victim-blaming and counter the idea that it’s on women to avoid situations that might be seen as “dangerous” by traditional standards.
Survivors of violence are speaking out more than ever before, and everyone has a role to play to ensure they can have justice.
Don’t say, “Why didn’t she leave?”
Do say: “We hear you. We believe you. We stand with you.”
The examples we set for the younger generation shape the way they think about gender, respect, and human rights. Start conversations about gender roles early on, and challenge the traditional features and characteristics assigned to men and women. Point out the stereotypes that children constantly encounter, whether in the media, on the street, or at school, and let them know that it’s OK to be different. Encourage a culture of acceptance.
Talk about consent, bodily autonomy, and accountability to boys and girls, and also listen to what they have to say about their experience of the world. By empowering young advocates with information, and educating them about women’s rights, we can build a better future for all.
Services for survivors are essential services.
This means that shelters, hotlines, counseling, and all support for survivors of gender-based violence need to be available for those in need, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Join us in calling on governments to bridge funding gaps to address violence against women and girls, ensure essential services for survivors of violence are maintained during this crisis, implement prevention measures, and invest in collecting the data necessary to adapt and improve life-saving services for women and girls.
Freely given, enthusiastic consent is mandatory, every time.
Rather than listening for a “no,” make sure there is an active “yes,” from all involved. Adopt enthusiastic consent in your life and talk about it.
Phrases like “she was asking for it” or “boys will be boys” attempt to blur the lines around sexual consent, placing blame on victims, and excusing perpetrators from the crimes they have committed.
While those that use these lines may have fuzzy understandings of consent, the definition is crystal clear. When it comes to consent, there are no blurred lines.
There are many forms of abuse and all of them can have serious physical and emotional effects. If you’re concerned about a friend who may be experiencing violence or feels unsafe around someone, review these signs and learn about the ways to help them find safety and support.
If you think someone is abusing you, help is available. You are not alone. Always reach out to your tutor or the Well-being Team if you or someone you know needs help.
Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that’s been perpetuated for decades. It’s pervasive, but it’s not inevitable unless we stay silent.
Show your solidarity with survivors and where you stand in the fight for women’s rights by oranging your social media profile for the 16 Days of Activism:
- You can download banners for Facebook and Twitter here.
- On Instagram, you can use UN Women’s face filter to spread the word and encourage your friends to do the same.
- Use #orangetheworld, #16Days, and #GenerationEquality to start your own conversation about gender-based violence, or share Marijn’s illustration from this page.
Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fueled by persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture.
Every day we have the opportunity to examine our behaviors and beliefs for biases that permit rape culture to continue. Think about how you define masculinity and femininity, and how your own biases and stereotypes influence you.
From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.
Support local and international organizations and movements that empower women, amplify their voices, support survivors, and promote acceptance of all gender identities and sexualities.
UN Women works with women’s organizations everywhere to end violence against women, assist survivors, and secure equal rights for women and girls everywhere.
The Soroptimists are committed to improving the rights, position, and lives of girls and women worldwide.
Violence can take many forms, including sexual harassment in the workplace and in public spaces.
Take a stand by calling it out when you see it: catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments, and sexist jokes are never okay.
Create a safer environment for everyone by challenging your peers to reflect on their own behavior and speaking up when someone crosses the line, or by enlisting the help of others if you don’t feel safe.
As always, listen to survivors and make sure they have the support they need.
To effectively combat gender-based violence, we need to understand the issue.
Relevant data collection is key to implementing successful prevention measures and providing survivors with the right support.
As gender-based violence has spiked during COVID-19, the gaps in gender-sensitive data collection have become more glaring than ever. Call on your government to invest in the collection of data on gender-based violence.
Find out at https://data.unwomen.org/ how UN Women works to bring about a radical shift in how gender statistics are used, created, and promoted.