A call to End Gender-based violence

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Dianova calls upon decision-makers to take the leadership in investing on, planning and implementing actions to end violence against women and girls

Building a world free from violence and sexism

the responsibility to build a world free from violence and sexism relies on all of us – Photo: the United States Marine Corps, Public Domain

By  Saionara König-Reis – There is no excuse for gender-based violence (GBV) to still persist (and in such high rates) throughout countries and cultures around the globe. Yet, the existing data available shows alarming figures of violence against women and girls, and it unveils the brutal reality of so many who still have to live in fear for their lives at home or in public spaces, every day. Equally alarming and unacceptable is that so often discriminatory national legislations and unprepared law-enforcement officers, judges, social and health workers help to perpetuate or aggravate the consequences of violence inflicted on women and girl: for example, not rare women are discredited or blamed in courts after surviving a sexual assault or are sent back home to violent husbands after visiting hospitals or police stations with injuries from domestic violence.

 

Nonetheless (and an important step in this direction) changing or enacting a law, a policy or a fund to create programs or mechanisms that can protect and empower women and girls can be done in a split of a second – all it takes is the will of our law-makers to do so.

While the responsibility to build a world free from violence relies on all of us, it is evident that law-makers and policy-makers play an invaluable role in enabling the conditions for a systemic change in the gender relations and for the effective protection of women and girls. Financing and budgeting programs to address gender-based violence, enacting legislations which tackle, prevent and provide remedies for survivors, as well as ensuring gender-mainstreamed policies and programs are crucial to provide safe spaces for all women and girls.

If you have funds or decision-making power, be a champion to end gender-based-violence

In the occasion of the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence, Dianova calls upon decision-makers  to take the initiative and the leadership in investing on, planning and implementing informed actions to end violence against women and girls. Here are some concrete measures for inspiration, which can substantially contribute to these efforts:

  • Promote programs, laws and campaigns which promote gender-equality, combat gender roles and provide the conditions for women and men to contribute equally to the socio, economic, and cultural development of the society they live in.
  • Fund projects that create the conditions for women to achieve sustainable economic empowerment and financial independence.
  • Support legislation aimed at creating accountability and providing remedies and protection for survivors of GBV.
  • Raise awareness and provide training for law-enforcement officials to improve police response in cases of GBV.
  • Train justice system officials and judges, as well as workers in the health system to properly address cases of GBV and avoid double victimization of survivors.
  • Provide hotlines and a safe environment, free from harassment, for survivors to report on GBV.
  • Provide training and all necessary support for national statistics office to produce reliable and disaggregated data in order to inform effective policy-making aimed at ending GBV.
  • Include women and girls, in particular those from the most vulnerabilized groups (LGBTI, with disability or mental health disorder, ethnic and racial minorities, migrants and others) in the planning and budgeting of nation action plans and make sure to address GBV and gender equality.
  • Raise awareness with communities, faith leaders, health workers, justice system, and other actors to help identify cases of GBV and to decrease tolerance of GBV.
  • Systematically address sexual violence in conflict situations and protect women and girls in these context.

 

There are several other smaller and bigger actions that decision-makers can do to help promote gender equality and end gender-based violence. When is a better time than now to get started and champion some of it?