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7 Ways To End Violence Against Women!

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Credits: Google

Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation in the world, affecting more than 1 in 3 women—a figure that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

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 Global emergencies, crises and conflict have further intensified violence against women and girls and exacerbated the drivers and risk factors. Climate change is aggravating all types of gender-based violence against women and girls, an already visible pattern that will undoubtedly grow more extreme as the crisis worsens. Rapidly expanding digitalization is increasing online violence against women and girls, compounding existing forms of violence and leading to the emergence of new ones. At the same time, there has been a rise in anti-rights movements and anti-feminist groups, driving an expansion of regressive laws and policies, a backlash against women’s rights organizations and a spike in attacks against women human rights defenders and activists.

Whether you’re a seasoned activist or just getting started, here are seven ways you can act now to end violence against women and girls:

1. Speak up, speak out

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Violence against women is pervasive, but it’s not inevitable—unless we stay silent. In the face of rising anti-feminist movements, it’s more crucial than ever that we speak up and out. Taboos around gender-based violence provide perpetrators with impunity and prevent women and girls from getting the help they need: less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence seek help of any sort.

2. Know the issue—and the signs

Violence against women takes many forms. It can be physical, sexual or emotional. It can be public or private, online or off, perpetrated by a stranger or an intimate partner. Regardless of how, where, or why it happens, it has serious short- and long-term consequences for women and girls and serves to prevent their full and equal participation in society.

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3. Call out sexual harassment

For many women, sexual harassment is a daily experience. Whether it’s online, on the street or in the workplace, brushing off inappropriate behavior serves to further normalize it. Common forms of harassment like online bullying, catcalling, sexual comments and sexual jokes serve to make women and girls feel unwelcome and unsafe in public spaces. They help to reinforce biases and stereotypes that perpetuate misogyny. And they contribute to a culture of impunity, in which women can be harmed without consequence. Create a safer environment for everyone online and offline by challenging your peers to reflect on their own behaviour and speaking up when someone crosses the line, or by enlisting the help of others if you don’t feel safe.

4. Challenge beliefs on masculinity

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 Toxic masculinity drives violence against women. Evidence shows that women in relationships with men whose beliefs and behaviours reinforce male dominance and gender inequality are more likely to experience intimate partner violence. Traditional concepts of masculinity tend to emphasize traits like aggression, strength and control—while disparaging sensitivity, empathy, vulnerability and other traits traditionally associated with femininity.

5. Fund women’s organizations

Investing in women’s movements matters. Evidence shows that a strong and autonomous feminist movement is the most crucial factor in driving policy change on gender-based violence. But women’s rights organizations, key drivers of feminist mobilization, are increasingly being defunded, sidelined and silenced in decision-making spaces. Increasing long-term funding to women’s rights organizations is key to finding effective solutions to prevent and respond to violence against women.

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6. Call for better responses and services

Services for women and girls experiencing violence can be the difference between life and death. 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 crises and emergencies. Every year, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for united, global action to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

7. Demand more data

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. And yet the collection of sex-disaggregated and other crucial gender data remains a low priority for governments. As gender-based violence has spiked due to COVID-19, climate change and other crises, 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.

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