Today the entire world will focus on the increasing violence against women. A huge epidemic that is facing our communities regardless of race, socioeconomic status or geography. This day comes out of a little town of the Dominican Republic called Ojo De Agua, Salcedo. The three Mirabal sisters Ana, Minerva and Maria Teresa got killed by the soldiers of the dictator Trujillo. Today in remembrance of these three butterflies, we all dress in orange to remind the world that this violence must stop now.
This is not going to be a one day solution. It will take years to eradicate these acts of violence against our mothers, sisters and daughters. Women cannot continue to be the object of revenge. I often feel helpless in a day like today. One because looking at the statistics, it feels overwhelming and impossible to solve. Two because this issue hurts terribly as many women I love have experienced domestic violence. However I refuse to do nothing about it. I need to feel part of a solution. In my humble opinion we can take a 360 approach:
Start at home: Moms and dads can raise kids who respect women. Not so much by preaching but by nurturing them. By setting the example of respect, justice and equality. The little acts of love at home today are the ones that will transcend to giant acts of leadership tomorrow. Sharing, forgiving, caring for each member of the family. We can also be clear to our kids and talk about this problem tonight at the dinner table. Talk about Malala since your kids must have heard about her in school and take the topic from there. Talk about fairness and how today in our country women still get paid less than men and that is an act of violence. Talk about Nigeria and all the girls that were kidnapped. Talk about the shared responsibility between men and women in this issue.
Continue with your extended family and friends: Make a public statement about the way you feel when it comes to violence against women. Talk about your zero tolerance policy. Wear an orange ribbon from today until December 6th and you’ll see how many people will ask you about it. When you do this, you extend a hand to women in your lives who might feel safe with you. You won’t believe how violence takes place hasta en las mejores familias. It’s an element of shame for every member of the family and a tabu that nobody talks about until one valiente stands up for the cause. I see it every year and it’s crazy the number of friends who open up about some type of violence they are experiencing. Social media is a great vehicle to make that public statement. Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your WhatsApp goofy friends, whatever it takes.
Help an organization that empowers women: There are hundreds of good organizations out there that help victims of violence. Today we’re all going to volunteer at the shelter for battered women. Everyone in my family did something for them. The little ones drew pictures and cards, while the older kids made a bracelet. We’re also donating a photo to Girl Up to help give a girl in Guatemala school supplies. You can do it too using the DonateAPhoto app! And if you feel even more comprometido on this cause, you can donate to the UN Trust Fund To End Violence Against Women or any other organization that fights this war on your behalf.
Talking about the UN, here are 16 steps they are proposing today to end violence against women:
1. Ratify international and regional treaties …
that protect the rights of women and girls, and ensure that national laws and services meet international human rights standards.
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) can be a powerful tool for change—Read about Austria’s Ending Violence against Women Law Moves into Action and other groundbreaking cases.
2. Adopt and enforce laws …
to end impunity, bring perpetrators of violence against women and girls to justice and provide women with reparations and remedy for the violations perpetrated against them.
- In Brazil, the “Maria da Penha Law on Domestic and Family Violence,” has led to 331,000 prosecutions and 110,000 final judgments, and nearly two million calls to the Service Center for Women.
- The Government of Mexico takes a transformative approach to reparations for the families of the women of Ciudad Juárez.
- A comprehensive guide to legislation on ending violence against women at the Virtual Knowledge Centre.
3. Develop national and local action plans …
for ending violence against women and girls in every country that bring the government, women’s and other civil society organizations, the mass media and the private sector into a coordinated, collective front against such human rights violations.
- The Palestinian Cabinet Endorses National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the first of its kind in the Arab region developed through a bottom-up approach.
- The Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence against Women presents a model framework, along with detailed recommendations and best practices.
4. Make justice accessible to women and girls …
by providing free legal and specialized services, and increasing women in law enforcement and frontline services.
- The Gender Desk in Rwandan National Police Headquarters trains police personnel to address sexual and gender-based violence.
- Multi-Province Project on Ending Violence against Women in Afghanistan criminalizes customs, traditions and practices that inflict harm against women, and increases protection services for survivors of violence.
5. End impunity towards conflict-related sexual violence …
by prosecuting perpetrators in conflict and post-conflict contexts and fulfilling survivors’ right to comprehensive reparations programmes that are non-stigmatizing and have a transformative impact on women and girls’ lives.
- Liberia tackles the legacy of violence against women
- Since the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in October 2000, the Security Council subsequently adopted four other resolutions on the subject: 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010). Download the UN Security Council Resolution Poster to learn more.
6. Ensure universal access to critical services …
at a minimum, women’s and girls’ emergency and immediate needs should be met through free 24-hour hotlines, prompt intervention for their safety and protection, safe housing and shelter for them and their children, counseling and psycho-social support, post-rape care, and free legal aid to understand their rights and options.
- Targeted violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is back at an alarming level. Sosan’s story: Domestic Violence in Afghanistan looks at a shelter where women find refuge and services.
7. Train providers of frontline services …
especially the police, lawyers and judges, social workers and health personnel to ensure that they follow quality standards and protocols. Services should be confidential, sensitive and convenient to women survivors.
- Affecting almost 70 percent of women at some point in their lifetime, violence has become pandemic in Kenya. Watch the video Breaking the Silence: Kenyatta National Hospital Addresses Gender-Based Violence.
- Police and judges are being sensitized about gender based violence in the Southern Cone.
- Comprehensive health sector approach towards ending violence against women at the Virtual Knowledge Centre.
8. Provide adequate public resources…
to implement existing laws and policies, recognizing the devastating costs and consequences of violence against women not only for the lives directly affected, but to society and the economy at large, and to public budgets.
- Gender-sensitive budgeting leads to Women’s Centre in Uruguay offering workshops on gender-based violence, language and skills-building classes, legal assistance and more.
9. Collect, analyze and disseminate national data…
on prevalence, causes and consequences of violence against women and girls, profiles of survivors and perpetrators, and progress and gaps in the implementation of national policies, plans and laws.
- Gender-based violence study in Morocco reveals that approximately 60 percent of Moroccan women have experienced some form of violence recently, and violence against women is three times more likely in urban areas than in rural ones.
- Together for Girls, a global effort to prevent sexual violence against girls, of which UN Women is a partner, makes an urgent call for national surveys. The alarming finding in Swaziland—one-third of girls have experienced sexual violence—spurred a national education campaign, strengthening of the capacity of police to respond to sexual violence, and the establishment of a child-friendly court. For more information about Together for Girls, click here.
- Access data on prevalence, laws and more at Progress of the World’s Women and Violence against Women Prevalence Data: Surveys by Country.
10. Invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment …
to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls. Strategic areas are girls’ secondary education, advancing women’s reproductive health and rights, addressing the inter-linkages of violence with HIV and AIDS, and increasing women’s political and economic participation and leadership. Gender equality and ending violence against women must be placed squarely at the heart of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
- Up to three quarters of women and girls worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The MDGs and Gender Series cautions, unless violence against women is curbed, meeting all of the eight Millennium Development Goals will be impossible.
11. Enhance women’s economic empowerment …
by ensuring women’s rights to own land and property, to inheritance, equal pay for equal work, and safe and decent employment. Women’s unequal economic and employment opportunities are a major factor in perpetuating their entrapment in situations of violence, exploitation and abuse.
- In a land torn apart by years of bitter conflict, the daily struggle to survive is an ongoing battle. Feeding the family is a constant challenge. Bread Winner, Bread Maker tells the story of some inspirational women who are bringing hope to thousands in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- Millions of women work overseas each year and endure abuse and exploitation. On the Move: Nepal’s Women Migrant Workers fight for their rights.
12. Increase public awareness and social mobilization …
to stop violence against women and girls, and to enable women and girls subjected to violence to break the silence and seek justice and support.
- With over 2 million actions and 600 partners, Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women offers a global platform for information, action and social mobilization. Visit www.saynotoviolence.org and post your action today!
13. Engage the mass media …
in shaping public opinion and challenging the harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls.
- Radio series and public campaign builds mutual understanding between men and women for lives free of violence in Nepal.
- The Most Understanding Husband Competition, a unique initiative, provides positive male role models.
14. Work for and with young people as champions of change …
to end violence against women, and ensure that educational systems empower girls and boys to transform and build gender relations based on harmony, mutual respect and non-violence.
- The UN Secretary-General calls upon young people everywhere to say NO to violence against women
- With a UN Trust Fund grant, Cambodian youth lead the way for lives free of violence.
- Teenagers in Nairobi’s Ngara Girls High School take a stand against sexual and gender-based violence.
15. Mobilize men and boys …
of all ages and walks of life to take a stand against violence against women and girls, and foster equality and gender solidarity.
- Activists from Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN) travel through Kenya to speak to other men about the importance of stopping violence against women and building peaceful communities.
- Adolescents Network in Ecuador, the Pink Helmets, are rejecting violence and promoting new masculinities.
- Resources on how to engage men and boys at the Global Virtual Knowledge Centre.
16. Donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women …
the only grant-making fund in the world exclusively dedicated to channeling expertise and financial support to national, local and grassroots efforts.
- It’s the 15th anniversary of the UN Trust Fund—since its establishment, the UN Trust Fund has supported 339 programmes in 127 countries and territories, relying on voluntary contributions. Please help us make the world a safer place for women and girls by sending a donation today!
– See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women/2011/16-steps-policy-agenda#sthash.8et6YdJy.dpuf