A support structure for the vulnerable survivors of violence
Preventing and Responding to Gender-based Violence
Women and girls are mostly affected by Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and in war zones, all women have been exposed to violence. Men and boys are also subjected to Gender-based violence as violence is linked to gender inequalities and norms for gender.
This violence most commonly occurs in the family, but it also takes place in other areas in society, private and public. GBV is an umbrella definition including a wide range of expressions of violence such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners, Female Genital mutilation (FGM), honor violence, early marriage, violence against LGBTI and trafficking in human beings. In situations of war and conflict, GBV is particularly present.
Our framework in addressing GBV is that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights and that tackling GBV is crucial for poverty reduction and economic development. GBV is furthermore a key to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights, and reverse the spread of HIV. It is also a security concern and a prerequisite for sustainable peace.
An effective strategy to end GBV is engaging in efforts to prevent it. Given that this violence is linked to gender-based power inequalities, key in GBV prevention are efforts to increase gender equality and transformation of gender norms. Our prevention strategies entail a shift from “victims” to “survivors” with a focus on women and girl’s empowerment and agency, efforts to increase women’s political and economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive rights and to incorporate men and boys in the work.
The strengthening of the legal and policy framework is also of utmost importance, as are efforts to bridge the gap between law and practice and to end the impunity for GBV. Response to survivors, which meets their rights to protection and access to services, including shelters and health sector services, is also core.
A structure in a medical compound in the Nuba mountains damaged by a bomb dropped on their location.
The Cycle of Gender-Based Violence
GBV takes on many forms and can occur throughout a person’s life cycle. Many experiences multiple episodes of violence that may start in the prenatal period and continue through childhood to adulthood and old age. This approach to GBV helps us to understand the continuum of violence and its cumulative impact in terms of physical and mental health consequences for women and girls, boys and men.
This shows that “mild” and severe forms of violence are part of the same continuum. Not only the most severe forms of violence are hurtful, but even more so the everyday presence of violence throughout a person’s life.
Prenatal sex physical/sexual/psychological child abuse during pregnancy, coerced/forced pregnancy.
Prenatal sex selection.
Female infanticide, sexual, child abuse, living with domestic violence, neglect including access to food and medical care.
Physical/sexual/psychological child abuse, socialization into violent behavior, living with domestic violence neglect including access to food and medical care.
Sexual, physical and emotional abuse, prostitution, living with domestic violence, child/forced marriage, FGM, femicide, an upbringing that does not allow deviation from traditional gender norms and discrimination in nourishing food distribution, medical care, and education.
Sexual, physical and emotional abuse, prostitution, living with domestic violence, male circumcision, forced recruitment of child soldiers, an upbringing that does not allow deviation from traditional gender norms.
FGM, prostitution and pornography, trafficking, sexual harassment at school and in the street, forced marriage, forced recruitment of child soldiers, honor crimes, intimate partner violence and rape and sexual assault by relatives, known persons or strangers.
Forced recruitment of child soldiers, honor crimes, gang violence, expectations of violent behavior as the norm, invitation rites into violence.
Sexual harassment at work and in the public space, intimate partner violence, rape, and sexual assault, femicide, forced pregnancy, dowry and bride price abuse, honor crimes, sexual exploitation, and trafficking, stalking.
Gang violence, witnessing or forced to conduct rape, honor crimes, sexual exploitation, violence in the army and in conflict, gun violence.
Elder abuse, intimate partner violence, rape, abuse of widows, sexual harassment in public space, institutional abuse.
Provide Safe Space
Our advocacy efforts form the backbone of interventions to support victims of violence and end the violence in their lives. Despite much progress, the inefficient legal system continues to pose many challenges.
We work to amplify the voices and lived experiences of victims. We bridge the gaps in the system by pursuing accountability and help the victim understand their role in a complex role and help them to restore their agency and make legal options accessible.
Our coordinated, victim-focused outreach impacts women’s participation in the justice process, increasing the likelihood that women will go to court. Furthermore, most importantly, all the victims we work with benefit greatly from the intervention.
We provide a safe environment to escape where battered women find comfort in working with people who lived and survived the terrible ordeal that they are undergoing.
Our advocates provide safely planning and risk assessment and management information helping the victims identify barriers and ways to successfully navigate through them
Research on our community-based advocacy continues to demonstrate its effectiveness. Women exiting our shelters continue getting information and referrals from our advocates for weeks until they are stable to stand on their own.
Providing continued support and resources leads to less violence, less mental health issues, and improved quality of life. This is because our advocates provide a lifeline to victims of violence and oppression.
Advocates working in community-based programs provide confidential services to victims, helping them navigate the court system and strategize for their safety. Community advocates typically address the range of issues that victims must negotiate: housing, physical and mental health needs, financial support, children’s issues, etc.
Advocates also support survivors as conflicting feelings arise about their abusive intimate partners and families. Early advocates were often battered women themselves, who knew how important it is to be heard and understood. Most advocacy programs offer self-help groups which provide important support to victims ending abuse in their relationships.
Your support provides opportunities for vulnerable women and young people in war zones and other vulnerable victims of injustice to access clean water as well as hygiene and sanitation programs.
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