4 ways to stop violence against women

CARE Cambodia is campaigning to end gender-based violence using the fictional character ‘Chanda’, a young woman who has found the strength to stand up to sexual harassment and is now confidently supporting others to do the same

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence starts now! From 25 November through to Human Rights Day on 10 December, people around the world will be standing up for an end to gender-based and sexual violence. Here’s four ways that CARE is working to end gender-based violence.

1) Stand up and spread the word

To mark the 16 Days of Activism, UN Women is asking people everywhere to Orange the world to raise public awareness and symbolise a brighter future without violence. CARE is already working with local communities around the world to change minds and change attitudes, and CARE Cambodia got a head start by organising an Orange Day parade in October.

Tuk tuk taxi drivers in Cambodia
Over the 16 Days of Activism, tuk tuk taxi drivers will be talking to their customers about the importance of shifting the blame away from women, and supporting them to report gender-based violence when this occurs

Using the hashtag #shifttheblame, CARE is organising events in schools, universities, local businesses and local communities. “We want to change people’s behaviours and shift blame away from women, so that women who experience harassment are listened to without judgement, shown support and encouraged to report to the relevant authorities,” says CARE Cambodia country director Joanne Fairley.

We hope that this will create an environment where sexual harassment is not tolerated in Cambodia.

2) Engage men and boys as allies

CARE Cambodia’s campaign has a special focus on encouraging men to take action to say that violence against women is never acceptable. CARE believes that men and boys can be champions for gender equality and we work with men and boys from the Balkans to Rwanda to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate gender-based violence.

Collage of photos from CARE Balkans campaign against GBV

CARE Balkans is running a bystander intervention campaign (see photos above) aiming to challenge the social norms that condone violence and gender inequality, particularly among young people. Around 60 young people from five countries are meeting on 27-29 November to be trained as ambassadors for the campaign.

These young people, from all ethnic and religious backgrounds in the Balkans, will then go back to their communities and schools and, with the support of CARE’s local partners, organise key events. They are also promoting a social media campaign using posters and messages about gender-based violence, dating violence and sexual harassment – the poster says ‘react as a human – against violence’ and the tagline says:

I may close my eyes when I kiss but they are always open against violence.

3) End child marriage

Child marriage doesn’t just lock girls into a never-ending cycle of poverty and poor health – child brides are also more likely to experience violence in their marriages, and less likely to be able to stand up for their own rights.

CARE recently published the Vows of Poverty report listing 26 countries where girls are more likely to be married before age 18 than to be enrolled in secondary school. We’re working in countries from Nepal to Ethiopia to end the injustice of child marriage.

4) Advocate for change

Gender-based violence is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, injustice, conflict and gender inequality. That’s why ending gender-based violence is such an essential part of CARE’s work. And that’s why, to mark the 16 Days of Activism, CARE is launching a global advocacy strategy to end gender-based violence.

We will make sure we use our expertise on the ground to ensure we are tackling the root causes of violence against women – such as through our Information Volunteer programme with Syrian refugees.

We will support women and girls who stand up and make their voices heard.

And we will back this up with advocacy to spread our learning and to make sure that policy-makers around the world know what they can do to help end gender-based violence – and actually stand up and do it.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.