Globally, an estimated 736 million women—almost one in three—have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life - UN Women
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Data is critical to providing a better understanding of the nature, magnitude, severity, and frequency of violence against women and girls. Better data can help us understand the types and forms of violence women experience, whether or not survivors receive support, risks and consequences, costs of this violence, as well as what works and what doesn’t, to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.
In 2006, UN Women established a global database to collect the actions taken by governments to address violence against women and girls. The database includes country profiles with data on various forms of violence. The Global Database on Violence against Women identifies effective policy responses to prevent and address violence against women around the world.
But what can you specifically do on the ground level to help stop gender-based violence?
Here are four easy suggestions that you can put into use effective immediately:
Believe Survivors & Listen To Them
Refrain from making derogatory and insensitive statements such as, "You asked for it" or "Why didn't you leave".
Instead, be empathetic and consider using statements like, "We hear you", "We believe you", and "We stand with you".
Victim-shaming and verbal harassment is not the solution. In fact, it adds to the problem, which leads to less women coming out to seek safety and justice despite the availability of various support groups and resources.
Remember, your job is not to invalidate someone's trauma based on what you and your friends subjectively "think". This is not a joke.
Were you there when it happened? Most probably not.
Who are you to judge? No one at all.
Not to mention the negative mental health effects you are perpetrating, which may take victims a lifetime to heal from, if at all possible.
Victims are usually still haunted by the trauma and additional social stigma years later, which affects their mindsets, in turn affecting the majority of their future decisions regarding family, work, and relationships, affecting everyone around them, including their kids, which further propels the vicious cycle of negative mental health effects for generations to come.
Teach The Next Generation & Listen To Them
Have conversations about consent, and gender stereotypes very early on.
Communicating and exchanging in dialogue with the next generation at a young age can have profound impact on their future mindsets and the resultant actions they will take.
Making more informed choices can help stop gender-based violence, but that wouldn't be possible without the guidance of elders as early as possible.
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Hold Yourself & Your Peers Accountable
Sexist comments, catcalling, and inappropriate behaviour is never ok.
It's never acceptable.
As said earlier, victim-shaming and verbal harassment is not the solution. It adds to the problem that society needs to eliminate as fast as possible.
Refrain from making insensitive comments, bullying, and cyberbullying. If you see a friend or colleague engaging in such behaviour, don't be afraid to stop them and hold them accountable.
Don't let your lack of action further embolden them.
Help shift the narrative away from the victim to where the real problem is and shame lies - the perpetrator.
If this person is in fact someone you consider a "friend", you may need to reconsider your relationship with that individual and question their values. If their values don't align with yours, maybe you shouldn't even be friends with them.
Donate To Women's Organizations
When you donate to women's organizations that make impact, your help amplify their voices. and you support survivors of violence.
You help spread awareness. You help provide resources, assistance, shelter, and services to survivors, helping them and their families integrate back into society while supporting their healing journeys, developing positive mental health.
Here are three organizations you can help support:
Canada: The Canadian Women's Foundation
International: UN Women - Trust Fund