Recently, I have engaged in discussions on Facebook and Twitter about sexual violence in conflicts. Through my time as a women’s advocate, I have noticed that this topic, specifically, stirs a lot of feelings in people. And mostly it creates HOPELESSNESS.
With this post I would like to highlight that this is not a hopeless cause, and that there are several movements and organizations creating change today. Here are three steps that I think are essential for us to move away from hopelessness:
- EDUCATE. To hear about the children and women being raped in conflict and post-conflict areas around the world is horrifying. Without having the knowledge of what it is about, why it happens, that it is actually a strategic weapon of war, and what is being done, hearing about it may just lead to hopelessness. Therefore, I believe education and raising awareness is the first step towards creating a change. Do you want to learn more? Read about conflict related sexual violence on UN Women’s website or at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative website.
- SUPPORT. There are several organizations working for empowering women in conflict, including through physical and psychological rehabilitation, vocational training and including women in peace processes. Therefore, women can become a driving force of change in these communities. Further, many organizations are working to create a justice system that acknowledges these crimes and put perpetrators behind bars. This is essential for the patterns of sexual violence to change. Once it is criminalized, the norms will change, and women will not become victims of stigmatization. Here are three global movements I think you should join: SAY NO UNiTE to end violence against women, Stop Rape Now and V-Day. And these are some organizations you can support: UN Women, Women for Women International, Kvinna till Kvinna, Global Fund for Women, and the Enough Project.
- STAND TOGETHER. As citizens, as consumers, as members of movements, we can stand together and have a strong voice to creating a change. Join a local advocacy group and join online discussions on how we best can put our leaders and companies accountable. Follow the organizations mentioned above on Twitter and Facebook, and spread the word.
The featured image and video for this post is taken from Stop Rape Now.