UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls
When tackling any sort of crime, it is very important that victims feel they can speak up and be listened to. It can be very hard to do that regarding gender-based violence. If violence is occurring in the home then women and girls might fear that it will get worse if they speak up, or that they might have nowhere to live and no way to support themselves.
When violence occurs within a relationship, there is often a mistaken belief that somehow the woman or girl is to blame – that they were “asking for it” because a mistake was made or they upset someone. This sense of guilt can also prevent victims from speaking up.
In conflict situations, the nature of the violence may cause a sense of shame such that the victim would rather try and block out the attack from their mind and pretend it did not happen.
On 30 November, the BBC reported that, on average, a woman is killed every two days in England and Wales, with 90 percent killed by men. Some of the families of those women believe their calls for help were ignored and that the women were not taken seriously or believed by the authorities tasked with protecting them.
Gender-based violence is a terrible crime in all sorts of societies, in peace and in conflict. Recognising all people as being equal, and that women and girls cannot be used as an outlet for negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, vengeance or inadequacy, is critical to tackling it. In the meantime, support for survivors of gender-based violence will remain vital.