16 Authors Saying NO To Violence Against Women

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Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labelled: “This could change your life.” – Helen Exley

With VAW being a taboo topic in many cultures and communities, pop culture  has become an invaluable awareness-raising, advocacy and educational channel through which the anti-Violence Against Women (VAW) movement can reach out to educate communities and raise their awareness about VAW, to break the silence surrounding the violence and to inspire people to take action to stop this human rights atrocity.

In 2014, The Pixel Project was proud to introduce our Read For Pixels campaign. Read For Pixels was created in recognition of the longstanding power of books to shape cultural ideas, trigger social change, and influence the course of history. From Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird to to J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, popular authors and their stories have been instrumental in planting ideas, triggering thoughtful water-cooler discussions, and providing food for thought for communities. And in the age of Geek culture and social media, authors wield influence beyond just their books as they are able to directly communicate their readers and fans via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media channels.

Through our 2014 Read For Pixels initiatives, we worked with 16 award-winning bestselling authors who hail from genres as diverse as Comics, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many of them are global celebrities with strong fan followings, others are well-respected in their countries or genres. Still others are up-and-coming stars who have decided to use their talents to support women’s human rights. It is the movement to end VAW that unites and inspires them and we hope that all of them will continue to work with the movement in years to come.

To learn more about each author and their books, click on the author’s name.

To learn more about what each author has to say about violence against women, click on their quote in their write-up below to be taken to the YouTube video of their Read For Pixels Google Hangout or their blog articles.

Written and compiled by Regina Yau, with Google Hangout transcriptions by Samantha Carroll.

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Author Against VAW #1: Alyson Noel

Nederland, Amsterdam,1-11-2012,  Alyson Noël, schrijver  , foto;Ineke OostveenAlyson Noel is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Soul Seeker series, the Immortals series, the Riley Bloom series, and eight previous novels for St. Martin’s Press. Her books feature female protagonists who are intrepid, curious, and independent. When speaking out about stopping violence against women, she says: “I think it should be an end question right that every girl is able to grow up in a safe environment and never feel threatened by the people around her and I’m speaking emotionally and physically because there is emotional violence as well.  I just think it should be a right and I think that we should strive for that to be a right.  Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  Everybody.”

Author Against VAW #2: Chuck Wendig

Wendig_Photo1_CroppedChuck Wendig is an acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books. Chuck has periodically spoken out very strongly against misogyny and sexism in popular culture and the Geek world. In a recent blog post, he wrote: “I think that rape culture is real. I think that rape culture is a passive frequency — background noise — that opens the door to (and softens or eradicates the punishment against) misogyny and assault and the destruction of safety for women. I suspect that some deny the existence of rape culture because they misunderstand it as being active. As in, “If I’m not actively promoting rape, then clearly a culture of it doesn’t exist.” But they miss how so many subtle, unseen, unrealized things contribute to that culture: in our language, in our expectations, in the media we consume.” Chuck also talks extensively about violence against women in Geek culture in his Read For Pixels Google Hangout with The Pixel Project.

Author Against VAW #3: Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke Author Photo (NEW_COLOR)_croppedCornelia Funke is an internationally bestselling, multiple-award-winning author, best known for writing the Inkheart trilogy, Dragon Rider, and The Thief Lord. The Thief Lord, her first book to be translated into English, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, the USA Today bestseller list and won the prestigious Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the best translated children’s book of the year. When talking about violence against women and girls, she points out the importance of women standing up to support each other and their daughters, saying: “[…] we want the families to be the shelter for children but very often it’s not.  And the abuse […] often is against girls.  So it starts with the women and it starts with the girls, and our experience in the world is also that when the women change, the world changes. […] the moment the women support their daughters as much as they support their sons, the world changed. “

Authors Against VAW #4: Cinda Williams Chima

Cinda_author_photo_lg_croppedCinda Williams Chima is first-generation college graduate and college professor who became the acclaimed New York Times best-selling author of The Heir Chronicles and the Seven Realms quartet. She has spoken out against violence against women and when asked about what she thinks would help stop the violence, she says: “I think it’s important to use your best weapons to fight back against violence against women whether that is political activity or writing or how you’re raising your children (if you have children).  I think it’s important of all people of goodwill to endeavour not to be part of the problem.”

Authors Against VAW #5: Delilah S. Dawson

delilahsdawsonpic_croppedsmallDelilah S. Dawson is the award-winning author of the Blud series, including Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. She is also a rape survivor who has very courageously spoken out about her experience in order to help other survivors. At her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Delilah talked about why she’s not afraid to speak out against violence against women, saying: “Violence against women is something that’s touched the women in my family as far back as I know and it stops with me.  And it’s not going to happen to my daughter.”

Authors Against VAW #6: Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins - PhotocreditSonyaSones_croppedELLEN HOPKINS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, and Smoke, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She is also a staunch feminist and a domestic violence survivor who speaks out about violence against women and women’s rights whenever she can. In a blog post in September 2014, she wrote: “Across this planet, women are subjugated, dominated, mutilated, enslaved, trafficked, gang raped and then hung in public squares for having suffered such humiliation. In this country, one in three will be sexually assaulted, and the majority will be too afraid to say something—fearful of being called liars or that they dressed to provoke or drank too much or otherwise asked for behavior that men “just can’t help” doing because, you know, that’s how penises work […] You know what? Enough. I’m calling BS. Men do not have the right to abuse, damage, own, control, shame, blame or otherwise claim superiority simply because a fluke of genetics gave them a Y chromosome.”

Authors Against VAW #7: G. Willow Wilson

G.WillowWilson_croppedWillow Wilson’s novel Alif the Unseen won the 2013 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. Her comic book series AIR (DC/Vertigo Comics) and MYSTIC: THE TENTH APPRENTICE (Marvel) were nominated for Eisner Awards. She currently writes the popular series MS. MARVEL featuring the first Muslim teenage girl taking on the mantle of a popular superhero. Willow is particularly concerned about online violence against women, saying: “In an age where cyber bullying and humiliation, particularly of women and of women in public positions […] this conversation has really changed shape. And if a lot of the violence of speech is being perpetrated on the internet then the internet is obviously a place where we need to start changing the conversation. To me that’s an obvious jump to make, that if so much misogyny these days and so much verbal violence against women begins on the internet, then let’s start on the internet to try to change it.”

Authors Against VAW #8: Guy Gavriel Kay

GGK - Samantha Kidd Photography_croppedGuy Gavriel Kay is the award-winning author of twelve novels (most recently River of Stars), and a book of poetry. He has written book reviews and social and political commentary for the National Post and the Globe and Mail in Canada, and The Guardian in England. Translations of his fiction exceed twenty-five languages and his books have appeared on bestseller lists in many countries. In May 2014, Guy collaborated with The Pixel Project on a Read For Pixels fundraiser and stated: “I firmly believe […] that one of the measures of any culture is the status of women in that society. Inherent, endemic violence against women is more than some ‘black mark’, it is a blight, and working against that is surely a cause for all of us.”

Authors Against VAW #9: Isaac Marion

IsaacMarionAuthorPhotoPrint_croppedIsaac Marion was born near Seattle in 1981 and has lived in and around that city ever since. He began writing in high school and self-published three novels before finally breaking through with Warm Bodies, an unusual zombie romance with a philosophical bent that become a blockbuster film in 2013. When discussing why he supports the cause to end violence against women, he said: “It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not supporting that [cause]… It’s becoming more clear to me that that’s something that I really care about, is working to combat some of these attitudes in society, the oppression of really any group that is being bullied by some other group.”

Authors Against VAW #10: Jacqueline Carey

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJacqueline Carey is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels and The Sundering epic fantasy duology. The Kushiel’s Legacy series in particular showcases a resourceful independent female protagonist and a cast of characters who have also faced the issue of violence against women. Jacqueline has a very active Facebook author page and often has conversations with her fans. When asked why she is happy to publicly support the cause to end violence against women, she said: “Based on the number of readers I’ve heard from over the years who are survivors of abuse of some sort, who have found strength in the journeys of one or more of the characters that I’ve written, I thought it might be something that would speak to my own readers, so I was happy to volunteer my time for this.”

Authors Against VAW #11: Jasper Fforde

jasper fforde_croppedJasper Fforde has been writing in the Comedy/Fantasy Genre since 2001 when his novel ‘The Eyre Affair’ debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Since then he has published ten more books, several of them bestsellers, and counts his sales in millions. He lives and works in Wales. In a discussion about why he supports the cause to end violence against women, he touches on the importance of increasing female leadership as one of the keys to stopping the violence and building a more peaceful world: “It’s a cause one has to support because it’s of vital importance.   If you were to look around the planet and even see some of the worst, you know, war torn trouble spots, in the world, and think, “that be improved by a few female leaders?”, and the answer is always yes.  Always.”

Authors Against VAW #12: Joe Hill

Joe Hill_CroppedJoe Hill, the author of the New York Times bestsellers NOS4A2, HORNS, and HEART-SHAPED BOX, and the Eisner-award winning comic book series, LOCKE & KEY,  is a feminist and a huge supporter of women’s rights ranging from getting more women into the U.S. Senate and Congress to women’s right to choose what is best for their bodies. In a discussion about why he supports the cause to end violence against women and girls, he says: “The reason this is a subject that’s important to me is because I have boys and I think it’s important that they’re getting the right messages.  Also I’m an artist, I’m writer and I read a lot and I see a lot of films, I see a lot of TV and I think it’s important that this is coming up in the cultural conversation, that some of the truth of violence against women in America is reflected in some way in our fiction, in our films.

Authors Against VAW #13: Kelley Armstrong

Kelley ArmstrongKelley Armstrong is the Canadian author of the New York Times bestselling Women Of The Otherworld series featuring tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves and showcasing some of today’s most striking female protagonists. She believes that it takes both men and women working together to effectively end violence against women. During her Google Hangout with The Pixel Project, she said: “One thing that I like about this campaign was the inclusion of male role models because I think so often it really becomes an issue of men versus women, and that not it at all.  Many men obviously want to do more, want to be a role model and it is not an ‘us versus them’ scenario.”

Authors Against VAW #14: Kevin Hearne

kevinhearne_CroppedKevin Hearne is the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles and the forthcoming STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI. Kevin wrote about why he took part in Read For Pixels and the importance of being a good man, respecting women, and Feminism, saying: “If you get a Y chromosome at birth that’s your ticket to manhood, but what kind of manhood it turns out to be depends largely on the values one learns while growing up. And there are an awful lot of men out there who could stand to grow more respectful of women—and, by extension, of humanity. Because women’s rights are human rights. And being a feminist is not in any way emasculating—it means you support equal rights for women. Period.” Kevin also talks about violence against women in his Read For Pixels Google Hangout with The Pixel Project.

Authors Against VAW #15: Robert J. Sawyer

robert-j-sawyer-author-photo-by-bernard-clark-color_croppedRobert J. Sawyer is the author of Hugo Award-winner Hominids, Nebula Award-winner The Terminal Experiment, and John W. Campbell Memorial Award-winner Mindscan, and numerous books which were Hugo finalists. Robert was one of the first authors to join The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign and when asked why everyone should support the cause to end violence against women, he puts it very plainly: “I think it’s really important when we pick causes to look not at “well how does this affect me?” but to look at what the greatest good for the greatest number can be… if there’s any group, by its sheer size, women are the group that’s suffered the most.”

Authors Against VAW #16: Sarah J. Mass

Sarah J Maas_credit Josh Wasserman300dpi_CroppedSarah J. Maas is the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well The Assassin’s Blade, a collection of five Throne of Glass novellas. The series revolves around Celaena Sardothien, a teenaged female assassin with a conscience who stands up against tough odds to defend women, children and good people. During her Google Hangout with The Pixel Project, she said: “I honestly find it absolutely absurd and disgusting that in today’s day and age there is still violence against women […]  I understand the cycles of abuse and things like that are so hard to break out of […] is why I support it [Read For Pixels], because it shouldn’t be going on any longer.”

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Photo credits:

  1. Alyson Noel – Photo courtesy of St Martin’s Press
  2. Chuck Wendig – Photo courtesy of Chuck Wendig
  3. Cornelia Funke – Photo courtesy of Hachette 
  4. Cinda Williams Chima – Photo courtesy of Cinda Williams Chima
  5. Delilah S. Dawson – Photo courtesy of Delilah S. Dawson
  6. Ellen Hopkins – Photo courtesy of Goldberg McDuffie Communications; Photographer: Sonya Sones
  7. G. Willow Wilson – Photo courtesy of G. Willow Wilson
  8. Guy Gavriel Kay – Photo courtesy of Guy Gavriel Kay; Photographer: Samantha Kidd Photography
  9. Isaac Marion – Photo courtesy of Isaac Marion
  10. Jacqueline Carery – Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Carey
  11. Jasper Fforde – Photo courtesy of Jasper Fforde
  12. Joe Hill – Photo courtesy of Joe Hill
  13. Kelley Armstrong – Photo courtesy of Kelley Armstrong
  14. Kevin Hearne – Photo courtesy of Kevin Hearne
  15. Robert J. Sawyer – Photo courtesy of Robert J. Sawyer; Photographer: Bernard Clark
  16. Sarah J. Maas – Photo courtesy of Bloomsberg Publishing (USA); Photographer: Josh Wasserman

16 Art Initiatives Saying No to Violence Against Women

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArt can be an effective healing tool and resource for survivors of Violence Against Women (VAW) who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and other disorders due to the impact to one’s mental and emotional health from the violence. The creation of art acts as a catalyst to transform pain and negative experiences to healing and growth.

Art as a voice for activism is a natural progression because art as a healing tool is integrally linked to advocacy. Art is at once personal and universal. The emotional impact of art as a language crosses cultural lines, economic lines, and social lines. Art brings intensity to activism as it brings the survivors’ individual lived experience to the global eye. Artistic expression via the visual arts such as paintings, murals, photography, street graffiti and comics; as well as more tactile forms of the arts including fashion, sculptures, quilting, and pottery is a universal language understood by all and one of the earliest forms of communication to inform, educate, and communicate.

These 16 artists and art groups from all over the world work singularly or join forces to create and use art as an activism tool to end the silence about VAW and raise awareness. It is their lived experiences of violence and the global movement to end VAW that unites and inspires them. We hope that these 16 artists and their initiatives will engage you and inspire you to share and expand your own artistic ventures to join the global conversation to end VAW.

- Written and compiled by Carol Olson; Additional research and material by Samantha Carroll and Jennifer Gallienne.
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Art Against VAW #1: Alejandra Adorno Menduiña, Stand Up for Women’s Rights Now – Global

Stand Up for Women’s Rights Now: Stop Violence Against Women is an international touring exhibition which challenges conventional attitudes towards violence against women. The brainchild of Argentinian artist Alejandra Adorno Menduiña, it began its worldwide journey with an extensive tour of Latin America. The exhibition includes works from France, Germany, Iran, Syria and Taiwan and has also toured Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Italy and Argentina.

Art Against VAW #2: A Long Walk Home: Arts, Activism, Advocacy – United States of America

Founded in 2003, A Long Walk Home, Inc. (ALWH) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to end violence against girls and women. ALWH features the testimonies and art by survivors and their allies in order to provide safe and entertaining forums through which the public can learn about healing from and preventing gender-based violence.

Art Against VAW #3: Candi Castleberry Singleton, Dignity and Respect Quilt Campaign – United States of America

Candi Castleberry Singleton has recruited more than 90 volunteers to design and create a ceramic quilt to increase awareness of violence against women, called the Dignity and Respect Campaign. “You will see a variety of tiles but combined they make a statement that we wanted to make the women in the shelter know that we care and this would serve as a permanent reminder that we care,” says campaign founder Candi Castleberry Singleton. Singleton says a goal of the awareness initiative is personal safety. “Whether it’s feeling safe with someone they’re living with, whether it’s feeling safe with someone they’re working with, I think the most important thing is for people to know where to go to get resources before they actually need them.”

art by Charlotte Farhan

art by Charlotte Farhan

Art Against VAW #4: Charlotte Farhan, Art to End the Silence on Rape – France and England

Charlotte Farhan has always been artistic and spent her childhood being encouraged to pursue her artistic nature, with dual nationality between France and Britain and growing up between Paris and within an hour of London. Charlotte wants to inspire and wants to continue building her career as an artist. Hoping to break boundaries within society and the art world whilst helping raise awareness for certain causes. Her most recent art is to raise awareness to end the silence about rape.

Art Against VAW #5: Comics with a Cause – Canada

The Comics with a Cause campaign was started to escalate awareness of sexual assault and violence through a new comic called BRANDED.  Writer Rodrigo Caballero wanted to abolish the stereotype that comic books are made “by men for boys”.  Caballero’s comic focuses on a character named the Brander who locates and punishes men who harm women.  Caballero stated that he wanted confront abuse of women by exposing cases of violence that happen domestically, in the home.

Comics With A Cause

Art Against VAW #6: Ewa Grochowska, Freedom4Ewa Pottery – United States of America

Ewa Grochowska is an artist and activist working to end violence against women. She is the founder of Freedom4Ewa in which she helps survivors live in love by providing support and donating art supplies. She donates her time and supplies to provide art programmes to children living in domestic violence shelters, and reaches out to the public to share her story of survival to spread awareness. In 2013, she started Freedom4Ewa with a goal to bring domestic violence to extinction.

Art Against VAW #7: Graffiti to Combat Violence Against Women – Brazil

Brazilian street artists used the spotlight of the World Cup to highlight a problem close to home. Special correspondent Sophia Kruz of Detroit Public Television reports on a movement in Brazil to spread awareness of domestic violence through the art of graffiti.

Art Against VAW #8: Hey Baby! Art Opposing Sexual Violence – United States of America

Hey Baby! Art Opposing Sexual Violence is an art workshop and exhibition series to raise awareness of and bring about an end to sexual violence. The Hey Baby! project combines education with art to create interactive exhibitions. The art work can be a lot of different formats, including buttons, patches, zines, and posters. All of the art is replicable, meaning that people can take copies of it with them from the exhibitions.

Art Against #VAW #9: Hilom – The Philippines

Kasibulan, an organisation that uses art to rouse change for women in the Philippines, created Hilom to advocate against violence towards women.  Hilom is taking place during the 16 days of activism and features artwork by women for women.  Kasibulan, known for its commitment to the arts and using various mediums art as a means of transformation in the lives of Filipino women, hopes to develop a cultural consciousness with their campaign.

Wall of MemoriesArt Against #VAW #10: Wall of Memories: Las Desaparecidas de Cuidad Juarez – Mexico and United States of America

Artist Diane Kahlo (a distant descendent of Frida Kahlo), put together an exhibition of painting, sculpture and video entitled Femicide to remind us of the more than 1,000 missing and murdered women of Cuidad Juarez, Mexio.  The violence towards women, highlighted in 1993, has reached epidemic levels today.  Kahlo’s display included two embellished coffins as well as a wall installation of skulls that represented the bodies of unidentified girls.  “Because the feminicide addresses the intersection of gender, race, class and economic status, as well as political and economic dialogue about globalization, human and sex trafficking and drug violence, the exhibition serves as a vehicle to create interdisciplinary dialogue,” said Kahlo.

Art Against VAW #11: Merna Thomas, Shout Art Loud – Egypt

Graffiti artists, cartoonists, dancers and actors are fighting back against rising levels of violence and sexism in the streets of Cairo. “We believe that spreading images, things that people are familiar with, women figures that people know and sayings that people know brings back some positivity about women in general,” says Merna Thomas, co-founder of a graffiti campaign to promote women’s rights in Cairo’s public spaces.

Art Against VAW #12: Nizhegorodsky Women’s Crisis Centre, Art Therapy for Victims and Witnesses of Violence – Russia

Nizhegorodsky Women’s Crisis Centre is a Russian nonprofit devoted to serving domestic violence victims by incorporating art as a healing and advocacy tool for survivors of domestic violence and children who survive violent homes. Russia is currently in the process of examining the prevalence of domestic violence and the changes needed to improve it’s laws.

Art Against VAW #13: Priya’s Shakti – India

Priya’s Shakti is a comic book with a female rape survivor as its “super hero” that has been launched to focus attention on the problem of sexual violence in India. The comic book is inspired by Hindu mythological tales, tells the story of Priya, a young woman and gang-rape survivor, and Goddess Parvati as they fight against gender crimes in India. Indian-American filmmaker Ram Devineni, one of its creators, said that the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape triggered the idea. People anywhere in the world can download a free digital copy of the comic

Art Against VAW #14: Saint Hoax, Happy Never After – Global

Artist Saint Hoax created a series of Disney Princess posters that encouraged young sexual assault survivors to report their attacks. Following that he used the Disney Princess posters to raise awareness about domestic violence. “As a Middle Eastern artist, I always have the urge to voice out the injustice and inequality that takes place in my region,” Saint Hoax said. “Sadly, the news here is filled with stories of abused housewives, daughters, sisters, mothers.”

Art Against VAW #15: Stop al Femminicidio (Stop Femicide!) – Italy

The Stop al Femminicidio campaign, which took place on International women day, used “Three universes female: art, culture and fashion” as its theme to highlight violence against women.  The campaign’s goal was to alter the cultural heritage of abuse and have women reclaim their dignity.  Stop al Femminicidio, in collaboration with designer Antonella Fini, was staged in Porto Torres and featured fashion in shades of red.  An exhibition of red shoes was placed outside the National Archaeological Museum to draw attention to femicide.

Art Against VAW #16: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Stop Telling Women to Smile – United States of America

stoptellingwomentosmileTatyana Fazlalizadeh is the woman behind “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” the public art project that is tackling gender-based street harassment in a big way. Through stunning wheat paste portraits and powerful statements like “My outfit is not an invitation” or “Women are not outside for your entertainment,” Fazlalizadeh fearlessly responds to the unsolicited act of cat calling with street art you can’t ignore. “Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide,” Fazlalizadeh writes on her website. “This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street — creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”

The Pixel Project’s Best Blog Articles of 2014

Blog and PenAt The Pixel Project, we are the voices of people from all over the world connecting to change communities. We are a force of volunteer researchers, writers, interviewers, artistes and editors that collaborate to bring a diverse array of programmes to inform and educate in as many ways as possible. We interact with people to bring attention to campaigns developed in both highly populated areas and remote areas around the world, to share news stories of positive activism and to highlight new programmes developed through our bi-monthly e-news digest, highlighting activists through our Facebook page, sharing information and resources through our daily Twitter help-lines and by writing thoughtful and inspiring blog posts on our main website and our campaign micro-sites.

As a virtual nonprofit organisation, we combine technology, social media, popular culture, the arts, and journalism with activism and resources that can be accessed from anywhere by anyone and everyone to draw attention to the many ways violence against women (VAW) affects the lives of all people in all communities all around the world. We seek to identify and bring to global attention the work of new, emerging, innovative and creative activists and allies from all walks of life who are contributing to the cause to end violence. It is through the efforts of these remarkable people and their campaigns that are changing communities and creating a global network of individuals that are joining together through their diverse efforts to bring awareness to the international community and changing the conversation about violence.

This year, we have not only continued our monthly Inspirational Interview series and our wonderful 30 for 30 Father’s Day June campaign; we have developed two new series: The Survivor Stories Project and our “30 Artistes, 30 Songs, 30 Days” interview series. These series have brought new voices into our collective. The stories of surviving and thriving from The Survivor Stories Project bring stories of empowerment that share hope and the transformative power of healing. The “30 Artistes, 30 Songs, 30 Days” interview series includes music artistes and the power of music activism in our efforts to inform the public and raise funds to contribute to the work to end violence worldwide.

While all of our interviewees are worthy of inclusion, we picked 16 to share for this series. We hope you read through all of the stories and campaigns we have highlighted this past year and hope these individuals and groups spotlighted this year motivates you to join the effort to end VAW.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

- Carol Olson, Editor-in-Chief (2014) – The Pixel Project

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Blog Article Selection #1: 30 Artistes, 30 Songs, 30 Days, AHMIR – United States of America

AHMIR, The Pixel Project’s YouTube ambassador, is the #1 Most Popular R&B Group on YouTube. The group has used their success to bring awareness to charity organisations including The Pixel Project. Their cover video of P!nk’s “Perfect” was named one of the top Anti-Bullying PSA’s by The Huffington Post.  Their video of covering Unconditionally incorporated information about the Pixel Project in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Campaign and all proceeds from the digital downloads of the single go towards supporting The Pixel Project’s anti-Violence Against Women work.

Blog Article Selection #2: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign: Colin D’Silva – India and Singapore

Colin has a doctorate in Biochemistry/Microbiology and has been working in the cosmetics industry for over 16 years. He worked in retail beauty for most of his career, and is now working in the prestige/luxury beauty industry. He says: “Men need to understand and accept that manhood is not about being macho. Patience, kindness, home life balance, and equality in the home are part of what the father needs to instill in the family and live out himself. Fathers and male role models must be vocal about condemning violence against women. They must encourage all boys & men to do the same and not turn a blind eye to this issue.”

Blog Article Selection #3: Inspirational Interview: David Lee – of The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) – United States of America

Our first Inspirational Interview of 2014 was with David Lee, Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and manager of PreventConnect, the nation’s leading online community to advance primary prevention of violence against women. David said: “In many ways prevention work is, at its core, about inspiring activists, building a movement, and creating policies, procedures and practices that fit our vision for a world without sexual and domestic violence.”

Blog Articles Selection #4: Survivor Stories Project: Deborah J. Monroe – United States of America

Deborah survived both child abuse and interpersonal violence as a young adult. She details her story of survival in her book: “Hurt No More”. She is now a public speaker, advocate, mentor, blogger, and founder of Victimize Me No More, a nonprofit with a mission to spread awareness about domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.

Endriani SiswantiBlog Article Selection #5: Survivor Stories Project: Endriani Siswanti – Indonesia

Endriani survived 8 years of domestic violence. She has published her story in the Jakarta Globe under the title “Lighting the Path to Safety with Pundi Perempuan.” She writes about her journey of healing and her success at leaving the relationship and pursuing a healthy life. Endriani says: “Hopeless, frightened, butchered and bruised. It was 2006 and I was flying away from an abusive husband and eight years of bad marriage. With neither a family nor a safe place to turn to, I only had an address from a portable calendar in my home: The Women Crisis Center in South Jakarta.”

Blog Article Selection #6: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign: Hasman Farid Mohd Ali Noh - Malaysia

Hasman Farid is a happily married dad of three children, aged thirteen, eight, and three. He has worked in the financial industry for the past 15 years in both Malaysia and Singapore. He says: “My attitude towards women and girls are directly related to the way my father treats my mother. In my life, I have never once seen my father scold my mother or expect my mother to attend to his needs and fancies […] men who treat women violently are the most cowardly human beings.”

Blog Article Selection #7: Inspirational Interview: Jaclyn Friedman, Writer, Educator, Activist. – United States of America

Jaclyn Friedman is the Executive Director of Women Action Media – an organisation which focuses on fighting gender injustice in the media. She is a writer, educator, activist, and creator of the book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape and What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety. She spearheaded the #FBRape campaign that forced Facebook to review its policies on gender-based hate speech.

Blog Article Selection #8: Inspirational Interview: Julie S. Lalonde – of  Hollaback! Ottawa and Founder of the Draw the Line Campaign – Canada

Julie S. Lalonde is an award-winning social justice activist based out of Ottawa, Canada. She is the director of Hollaback!- Ottawa, and founder of Draw-the-Line.ca, which aims to end sexual violence by engaging bystanders. Lalonde said: “I cannot tolerate being silent about living in a rape culture. I cannot go to bed at night knowing that rape culture exists but doing nothing to stop it. I know that eradicating sexual violence means challenging the status quo and in turn, being really unpopular, but I do it anyway.”

Blog Article Selection #9: Inspirational Interview: Kriti Bharthi – The Saarthi Trust – India

Kriti Bharti is an internationally recognised Rehabilitation Psychologist for her work for child welfare and women empowerment. She established the charity Saarthi Trust in 2012 to help victims of India’s child marriage crisis and set up another charity, Badhtey Kadam, to help poor street children who are looking to improve their lives.

Kriti Bharti 1

Blog Article Selection #10: Inspirational Interview: Laura Bates – of Everyday Sexism Project. – United Kingdom

Laura Bates began the Everyday Sexism Project and has collected over 50,000 people’s experiences of gender imbalances. The project is now being used by politicians, schools, universities, businesses, police forces and the UN to make concrete steps towards ending gender inequality. She is Patron of Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS), which is a member of Rape Crisis England and Wales. Laura is also a Contributor at Women Under Siege, a New York-based organisation working against the use of rape as a tool of war in conflict zones worldwide.

Blog Article Selection #11: 30 Artistes, 30 Songs, 30 Days: Macy Kate – United States of America

Macy Kate is the youngest recording artist to record with Sean Kingston and has opened for Rick Springfield, Aaron Carter, the OMG Girlz, Seven Nations, IM5 and has performed at Radio Disney’s Silver Bells in front of 20k plus people. Macy believes it is important to help other women and young girls to reach their goals and dreams in a safe, loving environment. She uses her music to inspire other girls her age to believe in themselves and the value that they bring to the world.

Blog Article Selection #12: Inspirational Interview: Margeaux Gray - United States of America

Margeaux Gray  is a survivor of child sex trafficking who has transcended her horror and today she uses her voice and art to educate, inspire, and empower others. She is an anti-human trafficking advocate, public speaker, and artist. Margeaux’s focus as a survivor-leader is to address the aftercare and healthcare needs of victims, as well as to work with healthcare professionals, educators, and students so that they can recognise and aid trafficking victims. Her mission as an advocate is to create a widespread awareness of the scope of trafficking and that it is a human rights issue.

Blog Article Selection #13: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign: Martin Copeland – United States of America

Martin is the husband to Siobhan and father to Jaxon, who is four months old. His other roles fall behind those. He has been told that he has been a dad for years because he works and volunteers in youth work as a teacher, college access advisor, youth leader, and mentor for young men in the DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia) for over 10 years. Martin says: “Fathers and other male role models must actually model appropriate behaviour for the young men in their lives. Young men have to see examples of men who not only respect women but acknowledge the injustices against women in this world.”

Blog Article Selection #14: Inspirational Interview: Ruth Jones – Director of the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse. – United Kingdom

Ruth Jones has been celebrated for her work in research and education on the issue of domestic violence and violence against women. She has been instrumental in developing the first MA in Professional Development focused on The Dynamics of Domestic Violence at the University of Worcester. Ruth says: “Gender-based violence will never be prevented if we don’t address the underlying factors that are conducive to its perpetration of violence, not least of which is gender inequality. In a society in which women and girls continue to be sexualised, objectified, and vilified, we have still have a long way to go.”

Blog Article Selection #15: Inspirational Interview: Soraya Chemaly – Activist, Writer, Feminist – United States of America

Soraya is a writer, media critic and activist focused on women’s rights and the role of gender in politics, religion and popular culture. In collaboration with Jaclyn Friedman and Laura Bates, she spearheaded the #FBRape campaign to hold Facebook accountable for their disregard of the video’s and images of rape on their site.

Check out this Google Hangout chat with Soraya, Jaclyn and Regina Yau (Founder of The Pixel Project) discussing online violence against women:

Blog Article Selection #16: Inspirational Interview: Trace Fleming – Creator of Facebook platform: Self-Care for Advocates – United States of America

Trace G. Fleming is an activist and advocate working to end violence against women. She is the creator of both the Advocate News and Self-Care for Advocates, platforms on Facebook to serve advocates. Trace is the new Sexual Violence Program Director and Coordinator of the Abuse in Later Life Project at 2nd Chance, Inc. Trace says: “This [Self-Care for Advocates]  is a safe, feminist space open for advocates to share when they are struggling with burn out or vicarious trauma. It’s …a space for advocates to receive and give support.”

The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest – The “16 For 16″ 2014 Edition

News-Coffee9-150x150Welcome to our 16 for 16 Special Edition of The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest. In this edition, we bring you the top 16 news headlines in each category related to violence against women over the past year.

2014 can be seen as a banner year for progress in the global fight to end violence against women with the movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continuing strong momentum in the UK and debuting in the USA, more people than ever (including ‘Harry Potter’ star Emma Watson) speaking out in support of feminism and stopping violence against women, more educational efforts ranging from schools teaching children about what forced marriage is (Australia) and what FGM is (UK), and what looks like an increasingly number of men getting on board the cause via efforts such as UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign and the White Ribbon campaign.

To kick things off, here are 16 of the biggest trending VAW headlines of 2014:

Every contribution matters. If you have any news you’d like to share about violence against women, please email The Pixel Project at info@thepixelproject.net. If you prefer to receive up-to-the-minute news concerning violence against women, follow us on Twitter . It’s time to stop violence against women together.

Best regards,
The Pixel Project Team


Violence Against Women – General


Domestic Violence


Sexual Assault / Rape


Human / Sex Trafficking


Female Genital Mutilation


Honour Killing and Forced/Child Marriage


Street Harassment


Activism

The Pixel Project Selection 2014: 16 Striking Anti-Violence Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

Give Peace a ChanceIn the past year we have come across groundbreaking campaigns and have been inspired by extraordinary women leading the fight against assault on women.  Women of different backgrounds have come together to add their voices in shaping a better future for women and girls globally.  Ordinary, yet brilliant, movements like ‘#YesAllWomen’ and ‘Take Back The Tech’, prompted frank and honest debates concerning sexual harassment online and in our daily lives.  Actress Emma Watson helped launched a new initiative—the ‘He4She’ campaign—with the UN in support of gender equality.  And the courageous 17-year-old, Malala Yousafzai, won the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to human rights and advocacy for the education of girls and women.

While we’ve seen progress, the ongoing battle that women face must be noted and addressed.  We live in a world where women are still regarded as collateral damage in war zones when they are taken hostage, raped or killed for political motives. Women are still the victims of hate crime as witnessed in the Isla Vista Killings. Women’s rights are still infringed upon in ordinary public settings, such as being harassed and touched without consent on the streets, as seen in Sam Pepper’s disturbing YouTube videos.  Add all this to domestic abuse of women in their homes, and it becomes startlingly clear that women are viewed as second-class citizens in many parts of the world.

So today, in honour of all VAW activists, nonprofits and grassroots group who toil in such thankless situations to bring about positive change to the lives of women and girls facing violence, we present 16 of the most striking campaigns/programmes we have come across in the last year of our work.

What these campaigns have in common are:

  • The built-in “water-cooler” factor that gets the community buzzing about the campaign and, by extension, the issue of VAW.
  • A good sense of what works in and for the culture and community where the activist/nonprofit/grassroots group is trying to effect change.

We hope that these campaigns and initiatives inspire you to take action and get on board the cause to end VAW.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

- Written and compiled by Samantha Carroll


99c4edb83bStriking Anti-VAW Campaign #1: Act together in Prevention and Response to GBV and Child Abuse – Rwanda

The Rwandan government, with the support of the National Police force, took proactive steps in reducing violence against woman with plans to have the Isange One Stop Centre overhauled by 2017.  Isange, launched at the Kacyiru Police Hospital in 2009, provides free medical and legal services to those affected by violence. The campaign’s top priority was addressing the number of sexual crimes as well as spousal murders that take place within the country.  The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Odda Gasinzigwa, called on citizens to get involved and support the police in preventing gender-based violence (GBV) and the abuse of children.

cp_and_gbv_messages_english_pdfStriking Anti-VAW Campaign #2: Amani – Jordan

The ‘Amani’ campaign launched in Za’atari, a refugee camp in Jordan with a population of 81, 000 Syrian men, women and children who fled Syria after the civil war broke out in 2011.  Much of the harassment in Za’atari is faced by women and young girls and Amani’s goal was to protect children and women from violence while teaching Syrian women about agencies they could contact for help and spreading awareness. Social workers visited homes to provide information about gender-based violence and child protection.  The message of the campaign was: “Our sense of safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #3: #AmINext – Canada

Loretta Saunders was murdered while writing a thesis on violence against Aboriginal women in Canada.  In response, her cousin Holly Jarrett, started a petition on Change.org which received 320,000 signatures.  What followed was a viral campaign with Canadian women using the #AmINext hashtag on Twitter.  Women tagged friends to post an #AmINext selfie to draw attention to the widespread violence against Aboriginal women.  Many called on government and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to act.  It is estimated that there are 1,186 missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #4: AWAM’s Nationwide Campaign on Domestic Violence – Malaysia

A nationwide campaign on domestic violence launched in July of 2013 and ran through to September 2014 in Malaysia.  SOGO Kuala Lumpur funded the campaign, which looked to provide information and services for families affected by domestic abuse.  A Community Message Video was released and used for public education and training activities.  Celebrities, non-governmental organizations, and service providers, such as Hospital (OSCC), Police (D11) and the Welfare Department (DV), all came together to lend their support.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #5: Blow the Whistle – South Africa

1 in 3 South African women will have been abused before the age of 18.  News headlines of grotesque rape and murders are as recurrent as they are shocking.  Legacy Lifestyle teamed up with South African celebrities and ambassadors to create the Blow the Whistle campaign.  The campaign intends to keep South African women and children safe by means of whistles as well as a mobile app.  Blow the Whistle urges men and ordinary bystanders to take charge and act when they witness atrocious crimes being committed against women.  Whistles are sold on the Blow the Whistle website, and the proceeds are donated to the DNA Project and the development of DNA forensic technology, which will ensure that perpetrators of rape are accurately identified and held accountable.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #6: Carry the Weight Together – United States of America

In August 2012, Emma Sulkowicz was raped in her college dorm room at Columbia University.  Sulkowicz reported her rapist to Columbia’s disciplinary panel who found him “not responsible”.  Thereafter, two more female students came forward and identified the same individual as their rapist.  This past September, Sulkowicz, a visual art student, did something novel, which sparked a nationwide movement on college campus’ around the US:  she began carrying her mattress with her everywhere and vowed that she would not put it down until her rapist was expelled or left Columbia on his own accord.   On October 29th, students from various colleges around the US amassed to Carry the Weight Together by carrying mattresses in support of Sulkowicz and other rape survivors, and raising awareness of sexual violence.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #7: #Choice4Life – Nigeria

A social media campaign that brought together young Nigerians set the web ablaze in support of safe abortion and stopping violence against women and girls.  #Choice4Life advocates encouraged the appropriate punishment for perpetrators of gender-based violence and the protection of women’s rights.  In the past year, one in ten Nigerian women said they had experienced violence.  The choice to use social media tools like Twitter successfully ensured that the youth of Nigeria were engaged in raising awareness.  The #Choice4Life campaign also opposed the sexual violence committed against school girls who were taken hostage by Boko Haram earlier this year.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #8: MAN UP – Ireland

ManUp was the first campaign in Ireland to adopt new national public awareness guidelines that were published by COSC (the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence).   These guidelines moved to raise awareness of safety information for survivors while also focusing on the behaviour of perpetrators.  As the campaign name suggests, men were invited to participate in finding a solution for ending violence against women in Ireland.  The campaign took a bold approach by sharing stories that, albeit unsettling, were necessary to wake up the public, and men in particular.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #9: Man vs Woman: Stop This Match – Italy

This award-winning campaign by Avon and Looking for Water sought to eliminate violence against women through advertising.  ‘Man vs Woman: Stop This Match’, was created after it was noted that violence seemed to be a man’s favourite sport, with a woman seen as the fitting opponent for domination.  The campaign was also concerned with the subtle, nuanced, and non-violent ways in which women experience abuse via name-calling, humiliation, control and manipulation. The face of the ‘Man vs Woman’ campaign was Italian rugby union footballer, Mauro Bergamasco, who denounced violence against women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #10: The National Anti-Rape Campaign (NARC) – Nepal

Nepal’s Anti-Rape Campaign has been busy for a little over a year trying to secure protection for women even after the failure of government to amend the nation’s rape law. A sit-in protest began at Bhadrakali, Kathmandu on April 29th after demands issued by campaigners were disregarded.  Campaigners demanded that new, effective laws against rape be implemented and aligned with human rights, a constitution that guarantees the rights of women be developed, and that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee have more female representation.  Action Works Nepal (AWON) has been actively participating to see that the ‘National Anti-Rape Campaign’ demands are met.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #11: #NOTokay – Canada          

#NOTokay, the social media campaign by the YWCA, began as a question:  “Why are we treating violence against women lightly in popular culture?”  The campaign highlighted music videos, internet memes and television programmes that show an industry that makes belittling, sexualising and abusing women seem normal and “okay”.  This campaign aimed to raise awareness about the media we expose ourselves and our children to and what consequences these misleading messages are bound to have. [TRIGGER WARNING: The animation clips below contain graphic depictions of violence against women.]

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #12: Shine a Light – Australia

Domestic violence claims the life of a woman every week in Australia and 1.6 million Australian women have experienced abuse in their homes.  It is said that less than half the victims report their cases to the police due to fear of social alienation or economic ruin.  The ‘Shine a Light’ campaign, created by the Herald and Daily Life, intends to raise awareness of violence towards women, hold government accountable, and create safer living environments for families across Australia.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #13: Spot of Shame – India

Stop Acid Attacks is an Indian organisation that aims to stop the brutal acid attacks suffered by 270 women every year.  This year the organisation started an intrepid campaign called Spot of Shame.  The campaign, held from 22 January to 2 February 2014, encouraged women to mark certain areas in cities (Spots of Shame) with black and yellow stamps, where victims were attacked, assaulted or abused.  The organisation targeted train stations as many women are raped on crowded trains or buses.  300 protestors converged in Mumbai at Bandra Terminus to lend support to the campaign.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #14: #StandUpWorldCup – The United Kingdom

Recent Lancaster University research showed that domestic violence can rise to 26 percent when the English football team wins or draws, and rises a further 38 percent when the national team loses a game.  The Tender Education and Arts group in the UK put together a campaign under the tagline #StandUpWorldCup, and produced a haunting PSA via YouTube.  The PSA depicts an anxious woman watching a football game and hoping with all her might that the right team wins because she knows the likelihood of what will happen if they do not.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #15: The Brave Is Not Violent – Brazil

Another World Cup campaign to stop violence against women was ‘The Brave Is Not Violent’ initiative launched in the 2014 host nation, Brazil.  The campaign aimed to alter sexist behaviour and highlight the responsibility of men to advocate for an end to gender-based violence.  Football fans who attended FanFests were approached by volunteers and received stickers with such slogans as ‘Valente not Violent’ printed on them.   UN Women in Brazil supported the campaign by installing trailers next to the FanFests where HIV testing was conducted and condoms were freely distributed.  The representative of UN Women in Brazil, Nadine Gasman, stated that a sporting event was a great occasion to draw attention to violence against women and to eradicate gender stereotypes.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #16: Women Confront VAW using ICTs – Uganda

The Association for Progressive Communication and Isis-WICCE partnered together to create an initiative that incorporated technology to combat violence against women in the fishing community of Namaingo, Uganda.  Although technology has advanced, many women in remote communities lack technical knowledge, skills and appropriate resources to properly engage with others already connected to the worldwide web.  The initiative provided ITC training which helped the women send out SMS messages to local leaders and the general public, denouncing acts of violence against women.  The SMS messages were sent in local language and helped educate the Namaingo community about VAW.

16 Ways You Can Make Online Spaces Safer For Women

For the 11th day of the 16 Days of Activism, we are pleased to share a special blog list of 16 actions that anyone can take to become upstanders taking make online spaces safer for women from our partner,Breakthrough and their Bell Bajao campaign (now Breakthrough India).

Note: For additional tips and ideas on how to take action to stop online violence, you can read our 2013 article on 16 ways men can help stop cyberVAW.

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SearchQuick – what’s the first thing you think of when you see the phrase ‘safe public spaces’? For most of us, we see well-lit streets, marketplaces bustling with people of all genders, public transport where women don’t fear to tread. But how many of us stop to consider the less ‘physical’ world?

The online space is as legitimate a public space as any, and like the streets, marketplaces and buses around us, as prone to incidences of harassment and violence against women. A woman on the internet is may be subject to death threats, rape threats, or worse, and none of us are strangers to stories of harassment ‘forcing’ women being off social networks or gaming communities.

Fortunately, the solution rests with us – the citizens of the internet. We can act to create online spaces that are safer for everyone – here are 16 ways how:

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Action To Stop Online VAW #1: Believe survivors when they say they have experienced violence. It takes a great amount of courage to come forward and share a traumatic experience publicly. It is difficult enough for survivors to share their stories, the last thing they need is to have their experiences doubted.

Action To Stop Online VAW #2: Know the law and don’t be afraid to use it. Several countries regard cyber crimes as criminal offenses. If you spot someone engaging in cyber threats , do not hesitate to bring them to justice, legally.

Help ButtonAction To Stop Online VAW #3. Intervene when you spot someone being vilified or bullied online. All you have to do is interrupt the conversation and distract the bully.

Action To Stop Online VAW #4: Watch your language when interacting online. A lot of the words and phrases we use frequently are riddled with sexism and idealise masculinity. For instance “don’t be such a girl” makes femininity out to be a negative thing, while “be a man” glorifies masculinity. The phrases we use have the power to tip or equalise the gender balance.

Action To Stop Online VAW #5. Use “block” and “report” liberally – one of the easiest things to do is report abusive or violent online behaviour. Social networks and major website usually have a very low-tolerance policy when it comes to offensive behaviour online and respond rapidly to reports.

Action To Stop Online VAW #6. Concentrate on the argument when in an online debate. The internet is a hotbed for discussion, debate and differences in opinion. When arguments get messy, don’t debase yourself by name-calling the other person. Focus on the point and hand and use reason and logic to make your point, rather than belittling personal attributes.

Action To Stop Online VAW #7. Don’t blame the victim. Whether online, or offline – NOBODY deserves abuse or violence. Don’t fall into the “they asked for it” or “they had it coming” arguments – these just reinforce patriarchal mindsets.

Action To Stop Online VAW #8: Don’t feed the trolls. Sometimes the best action is no action. Trolls make it their mission to disrupt or upset others around them. You can identify them by their resistance to listening to or accepting a point of view that differs from their own. Once you’ve spotted a troll, refrain from interacting with them entirely.

Action To Stop Online VAW #9: Respect the discomfort of others. We may not always know why another person feels uncomfortable during a conversation, but something that is trivial to us may be of great significance, or a trigger for them. Respect their situation if they tell you they are feeling uncomfortable and move on to another topic.

Action To Stop Online VAW #10. Call out abusive or offensive behaviour. Take intervention a step further, and instead of just interrupting the aggressor, call them out on their behaviour. A phrase like ‘that’s a sexist thing to say’ or ‘this is discriminatory’ or even ‘there’s no need to be aggressive’ can be all it takes to bring bad behaviour to notice.

Action To Stop Online VAW #11: Check your privilege. If English is your first language and you’re from a middle class family, you’re already at an advantage online. We often aren’t even aware of our own privilege before falling into shouting matches with others on the internet.

Girl in LaptopAction To Stop Online VAW #12: Encourage more women to come online. The greater the number of women in public spaces, the safer those public spaces are. Work towards gender-equality online by helping create it.

Action To Stop Online VAW #13: Show sensitivity towards other cultures. In a space where people from different countries and cultures intermingle. Be open to listening to the voices of those who have gone through different experiences and learn from their stories. Not everyone goes through the same life experiences.

Action To Stop Online VAW #14:. Stop body-shaming. Calling people names because you perceive them as too fat, too thin, wearing inappropriate clothing or makeup that isn’t professionally applied is just one of the ways the anonymity the internet provides enables such malicious behaviour. Don’t engage in it, and don’t tolerate it from others

Action To Stop Online VAW #15. Don’t marginalise other communities. Not just gender, but making comments that marginalise or demean individuals based on class, sex, race, caste, ability, sexual preference, age or weight all contribute to creating unwelcoming public spaces.

Action To Stop Online VAW #16. Make it visible. Finally, don’t hesitate to bring abusive or offensive behaviour to the public eye. Take screenshots, and spread the word. Make violence against women and girls in every space unacceptable.

16 Ideas for Helping Survivors of Violence Against Women Rebuild Their Lives

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There is no single definitive solution for rebuilding one’s life as a survivor of gender-based violence because the personal journey to healing varies for each individual woman or girl. Though many have suffered these experiences, the conduit to recovery is a unique one. Every woman or girl reacts and processes her experience of violence differently; every individual heals and comes to terms with post-trauma at their own pace. In addition, the way each survivor deals with her trauma depends on the culture she is in, the community of which she is a member, and the resources to which she has access.

Although recovery is complicated, frustrating and long-term process that is always a work-in-progress, building a new life is not impossible for many survivors. In this article, we list out a number of actions and starting points that may be able to help clear a pathway to healing and make it a little easier for survivors and the network of potential supporters around them (e.g. friends, family, community) who are also often at a loss as to how to help ease their pain and be there for them on their journey. Together, both survivors and their supporters can work through the healing process and deal effectively with the traumatic experience.

We have divided our ideas/tips into a section for communities and a section for survivors themselves.  These suggestions are by no means comprehensive but we hope they will not only help with kickstarting the healing process for some survivors and their supporters, but also awareness that we can all help improve upon the how individuals and communities can mitigate and work their way through after-effects of traumatic experiences such as domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, and female genital mutilation.

NOTE: This article is a companion article to last year’s article about 16 ways you can help support VAW survivors which you can read in tandem with this article to get more ideas and suggestions that you may be able to apply to your situation/community.

Written and compiled by Ashley Sapp with additional content by Regina Yau. Introduction by Ashley Sapp and Regina Yau.

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8 Ideas/Tips for Violence Against Women (VAW) Survivors

Survivor Tip #1: Acceptance

The first building block in reclaiming your life after the violence is acceptance because acknowledging what has occurred can help start you on the road to recovery. Much like with grieving, part of being able to move forward and rebuild one’s life is to accept what has happened to you and how it has changed you and your life. This is because denial may prevent you from acknowledging where your life currently stands and how to go about healing from your wounds, especially when it comes to the complications of living with the consequences of violence. Acceptance does not mean that you are “over it” because your healing process can never be rushed and many survivors find that it is a long-term process that requires constant work but it’s a process that requires a first step. And acceptance is that first step.

Survivor Tip #2: Self-Awareness

There is nothing more important than recognising the emotions and thoughts you may be having, particularly after a traumatic event. Shielding yourself from your own mind is akin to putting up a partition that prevents you from working through your experiences and hinders the healing process. Understand that although you are not alone and others have shared this type of experience, the way you heal and behave and react can and will be unique.  No one follows the same pattern, and this is okay. Also, everyone deals with this at their own pace, so whether you prefer to face it immediately or to put it away for a while until you have healed physically (if you have sustained physical injuries), it’s up to you. Just remember that it’s important to do so before your emotions and thoughts begin festering and causing you more hurt.

hobbiesSurvivor Tip #3: The Power of Creativity

Even if you are not the best writer or the most artistic person in the world, writing and crafts can serve as therapeutic tools after your traumatic experience. Very often, there is a feeling of loss after experiencing any sort of violence because violence is inherently destructive. Channeling your emotions and thoughts into words, art, dance, or music can be a pivotal part of working through everything that accompanies being a VAW survivor for several reasons. Firstly, creative activities may be able to help with revealing more about how you are feeling and dealing with what has occurred, and can also bring about new understanding that could be beneficial to your recovery. Secondly, creative activities may be a cathartic way for you find your voice after your traumatic experience. Thirdly, for some individuals, being able to create something using your hands and imagination may well be able to counteract the destructiveness of the violence inflicted on them by their abuser. For examples, see The Center for Women & Families.

Survivor Tip #4: Hobbies

If you are currently at a place in your recovery where you are not inclined to do creative activities, a simple activity you may want to consider undertaking is to remember the hobbies you enjoyed before the act of violence occurred. Even though you are dealing with a painful life-altering experience, it may help for you to remember some of the positive aspects of your life before the trauma. It can be easy to lose interest in hobbies and feel underwhelmed/ overwhelmed in general in the process of rebuilding yourself as a person and your life as a whole. However, if you are able to do so, being diligent about getting involved with the hobbies and activities that bring you joy (when you are ready) can be important in helping you because they can take you out of your mind for a bit into a place of happiness or, at least, comfort. In fact, if you have never had a hobby before, perhaps it is time to consider taking on one that can pique and absorb your interest effectively.

Survivor Tip #5: Use Available Resources

Sometimes it takes a long while for a survivor to reach this point, but the important thing is working towards being able to reach out and utilise all the tools and resources available around you that may be able to help you take the next step in reclaiming your life. Whether that means seeking help from family or friends, discussing what has happened with a survivors group, seeing a therapist, or calling a hotline number, feeling comfortable enough to explore your options is imperative to rebuilding. Some resources can be found on The Pixel Project’s Resources page.

Survivor Tip #6: Understand Timing

We all heal differently and within specific time frames and following our own distinctive patterns. No matter how quickly or slowly you move through the healing process, it only matters that you are moving through it at all. Comparing how you deal with your pain and how you manage your situation with how other survivors do it is unnecessary because there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Do what feels right. Do what helps you. But the main thing –the most important thing—is to take care of you. Listen to what your body and mind need and try to communicate that with both yourself and loved ones.

Survivor Tip #7: Unlearn Shame

Though hearing from others that what happened to you is not your fault can help, it is something you must learn and understand for yourself. You have no reason to feel guilty for your abuser’s/attacker’s actions because it was their choice to inflict violence on you. You have no reason to doubt that you are a survivor in every sense of the word, and though you will feel a bewildering range of emotions that come with being a survivor, shame should not be one of them. It is possible to unlearn shame as long as you continue to remind yourself of the truth: you are not to blame for what happened to you. Place post-its and reminders of this on your wall or your mirror until it sinks in. Another crucial step you can take in unlearning shame is to put distance between yourself and the people in your life and your community who insisting on blaming the victim (you) for what has happened to you. This is a difficult action to take as victim-blamers may include your family and friends but it is important to identify those who will recognise that it is not your fault and who will focus on helping you heal instead of making you doubt yourself.

Survivor Tip #8: Network, Network, Network

While your healing process and experience is unique to you, it is something that others are working through too. Joining a network of victims and survivors of traumatic events such as assault, rape, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation can help break down the barriers of feeling alone or unequipped to handle recovery. These are your peers who understand at least part of the emotional terrain that you are navigating and those who are further down the line in their own healing may have some helpful advice that you could apply to your own situation. Plus, sharing your own insight and tips with other survivors could help you heal as well. You can find support groups locally or online, in places like Trauma Survivors Network.

8 Ideas/Tips For Communities, Families, and Friends of Violence Against Women (VAW) Survivors.

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Supporter Tip #1: Listen And Believe

When a survivor of any sort of gender-based violence or harassment—domestic violence, rape, female genital mutilation, and so on—reaches out to talk about her experience, she is not necessarily seeking advice. Instead, she is looking for a safe environment and people who will actively listen to her in a non-judgemental way. Survivors need to be heard and assured that their experience is important, instead of having their trauma explained away, blamed for what happened to them, or have decisions about their future made on their behalf without their consent. Nothing can change what has already occurred to the survivor, but having a trustworthy, stable, and accepting community of supporters (friends, family, helplines like RAINN) who believes her and does not blame her will do wonders for her recovery. Another advantage of making the commitment to listen to the survivor is that you will be better able to find out directly from her what she needs and what you can do to help alleviate her pain.

Supporter Tip #2:  Support In Appropriate Ways

For many VAW survivors, the healing process is a difficult one and what often brings the healing process to a halt is feeling too alone and isolated by the surrounding community to continue. As you listen to a survivor detail their feelings, thoughts, and experiences, it is important to remain supportive and to show that support in ways that the survivor is comfortable with. A few first steps you can take include: being reassuring, offering assistance when she needs or asks for assistance, doing research on healing resources for both you as a supporter and her as a survivor. Sometimes what is needed most by those who are recovering is simply knowing someone else will be there to help them and  walk with them through this journey of rebuilding. At the same time, amplify your public support for the survivor (and all survivors in your community) by challenging the attitudes of those around you who stigmatise the survivor. For example, if you hear someone shaming the survivor (or gossiping unkindly about them), speak up to call out that person’s behaviour.

Supporter Tip #3:  Do Your Research

Something that can help in any situation is to be well-informed, particularly when it comes to helping a VAW survivor in appropriate ways. One of the key steps to understanding the issues these survivors are facing as they progress toward healing (including: anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder) is to do your research – go online to educate yourself about them and what you can do to help the survivor. Although every survivor’s experience is unique, there are stages, symptoms, and signs of post-trauma recovery that the majority of survivors go through which you can learn to recognise in order to provide timely help. Once you are familiar with all this, you will be in a better place to take action to help  Here’s a quick starting point: Check out The Pixel Project’s VAW Facts section to learn about the different types of violence against women, then go to our “Getting Help” section to get checklists and tips for helping survivors.

Supporter Tip #4: Help Build Resources

Whether or not you are a survivor yourself, the issue of violence against women is faced by many; therefore, resources are invaluable in every community. If there are limited or no shelters, helplines, and funds nearby to assist survivors where you live, one place to start is with your employer or community center. Still no luck? Then start looking for ways to build resources in your community by raising awareness about VAW via flyers, community fundraisers, and networking with others who are willing to help create more resources and cognizance locally.  This can begin a movement in your community to ensure survivors have a safe environment to recover in while addressing victim-blaming and rape culture to effect wider social change.

Supporter Tip #5: Therapy Helps

Therapy can be beneficial part of the rebuilding process for survivors of rape, incest, domestic violence, and other forms of gender violence as it provides an additional level of help for healing on both an emotional and psychological level. However, therapy is not just for survivors – it can also be helpful for friends and family who are actively involved in helping the survivor. The right therapist can assist in better enabling you to be an effective supporter as someone equipped to help your loved one through this experience. There are sessions for you individually and that you can attend together with the survivor or as a group: utilise them. If private therapy is too expensive, find out if there are support groups or anti-VAW organisations nearby who may be able to help locate affordable therapy and counselling/guidance services for both survivors and the families/communities of the survivors.

Supporter Tip #6: Avoid Being Overbearing

While it is important to remain caring and supportive, there is a difference between doing so and being overbearing. Remember to respect the survivor’s needs. Do not push for more details when she is not ready nor should you try to “fix” problems or force her to talk beyond what she is comfortable discussing. Silence is not a bad thing and can in fact say quite a bit. Being there for a survivor means allowing her to be and to not pretend everything is okay.  When in doubt, ask the survivor about what she needs and how she would like you to help her. If she asks for some space or insists on accomplishing a task on her own steam, respect her decision to do so as this is part of her journey towards regaining her self-confidence and self-respect after the violence.

Supporter Tip #7: Be Attentive to Flashbacks or Panic Attacks

Flashbacks and panic attacks can be fairly common in VAW survivors, and responding to them in a compassionate and appropriate manner will go a long way towards helping the survivor manage and recover from these episodes. Help the survivor to breathe properly, let them know you realise this feels real to them, but remind them that it is not are all key actions to take. Describe her surroundings and have her do the same, turn off any triggering music/television, and bring the focus back to the moment. Remind the survivor there is nothing wrong with undergoing flashbacks or attacks, as they are an opportunity to understand and to work through her experiences. If the flashback or panic attack is very severe, call for appropriate medical or professional assistance.

Supporter Tip #8: Recognise The Importance of Self-Care

Finally: Friends and family of survivors of violence often experience their own feelings of guilt, shame, or loss of intimacy because they were unable to help the survivor when the violence was inflicted on her or feel helpless when faced with the survivor’s suffering. Chances are that you will also be affected by this experience, so be sure to help and take care of yourself through it as well because you need to keep yourself healthy on all levels in order to continue helping the survivor for the amount of time it would take for her to heal.

The Pixel Project Selection 2014 – 16 Notable Anti-VAW Activists and Organisations You Should Follow on Twitter

Twitter with MegaphoneWith Twitter quickly becoming a reliable, if not the most reliable, news source for many individuals, activism is beginning to play a major role within social media. For many, it is how resources are found, knowledge obtained, and discussions begun. Furthermore, organisations have taken notice and also use this new form of media to gain better outreach worldwide. Online volunteer charities and groups, such as The Pixel Project itself, are becoming a major staple in this modern age of activism.

Twitter offers a real-time view and perspective of what is occurring both elsewhere and in our own communities, enabling us to become more aware of social issues like violence against women. Information is very often a weapon of power, a tool to help us better our world through understanding. In this way, we are also creating an atmosphere of solidarity worldwide, which is something to take notice of.

Being able to look up a hashtag – #vaw for example – in order to find news sources, helplines, or other activists is a simple yet incredibly useful way to become involved. With that in mind, The Pixel Project presents our 2014 Twitter selection. We narrowed down the many incredible organisations and individuals involved in the cause to end violence against women to the 16 listed below. These are groups and people who will keep you informed simply because they share the passion to create a better tomorrow for girls and women everywhere.

Written by Ashley Sapp


Twitter Follow Recommendation 1: Canadian Women’s Foundation (@cdnwomenfdn)

Cdn Women FdnThe Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national organisation whose goal is to empower women and girls throughout Canada, aid them in moving out of violence and poverty, and rediscover a life of confidence and freedom. Furthermore, they host a wonderful campaign called Donate Your Voice, where the voices and faces of women who have been forced into sex trafficking are used to share stories by Canadians.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 2: Daughters of Eve (@daughtersofeve)

DOEDaughters of Eve is a non-profit charity organisation that campaigns to end gender-based violence and female genital mutilation worldwide in order to protect women and girls. Their work includes a broad advancement of physical, mental, and sexual health rights in order to bring an end to the FGM practice and prevent the young women at risk of being subjected to it.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 3: Everyday Feminism (@EvrydayFeminism)

everyday feminismLaunched in 2012, Everyday Feminism is an online magazine that works to amplify and accelerate the progressive cultural shifts taking place across the US and the world. With a following of 3 million users in over 200 countries, its mission is to not only shed light on the everyday discrimination, violence, and marginalization that occurs globally but also to bring an end to it. In doing so, it seeks to create an environment in which we can live without fear of silencing, violence, and dominance in our communities and everyday lives.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 4: Everyday Sexism (@EverydaySexism)

Everyday SexismThe Everyday Sexism project founded by Laura Bates has as its mission the documenting the experiences of harassment, sexism, and assault that occur on a day-to-day basis in order to create solidarity and raise awareness of how widespread the problem is. It aids in calling out how these levels of sexism are normalized in society and discussing ways to change this.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 5: Fem 2.0 (@Fem2pt0)

Fem2Pt0Feminism 2.0 is geared toward bringing together women’s grassroots organisations and online communities in order to connect voices, stories, and missions addressing women’s issues. Founders of Fem2pt0 recognised the potential of breaking down barriers between the many feminist activists utilizing new media and chose to enhance this pathway. Based in Washington DC, the group intends to create a better world and policies for women, families, and society.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 6: FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (@UpsettingRape)

FORCEFORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is a creative campaign geared toward upsetting the culture of rape. Furthermore, the organisation has formed the Monument Project, a display that calls for an end to violence against women through this monument dedicated to survivors of rape and abuse. It is a crowd-sourced platform of stories from survivors of sexualised violence.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 7: Girl Up (@girlup)

Girl UpCreated by the United Nations Foundation, Girl Up is a campaign with a vision of creating and upholding a world where all girls and women, no matter where, have access to education, justice, and rights in order to become the next generation of leaders. The campaign is geared toward raising funds for UN programmes that aid some of the world’s most difficult-to-reach adolescent girls. In this way, they are providing access to resources to many who might not otherwise have such support.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 8: Girls’ Globe (@girlsglobe)

Girls GlobeA group of organisations and individuals with the mission of improving the lives of girls and women worldwide, Girls’ Globe works on raising awareness of global issues that affect the health, education, and rights of women. Based in Sweden, Girls’ Globe is a non-profit with team members around the world all focused on sharing stories, news, and information in order to create an environment for women that is without violence, injustice, and discrimination.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 9: Laurie Penny (@PennyRed)

Laurie PennyAn English journalist, writer, and activist, Laurie Penny speaks on the subject of gender issues, pop culture, and social justice for The Guardian, Salon, The Nation, Vice, and others.  She is also the author of her fourth book, Unspeakable Things, and Editor for The New Inquiry. She appeared on the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publication shortlist in 2012 for her book, Penny Red: Notes from the New Age of Dissent.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 10: Leyla Hussein (@LeylaHussein)

Leyla HusseinRecipient of the Emma Humphrey Award for her work on ending female genital mutilation and other violence against women and children in 2011, Leyla Hussein is an activist and psychotherapist. She is also the co-founder of the project Daughters of Eve. She has previously spoken on these issues on several local, national, and international TV and radio programs, such as BBC World, BBC Today, and Al Jazeera.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 11: National Network to End Domestic Violence (@NNEDV)

NNEDVThe National Network to End Domestic Violence is an American national non-profit organisation founded to be the leading voice of domestic violence survivors and their allies with a network of over 2000 organisations nationwide. Their focus is on addressing all aspects of domestic violence with a goal of forming an environment without economic, political, and social injustices for all girls and women.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 12: National Sexual Violence Resource Center (@NSVRC)

NSVRCThe NSVRC’s mission is to prevent and respond to sexual violence through resources, research, and collaboration. Their goal is to celebrate diversity and ensure the world treats all women and girls with dignity and respect, creating a safer and healthier environment where people have full control over their bodies and sexual expression.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 13: Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (@RAINN01)

RAINNThe largest in the United States, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is an anti-sexual assault organisation. They are home to the Department of Defense Safe Helpline which provides one-on-one support and information online. It is a secure, anonymous, and confidential resource available online and via telephone, text, chat service, or mobile app. RAINN is also the partner of over 1,100 rape crisis centres across the country.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 14: Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly)

Soraya ChemalySoraya Chemaly is a writer and activist who discusses gender inequalities in pop culture, media, politics, and religion. She particularly focuses on the repression of women in all forms and uses media activism to draw attention to everyday sexism. Furthermore, she writes often on the subject of violence against women, and has appeared in The Nation, Salon, Time, CNN, Huffington Post, and many other platforms.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 15: Young Fems & Allies (@NOWYoungFems)

NOW Young FemsThe National Organization for Women has created the first virtual chapter for young feminists and allies with the purpose of bringing young women, men, and non-gender-conforming individuals onto the activism path.  In doing so, this organisation offers a voice to many who often feel underrepresented. They tackle many issues, one of which is the oppression and violence faced by many nationwide.

Twitter Follow Recommendation 16: Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell)

Zerlina MaxwellZerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, writer, and speaker on multiple cultural issues including gender inequality, domestic violence, victim blaming, and sexual assault. She has visited various universities and colleges to speak on the subject of rape culture and feminism. She was also selected by TIME magazine as one of the best feeds to follow on Twitter in 2014.

16 Memorable Stories of Street Harassment 2014

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We are proud today to share the fourth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. Holly receives many stories of women fighting back against street harassment by themselves or with the help of friends, family, and bystanders. She shares them on the Stop Street Harassment website and Facebook page to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe for women.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

- Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

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Empowering Response #1: As Anna was walking to the grocery store in Seattle, two men in a parked car harassed her. She felt safe and decided to respond back. She said, “I gave them a look, yelled back, ‘Don’t harass me!’ and kept walking. A few seconds later I heard a car about to drive past me, and a ‘Sorry!’ called out. I said thanks to the man in the passenger seat who apologised, and he told me to have a good day and I reciprocated.”

Empowering Response #2: Lise was running in a California park when she realised a group of middle school boys was harassing female athletes. After they harassed her, too, she decided to talk to them. Addressing the leader, she said, “Girls don’t like it when you talk to them that way.” She said she used a regular voice, one human being to another: “You see men talk that way, but they aren’t getting anywhere are they?” His friends fell silent and they all listened. She continued, “If you think a girl is pretty just talk to her like a regular person. Say hello, start a conversation. You’ll do a lot better that way.” The leader thought about the grown men he had been imitating. “Then why do they do that?” he asked. Lise said, “They don’t know any better. The ones who act that way are kind of dumb.” One boy called out from the back of the pack. “Yeah, it’s a dumb thing to do.” The leader said thanks – and there were no more inappropriate comments from them that day.

Empowering Response #3: Robbie is in her 50s and lives in Colorado. She says she does not experience street harassment anymore, but she won’t stay silent when she sees it happening to someone else. When she saw construction workers harassing a young woman, she checked in to make sure the woman was okay. Then she asked the men why they harassed the woman. They were dismissive of her, so she called 911 and the company they work for. She made both calls in front of them saying, “I think I gave them a tiny scare.”

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Empowering Response #4: After a construction worker catcalled her during her walk to work, Anonymous confronted him and asked him why he thought that was appropriate to do. His colleague stepped in and apologised. She said, “Afterwards, I felt empowered for sticking up for myself.”

Empowering Response #5: Lee is frequently harassed and decided to start pushing back. After a man at a bus stop near her house harassed her, she walked up to him and let him know that this was where she lived. She told him this was her home and asked, “How dare he come to her neighborhood and disrespect her and make her feel less than safe?” She said, “I scared the crap out him and he seemed to decide that he didn’t need to wait for the bus, to skedaddle on home as he backed away apologising. Boy, was that satisfying. Speaking out then became something I could do (if I felt safe to) and it was empowering. It was like a first step toward taking back full ownership of my own body.”

Empowering Response #6: Anonymous was walking home from college in Utah when a man called out to her. She was tired of being harassed so she said, in a firm voice, “Excuse you?!” The man and his friends were silent and she walked home. She says they have never bothered her again when she’s walked by.

Empowering Response #7: S has been harassed on three continents and in her frustration one day, penned this letter to men. She concludes it by writing, “This dehumanisation of women based solely on their outward appearance is sexism. We’re people, not objects built solely to display clothes or sexually please men, so please do not treat us as such.”

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Empowering Response #8: After experiencing street harassment in Edinburgh, Scotland, Anna called the police. The police looked into the incident but the officer who called her back said it was “probably just men being men.” Anna was frustrated by that comment and so wrote to the Chief Constable – and shared her letter online – to highlight the harmful attitude and to ask for more sensitivity around street harassment and related issues.

Empowering Response #9: Eya was shopping with her family in Tunisia when a man harassed her. She at first pretended to ignore him, but when she saw him laughing about getting away with it, she turned around and screamed at the top of her lungs, “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!” He was really shocked, she said, “as if he didn’t realise I actually had a voice and could stand up for myself. He then simply turned around and retreated back into the shop, and I felt very proud of the way I had reacted.”

Empowering Response #10: SSH board member Lindsey launched “Cards Against Harassment” as a way to use messages on cards to respond to harassers. “I decided that a card would be the ideal middle ground, allowing me to provide feedback that harassment is unwanted without necessarily sticking around for an extended encounter.” After launching the cards, some of her male friends doubted she experienced street harassment as much as she does, so she started filming her harassers. Her videos were featured on numerous media sites over the summer, receiving hundreds of thousands of views.

Empowering Response #11: Greta was walking through the Scottsdale Hilton in Arizona to meet a friend staying there when two men whistled at her. Tired of dealing with harassment, she decided to talk to them about it. “Hi,” she said. “I notice you’re the only two people out here, and I’m the only person walking past. I just wanted to let you know when you whistle at women, it’s incredibly offensive and demeaning. I am a human being, not an object that exists for your viewing pleasure.” They retorted, “It’s okay, you’ll get over it.” So she continued to educate them: “Well actually, no, you’ll get over it. Because as straight white males with enough money to stay at the Hilton, you have the privilege of being able to choose how you address people around you. YOU get to make the choice. I don’t. So no, I won’t get over it. I’ve been dealing with it for years.” She then left, saying, “it felt really good to be able to call them on it.”

4.4.14 University of Central Florida mamiEmpowering Response #12: SVN in Massachusetts as walking home at night when he yelled out to her. No one was around and she feared for her safety. “Yes?” She asked him. “How you doing?” he asked, crossing the street to get closer to her. She held up her hand saying, “I’m going to need you to leave me alone – I’m a woman walking by myself at night, and this is a little scary.” She said he stopped in his tracks, and said, “Oh, I didn’t mean it like that!” “That’s okay,” she said, “I’m going to keep walking, and you can go back to whatever you were doing.” And he sat back down, and she kept walking.

Empowering Response #13: As Anonymous was walking away from a bar with friends in Washington, a man grabbed her butt. She grabbed his shirt and slapped him and yelled, “You cannot touch me! You cannot just grab someone’s ass. That is not okay!” He ran away.

Empowering Response #14: An older man in Italy yelled, “Hey baby” to EZ as she walked to work. She pretended not to hear. He continued: “Hey, need a ride? Come here I’ll PAY you! How much is it?” She decided to fight back. She turned around, a big smile on her face, and said with loud voice, “Hey you! How old are you? 80? Your life is very near to the [natural] end, so why don’t you think about your health instead of bothering young ladies?” His face turned from red to purple. She walked away, smiling.

Empowering Response #15: After never responding to street harassers, A in Pakistan took a stand when a man touched her hip on the pedestrian bridge as he tried to walk past her. She screamed out “Beghairat” (“shameless” in Urdu). “I did something about street harassment,” she wrote. “After all these years, I finally did it tonight. I took a stand.”

Empowering Response #16: As Anonymous entered a New York subway car, a guy on the left of her pretended to “help” her into the train by grabbing her lower back and grazing it saying, “Here you go, sweetie.” When she told him, “Please don’t touch me,” he proceeded to insult her body, saying, “There’s not much to touch,” and laugh with his friend and make insulting comments about her race loudly so everyone on the train could hear. When he and his friends continued to harass her, she took his photo. He was surprised and stopped.

16 Ways to Educate Individuals and Communities about Sexual Consent

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Valuing a women’s consent over her own body is an integral step towards ending violence against women. This means providing women the power to say “no” to sexual encounters, and for the word “no” to be respected in all situations. Myths depict rape and sexual assault perpetrators as strangers. However, two out of three rapes are committed by a person the victim knows. This occurs because sexual consent is either not understood or not respected.

Education is necessary to ensure everyone involved in a sexual activity is consenting, comfortable, valued and safe. Sexual consent education includes talking about how and when to ask for consent, how to say no, what constitutes consent, and the importance of respecting another person’s decision. Assault laws and consequences for a lack of consent should also be included in sexual consent discussions. These lessons will help end the countless sexual assaults that occur every day.

In this “16 For 16” article, we present 16 innovative ideas for educating children, young adults, and other members of your community about sexual consent.


Sexual Consent Education – Tip #1: Team up with local organisations

If you are assuming the responsibility of educating your community about sexual consent for the first time, it will be beneficial to connect with local organisations that focus on sexual consent and violence against women. Many organisations have already developed material and messaging that will help engage your audience and direct you in your educational messages. Speakers, educators, and classes may also be available.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #2: Conduct appropriate research 
Sexual consent education will fail if the audience misinterprets, forgets, or ignores the message. Conducting research will help you prepare and construct a successful educational campaign and ensure message retention. Research can be done first-hand through interviews and surveys with your target audience. Information can also be found online. For example, Julie S. Lalonde conducted a Twitter survey about teaching male youth about rape culture. The responses – which can be found here – can help craft successful messages and sexual consent curricula.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #3: Start an online newsletter
An e-newsletter is an easy and inexpensive way to keep your community updated and involved in sexual consent education. Publishing, professional templates and contact maintenance are available free of charge on various platforms such as MailChimp. The e-newsletter, which can be sent daily, weekly or bi-weekly, can include upcoming events, recent stories, educational tips, advice, and questions and answers to ensure your community is always up-to-date.

1361797_52190285Sexual Consent Education – Tip #4: Include consent-based education in school curriculum
Challenging school boards to alter curricula is difficult and education about sexual consent may not be allowed in certain classrooms. However, obtaining consent and respecting the word “no” are skills that can be taught in numerous other environments and to all age groups. For example, using consent-based education to help children negotiate the use of toys will help them develop the mentality necessary to understand sexual consent when they are older.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #5: Make yourself a visible advocate
Making yourself or your group a visible advocate for sexual consent demonstrates to your community that discussing consent is not embarrassing or taboo. It is also a continuous reminder that you are available for discussions, assistance and advice. Tips for remaining visible include having booths at community events, sharing information about consent through your social media accounts, developing business cards with “Sexual Assault Advocate” listed on them, or speaking at events.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #6: Create an anonymous question box
Though asking questions about consent is nothing to be embarrassed about, some people will feel more comfortable remaining anonymous. Creating an anonymous question box will help ensure more people get the answers they are seeking. You can place the anonymous box in the classroom, at your school, at various events, on community websites, or at your community centre, then either answer the questions via a general FAQ sheet that can be distributed to the community or contact the asker directly to answer his/her question.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #7: Skits
Theatrical skits and performances are a creative, non-threatening way to discuss sexual consent. Scripts can be developed to discuss topics that affect your audience most, such as having sex for the first time, going away to college, or talking to teenage children about consent. While writing the script, acknowledge crucial moments in the plot to survey your audience on ways they would act. You can then discuss the correct and incorrect ways to proceed.

Kids_croppedSexual Consent Education – Tip #8: Introduce youth to other youth programmes

Research suggests people are more likely to retain and listen to messages if the sender is similar to them and faces similar concerns. Thus, an important strategy to educate youth in your community about sexual consent is through peer education. This may include introducing youth-developed campaigns such as The Girl Code Movement, Party with Consent, or Campaign4Consent to your community to show teenagers how their peers are getting involved. Other tools include peer groups and guest youth speakers.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #9: Partner with bars, clubs and other local events to remind youth about consent
Reinforcing your messages about consent is integral, especially in high-risk situations. By identifying and partnering with organisations that have high-risk environments, you can help youth remember the importance of consent when you are absent. Partnerships with local bars, clubs and other events can include washroom poster campaigns, door stamps or wristbands easily-remembered reminders about consent on them.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #10: Monitor the media
Media can be consumed anywhere: on television, radio, social networks, and through messaging and face-to-face interaction. As a result, youth are consuming more media, quicker than before. Monitoring the news and other popular culture makes you proactive in spotting news stories and headlines that are teachable moments for helping children and other young people understand what they see and hear, and answer important questions they may have. Conversation starters can include “The [event here] that happened yesterday scared me. What did you feel?” or “Why do you think [he/she/they] acted that way? What would you have done?”

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #11: Hold bystander intervention events
Bystander research states people will make judgements about their behaviour based on the reactions they receive from the people around them. Through proper bystander intervention education and training, bystanders learn how to prevent and ease potentially violent environments and become confident enough to intervene in various situations. Bystander intervention events are integral for both youth and adults, and can be held in school, as part of after-school activities, or as a prerequisite for team sports and other community groups.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #12: Create and distribute visual content
Discussing consent should not be boring, overpowering or embarrassing. While facts, statistics and research are useful, they can often be overwhelming. To encourage youth understanding, use visuals. These can include bumper stickers, bracelets, or “What is Consent” pocket cards. Valentine’s day cards, for example, circulate messages about consent in an nonthreatening, creative way.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #13: Develop safety slogans
Slogans increase retention and recognition for brands. However, they are not exclusive to advertising and marketing. Developing and utilising  slogans in your sexual consent education will help individuals recall information about consent. As slogans are easier to remember than facts and statistics, they will remind community members to make safe, smart decisions. Some examples of consent slogans are: “Yes means yes,” “consent is sexy,” and “a dress is not a yes.”

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #14: Introduce youth to available technology.
As mobile phone usage increases, young people can carry and access sexual consent information in their pockets. Developers have designed applications that emphasise the importance of consent, provide communication advice, answer anonymous questions and more. After researching mobile applications that are appropriate for your audience, location and goals, share them with your community. Or, if you cannot find an application that meets your unique needs, develop one with the help of your community.

1087539_11462380Sexual Consent Education – Tip #15: Start a Popular Culture Club.
Popular music, books, television and movies can help reinforce lessons about sexual consent by providing springboards for discussion. Through the sharing of books, movies and other media, a popular culture club allows community members to consume consent-positive media. The club, which can be developed online or in person, should also include a discussion section for members to share thoughts, insights and lessons learned with others.

Sexual Consent Education – Tip #16: Encourage community event participation. Encouraging participation in events that other organisations hold not only reinforces your messages, but also provides another outlet for engaged community members to support. Contact local organisations, look on your community’s event calendar, or connect with non-profits on social media to find upcoming events you can participate it in as a community.