The Pixel Project Selection 2017: 16 Male Role Models Helping to Stop Violence against Women

Violence Against Women (VAW) is largely deemed as a women’s issue to be tackled by women and for women. However, VAW has a negative impact on entire communities and societies and is therefore impossible to eradicate without having men and boys on board efforts to do so. For this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign, we present our second edition of  ’16 Male Role Models Helping to Stop Violence Against Women’ which features a diverse list of men who are doing their bit towards a more gender-equal world.

The men in this list believe that ending VAW is a fight and issue that should involve everyone and not just women. Many of these men are activists who have recognised that toxic masculinity and patriarchy are harmful to young boys and men. They are working directly with boys and men to empower them in order to prevent VAW from the roots. The list also looks at men who have spoken up against VAW through various mediums like demonstrations and music, using their voice to show their solidarity and bring issues of gender-based violence to the forefront. In this post-Weinstein world where so many prominent men have been revealed as domestic abusers and sexual predators, we hope our second edition of 16 male role models against violence against women will provide living examples of positive masculinity that inspire and galvanise men and boys worldwide to become a part of the solution.

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

Note: Information for all role model profiles is sourced via online research and is based on one or more news sources, articles and/or The Pixel Project’s own interviews with them. The main articles/reports from which these profiles have been sourced can be directly accessed via the hyperlinked titles. Please do click through to learn more about these remarkable men.

Written, researched, and compiled by Rubina Singh.

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Male Role Model #1: Ahmed Hegab – Egypt
After witnessing a young woman being assaulted by a mob of men on the street, Ahmed Hegab knew he had to do something. Speaking to USA Today, Ahmed shares, “I decided right there and then to quit my job and do everything I could to stop harassment.” Ahmed started volunteering with Harassmap and also started Men Engage, a program that trains men to stop gender-based violence and raise their voices for women’s empowerment.

Male Role Model #2: Ali Erkazan – Turkey
After the murder and attempted rape of a university student, Ali Erkazan, a Turkish actor, along with a number of other men expressed their anger through a public demonstration. The men dressed in mini-skirts to show their solidarity and demanded harsher punishment for VAW. Demanding stricter laws, Ali shares, “The absence of deterrent laws encourages them. Even the people in the government make incentive statements about the inequality of men and women under the name of Islam. We also condemn them.

Male Role Model #3: Chris Green – United Kingdom
Chris Green is the Director of the White Ribbon Campaign in the UK. The White Ribbon Campaign encourages men and boys to speak up against VAW. Chris is also a member of the UK End Violence Against Women Expert Advisory Group and the End Violence against Women Prevention Working Party. For his notable efforts, Chris has been awarded one of the highest honours in the UK – Order of the British Empire.

Male Role Model #4: Dean Peacock – South Africa
Ashoka fellow Dean Peacock is challenging gender inequality in South Africa by engaging men and boys in the fight against VAW. Dean is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice Network, which works to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to support men and boys to take action to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence, and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. Dean is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the MenEngage Alliance and a member of the UN Secretary General’s Network of Men Leaders.

Male Role Model #5: Dr. Ganesh Rakh – India
In a country where girls face GBV even before they are born, Dr. Ganesh Rakh is doing his part to ensure that girls at least get a fighting chance. Noting the high rate of female feticide and infanticide, Ganesh initiated a campaign “Mulgi Vachva Abhiyan” (Save the Girl Child) in his city. While most doctors increase their fees over time, Ganesh decided that he would not charge any fee from the family if a girl child was born. Not only that, his hospital also celebrates the birth of every girl child. His ultimate aim: “I want to change attitudes – of people, doctors. The day people start celebrating a daughter’s birth, I’ll start charging my fee again.”

Male Role Model #6: Edgar Ramirez – Venezuela
Edgar Ramirez is an actor, producer, and activist from Venezuela. As a HeForShe advocate, he spoke about the impact that gender inequality has on boys and men, “In the journey for equality, women and men are like two strands of DNA wrapped together in an embrace. Our burdens are as intertwined as our common destiny. The constraints that burden me will eventually burden you. And the same is true in reverse: as long as you are burdened, I am too. By recognizing this inter-dependence, I can work for your well-being and know that I am also working towards my own. I can know that whatever action I take to free you, also frees me. This is not just what makes us human. This is what makes us a human family.

Male Role Model #7: Fang Gang – China
Fang Gang is the Director of the Institute of Sexuality and Gender Study at the Beijing Forestry University. He is also the Director of the China White Ribbon Volunteers Network. Through his work, Fang Gang is attempting to reduce the taboo around sexuality, and challenge accepted norms of masculinity in China. Sharing his views in an interview with Vice, Fang said, “I want to encourage men to be involved in promoting gender equality, including taking care of children, sharing housework, and fighting against job discrimination. In the past our work focused on people who committed violence and their victims, now we want to go back further and target regular people, asking what we should do to prevent men from committing violence in the first place.”

Male Role Model #8: Feđa Mehmedović – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Feđa Mehmedović is the Project Coordinator with the XY Association and winner of a competition promoting gender equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stories of Real Men. Hecworks with men and boys to change their attitude and behaviour towards VAW. He has trained more than 10,000 young people as part of his Young Men as Allies programme in preventing violence against women. Feđa is also an advocate for the UN HeForShe campaign.

Male Role Model #9: Gary Barker – Brazil
Involving men and boys in the fight against VAW is imperative and Gary Barker has been doing just that through his organisation, Promundo. His work has been recognised by organisations such as Ashoka and the United Nations. Explaining the philosophy behind Promundo, Gary shared the following insights in an interview: “We believed, from our direct experiences in working in violence prevention in favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that we would only end violence and achieve equality if we engaged men as allies, as voices for change, and as activists in the process. We were also inspired by young and adult men who wanted to be part of the movement and who were already living out equitable, non-violent ways of being men.

Male Role Model #10: Jim C. Hines – USA
Jim C. Hines is a Hugo-award winning American Fantasy writer who has been doing his bit to end sexism in the science fiction/fantasy world. He noticed that many science-fiction and fantasy cover art overtly sexualies female characters. In an effort to bring attention to the issue, he decided to contort himself into the various poses that women are put into. But, his efforts go much beyond gender-flipped covers. After he found out about a friend’s rape, he decided to work towards ending VAW in different ways. He has previously worked as a crisis counsellor, written articles and a novel around VAW, and he is also one of the only authors whose website has an entire section dedicated to resources for survivors of rape and sexual assault. Jim has also actively supported The Pixel Project by being a part of our campaigns such as Read for Pixels.

Male Role Model #11: Michael Flood – Australia
Holding a PhD in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Michael Flood researches masculinity and violence prevention. His research indicates that a man’s understanding of masculinity can lead to VAW. In an interview with Huffington Post Australia, he says, “It’s very clear that if we compare the men that do use violence and the men that don’t, one key difference is in their ideas about being a man. Men (who) use violence are much more likely to be invested in the idea to be a man is to be in control, dominant and have power over women. Those ideas about masculinity link to broader patterns of gender inequality. And really, it’s gender inequality that shapes some men’s use of violence against women.

Male Role Model #12: Noel Cabangon – The Philippines
Music has the power to reach any corner of the world. Noel Cabangon, a Filipino singer and songwriter, used the power of music through his song Men Move to encourage men to “bring all violence against women to an end”. The song was originally written for the Philippine Commission of Women and was later adapted for the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.

Male Role Model #13: Nur Hasyim – Indonesia
While he has been working for women’s rights for many years, in 2006, Nur Hasyim started working towards engaging men and boys to end VAW. He is the founder and head of ‘Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru’ (New Men Alliance) in Indonesia, a national pro-feminist men’s movement. His research in the field has led to the development of a curriculum towards behaviour change for male abusive partners. Recognising his work, Nur has been included by the United Nations in the Secretary General’s Network of Men Leaders.

Male Role Model #14: Ravi Karkara – United States of America and Worldwide
Ravi Karkara is Senior Advisor on Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary General to the UN and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women. Ravi has been fighting to end violence against women since the beginning of his career. Not only is he working with women, he also believes in the importance of working with men to end VAW. Ravi shared his views on working with boys and men in a recent interview: “While we need to teach women and girls how to fight for their human rights, we also need to focus on boys and change their attitudes towards girls and women.

Male Role Model #15: Salif Keita – Mali
Popularly known as the “Golden Voice of Africa”, Salif Keita has been using his art for activism. A vocal supporter of women’s rights, he has endorsed the UN HeforShe campaign as well. In a message for the campaign, Salif said, “The world is undergoing change and modernization in the right direction, and for every man who recognises the value and role of women, we must be sensitised to act for their well-being.”

Male Role Model #16: William Gay – United States of America
As a young boy, NFL Star William Gay lost his mother because of domestic violence. Having felt the impact of VAW so closely, William understands the need to end VAW. While William found professional success with NFL, he wanted to use his star power to shine a light on gender-based violence. Among many other initiatives, William supports the Women’s Center and Shelter in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He uses his time at the shelter to speak to the survivors and share his story. In an interview with People Magazine, he shared, “I want people out there to know that someone in the NFL has been that child who lost their mother and is willing to do anything to end domestic violence.

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Photo Credits:

  1. Ahmed Hegab – from Linkedin.com
  2. Ali Erkazan – From Alticine.com
  3. Chris Green – From “Parliaments United In Combating Domestic Violence Against Women” (Council of Europe)
  4. Dean Peacock – From “Sonke Gender Justice”
  5. Dr. Ganesh Rakh – From “Ganesh Rakh: The doctor who delivers India’s girls for free” (Anushree Fadnavis/BBC News)
  6. Edgar Ramirez – From “Edgar Ramirez, Emma Watson use star power to push for gender equality at UN event” (Rob Kim/Fox News)
  7. Fang Gang – From “Fang Gang: Sex Education Should be Implemented Early” (Chinese Women’s Research Network)
  8. Feđa Mehmedović – From “Stories of Real Men – Feđa Mehmedović”
  9. Gary Barker – From “Network of Men Leaders” (UNiTE)
  10. Jim C. Hines – Courtesy of Jim C. Hines
  11. Michael Flood – From “Is ‘Engaging Men’ the Game Changer for Gender Equality” (Annual Diversity Debate)
  12. Noel Cabangon – From “Noel Cabangon ‘inspired’ by Pope Francis visit” (The Philippine Star)
  13. Nur Hasyim – From “World Press Freedom Day 2017” (UNESCO)
  14. Ravi Karkara – From “Meet the People Extraordinaire – Ravi Karkara” (Sayfty)
  15. Salif Keita – From “Salif Keita – The “Golden Voice of Africa”
  16. William Gay – From NFL star reveals heartbreaking moment he came home from school to discover his mother shot dead by his stepdad in murder-suicide

Transforming Personal Pain Into Positive Action: The Pixel Project’s 16 Female Role Models 2017

Today is the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2017 campaign and The Pixel Project is kicking things off with our 6th annual list of 16 female role models fighting to end violence against women in their communities. The intent of this list is simple: to highlight the good work of the heroines of the movement to end violence against women wherever they are in the world. The women and girls in this year’s list hail from 15 countries and 6 continents.

Many of these outstanding women and girls have shown that it is possible to transform personal pain that came out of facing gender-based violence, into positive action to stop violence against women, empower themselves and to show other survivors that it is possible to move forward with dignity and happiness. They have refused to let bitterness and pain get the better of them, opting to stand up for themselves and for other women and girls instead.

Others on this list may not have experienced gender-based violence inflicted on themselves but they have stepped up to do what is right: to speak up for women and girls who cannot do it for themselves, sometimes at great personal risk. All this requires immense courage, generosity of spirit and a strong, enduring heart.

Without further ado, here in alphabetical order by first name is our 2017 list of 16 female role models. We hope that these women would be an inspiration to others to get involved with the cause. To that end, we hope you will generously share this list via Facebook and Twitter to give these extraordinary 16 women and their work a moment in the sun.

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

Note: Information for all role model profiles is sourced via online research and is based on one or more news sources, articles and/or The Pixel Project’s own interviews with them. The main articles/reports from which these profiles have been sourced can be directly accessed via the hyperlinked titles. Please do click through to learn more about these remarkable women.

Written and compiled by Regina Yau

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Female Role Model 1: Ana Salvá – Spain

Bangkok-based Spanish freelance journalist Ana Salva arrived in Southeast Asia in 2014, eventually focusing on reporting about violence against women in Cambodia. In 2016, she began investigating the crime of forced marriage and forced pregnancy under the Khmer Rouge regime and its impact on the mental and physical health of women. This resulted in an incisive article published by The Diplomat – “The Forced Pregnancies of the Khmer Rouge”. She said: “The international criminal laws continue to lack [interest] to address gender crimes that have impacted women worldwide. And for forced pregnancy, a lot of cases are forgotten. No international courts have pursued forced pregnancy to date. That is the problem for the future too, I think.”

Female Role Model 2: Anuja Gupta – India

Anuja Gupta is one of India’s leading experts on the issue of incest/child sexual abuse. In 1996, at a time when no one in the country was talking about this taboo subject, Anuja started the non-profit RAHI Foundation, India’s first incest/child sexual abuse response organisation. RAHI’s work has laid the foundation for this issue to come to light and continues to shape the way it is addressed in the country. Anuja said: “Everyone has to make violence against women and children their issue and I think the strongest action we can take is to not lose momentum regardless of our social or political contexts. No matter how far away it may seem, always keep an eye on the goal of a world free of violence.”

Female Role Model 3: Carrie Goldberg – United States of America

Carrie Goldberg is a pioneer in the field of sexual privacy who uses her legal expertise and the law to defend victims of revenge porn and other forms of cyber violence against women. The impetus for starting her own firm to tackle the issue of online sexual privacy and harassment came when she was harassed by a vengeful ex who threatened to send intimate pictures she’d given him to her professional colleagues. Today, her law firm, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC focuses on Internet privacy and abuse, domestic violence, and sexual consent. Goldberg is also a Board Member and Volunteer Attorney at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and its End Revenge Porn campaign.

Female Role Model 4: Daisy Coleman – United States of America

Daisy Coleman was 14 when she was raped and left on her family’s front lawn in the small town where she grew up, enduring a backlash from the townsfolk who subjected her to intense victim-blaming, cyberbullying, and slut-shaming. Today, Coleman is an anti-sexual assault activist and co-founder of SafeBAE (Safe Before Anyone Else) to help prevent sexual violence and educate young people in the U.S. about the issue and to stand together with teen sex assault victims. As part of her work, she also appeared in Netflix’s documentary Audrie & Daisy about her experience.

Female Role Model 5: Hera Hussain – Pakistan and the United Kingdom

Hera Hussain is the founder of Chayn, a UK-based open source gender and tech project that builds platforms, toolkits, and runs hackathons to empower women facing violence and the organisations supporting them. Chayn’s resources and services include pro bono work for anti-violence against women organisations as well as a groundbreaking toolkit for women who want to build their own Domestic Violence case is so valuable to women who cannot afford legal representation. She says: “Tech gives us the chance to reach a wide audience on shoe-string budget and enable those women who are looking to understand what is happening to them and what to do about it.”

Female Role Model 6: Karla Jacinto – Mexico

Karla Jacinto was lured into forced prostitution at the age of 12 by a human trafficker who offered her money, gifts and the promise of a better life. By age 16, she estimates that she had been raped 43,200 times as she was forced to service up to 30 men a day daily for four years. Karla was rescued in 2008 as part of an anti-trafficking operation in Mexico City and is now fighting back against Mexico’s human trafficking crisis by raising awareness of how the criminals work so potential victims can spot red flags.

Female Role Model 7: Kerstin Weigl – Sweden

Kerstin Weigl is a journalist who has been awarded the “Lukas Bonnier´s Grand  Prize for Journalism” for her unique study of all the women who have died in Sweden as a result of violence in close relationships during the 2000s. The investigation was undertaken together with Kristina Edblom, for the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, uncovering and reporting the stories of 267 women since the series began. Kerstin is also the co-founder of Cause of Death: Woman, an investigative report on violence against women the US, South Africa, Egypt, Sweden, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, Congo, Spain and Russia.

Female Role Model 8: Malebogo Malefhe – Botswana

In 2009, Malebogo Malefhe was shot eight times by her boyfriend, putting her in a wheelchair for life. Malefhe, a former basketball player for Botswana’s national team, has devoted herself to fighting domestic violence in her native Botswana and combatting culturally-ingrained victim-blaming by teaching women that it is not their fault when men hurt them. She told NPR: “I tell women to look at the signs while they still have the time. Walk out while they still have the chance. […] I tell women that every time a crime is perpetrated, they should report it. […] Women need education to open them up to the realisation that abuse is prevalent and they need to find ways to overcome it.

Female Role Model 9: Marijana Savic, Serbia

In 2004, Marijana Savic founded Atina as part of the response of “the women’s movement in Serbia to the problem of human trafficking, and non-existence of adequate programmes of long-term support for the victims and help in their social inclusion”. Atina became the first safehouse for victims of trafficking in the country and provides comprehensive support for survivors of violence, exploitation and human trafficking in Serbia. Marijana said: “A person who survived violence needs more than accommodation. […] A right solution for many women is to get support from the community, to understand why the violence is happening, to have full support in safe place, which does not always have to be a safe house.”

Female Role Model 10: Paradise Sourori – Afghanistan

Paradise Sourori is Afghanistan’s first female rapper. Over the last eight years, she has had to flee her country twice, received numerous threats of rape, death, and acid attacks as well as being brutally beaten by 10 men on the street – all because she refuses to stop singing about the gender-based violence and injustices suffered by Afghan women. “[The police] told me I should stop singing,” says Paradise. “That’s when I knew that if I stayed silent, nothing would change.” Today she has resettled in Berlin, Germany and continues to make her music to champion Afghan women.

Female Role Model 11: Ronelle King – Barbados

Ronelle King is a rape and sexual assault survivor who had enough of the nonchalant cultural and social attitude towards violence against women and girls in Barbados. She “had the idea to start a hashtag that would create a forum for Caribbean women to share their daily experiences of sexual harassment and abuse” and so the #LifeInLeggings hashtag and movement was born. The movement has spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean region, The National Women’s Commission of Belize supports the group and UN Women has partnered with them to assist with regional projects.

Female Role Model 12:  Saida Ali – Kenya

Saida Ali was 16 when her older sister fled back to her family home after being assaulted by her husband. Ali helped her sister leave the abusive marriage and that was the start of her lifelong commitment to stopping violence against women. Today, Saida is the executive director of Kenya’s Coalition on Violence Against Women, taking on domestic violence and rape cases across Kenya. Her campaign, Justice for Liz, was waged on behalf of a schoolgirl who was raped and left for dead. The campaign garnered international media attention and the perpetrators were eventually jailed.

Female Role Model 13: Samra Zafar – United Arab Emirates and Canada

Samra Zafar arrived in Canada as a 16-year-old bride in an arranged marriage to an abusive husband who beat, controlled, and raped her. Determined to escape her marriage, she managed to squirrel away a few hundred dollars now and then even though her husband forced her to give up her earnings to him. With her savings and multiple scholarships, she funded her education, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Economics from the University of Toronto with the highest distinctions. Today, Samra is the founder of Brave Beginnings, an organisation dedicated to helping women rebuild their lives after oppression and abuse.

Female Role Model 14: Sharmin Akter – Bangladesh

Sharmin Akter was only 15 years old when her mother attempted to coerce her into marriage to a man decades older than her. However, instead of surrendering to family wishes, she spoke up to protest for her right to an education. In recognition of her courage, she was awarded the 2017 International Women of Courage Award from the US State Department. Sharmin is now studying at Jhalakathi Rajapur Pilot Girls High School to fulfil her goal to become a human rights lawyer fighting against the harmful tradition of forced marriages.

Female Role Model 15: Stephanie Harvey – Canada

Stephanie Harvey is a five-time world champion in competitive Counter-Strike, and longtime female pro-gaming icon. In her 16 years in e-Sports as a player and 7 years as a games developer, she has routinely pushed back and spoken out against toxic misogyny, sexism, and the chronic online harassment of female gamers that is endemic in the gaming world. As part of her activism, she co-founded MissCliks, a gaming community group currently focused on “recognising the under-representation of women as role models in geek and gaming culture, giving support and exposure to those female role models, and helping to create a culture of authenticity, advocacy, unity, and bravery.”

Female Role Model 16: Vera Baird – United Kingdom

Commissioner Dame Vera Baird is an outspoken advocate for stopping violence against women in her capacity as the police and crime commissioner for Northumbria. She has publicly spoken out against a judge who made victim-blaming comments regarding a rape case and was recently negotiating with local government officials in an attempt to stop the withdrawal of funding for women’s refuges in Sunderland. Prior to becoming a police commissioner, she was a lawyer who championed feminist protesters, took on pregnancy discrimination cases, and influenced law in domestic violence cases. Baird was made a Dame in December 2016 in recognition of her life-long fight for gender equality.

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Photo Credits:

  1. Ana Salvá – From “Q&A: Journalist Ana Salvá on the Crimes of Forced Marriage and Forced Pregnancy Under the Khmer Rouge” (VOA Cambodia)
  2. Anuja Gupta – Courtesy of the RAHI Foundation
  3. Carrie Goldberg – From http://www.cagoldberglaw.com/team/carrie-goldberg/
  4. Daisy Coleman – Courtesy of Safebae.org
  5. Hera Hussain – Courtesy of Hera Hussain
  6. Karla Jacinto – From “Human Trafficking Survivor Karla Jacinto Was Raped 43,200 Times as a Teen, Now She’s Telling Her Story to Congress and the Pope” (Seventeen)
  7. Kerstin Weigl – From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kerstin_Weigl_2015-11-06_001.jpg
  8. Malebogo Malefhe – From “Shot By Her Boyfriend And Now Using A Wheelchair, She Found A ‘New Me’” (Ryan Eskalis/NPR)
  9. Marijana Savic – From “Four women’s rights activists you need to know” (Atina/UNFPA)
  10. Paradise Sorouri – From “Afghanistan’s first female rapper: ‘If I stay silent, nothing will change’” (Eliot Stein/The Guardian)
  11. Ronelle King – From https://www.youtube.com/user/purehazeleyes
  12. Saida Ali – From “The Activist Taking On Patriarchy To End Domestic Violence In Kenya” (The Huffington Post)
  13. Samra Zafar – From “The Good Wife” (Luis Mora/Toronto Life)
  14. Sharmin Akter – From “Fighting Early Marriage: Bangladeshi girl to receive US award” (The Daily Star)
  15. Stephanie Harvey – Courtesy of Stephanie Harvey
  16. Vera Baird – From “Northumbria Police boss Vera Baird made a Dame in New Year’s Honours list” (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Of The Pixel Project’s Best Interview Articles

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For the past 8 years, The Pixel Project has worked at the intersection of social media, pop culture, the arts, journalism, activism, and new technologies to shine a light on the the many ways violence against women (VAW) affects the lives of women and girls in communities and cultures worldwide.

Blogging is one of the major pillars of our social media-driven awareness-raising and educational work. More than any other social media platforms that we use, blogging empowers us to present in-depth articles, op-eds and interviews that go beyond the soundbites. As we grew as an anti-VAW organisation, we have gradually focused our blogging efforts on interviews to help activists, allies and survivors tell their stories and share their ideas with others first-hand.

In 2016, we marched on with our annual interview-format blogging campaigns:

Together, these interviews form an inspirational tapestry of ideas, stories, and calls-to-action from remarkable individuals, communities and allies that are at the front lines of bringing the change that is so desperately needed to end VAW.

If you have missed any of our blog interview campaigns this year or are new to The Pixel Project’s work, this selection of this year’s 16 best Pixel Project blog interview articles of 2016 will be a great starting point. We hope that the stories we share motivate you to join the effort to end VAW.

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

Written and compiled by Regina Yau and Suloshini Jahanath. Introduction by Regina Yau.

All headshots courtesy of the interviewees.
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Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #1: Survivor Stories Interview – Becky Paroz, Australia

becky-paroz_headshotcWhile Becky had an award-winning career as a project manager in the construction industry, her alter ego Bekstar was the personality that learned to manage the outcomes of growing up in a domestic violence situation and being diagnosed with a crippling disease while still a teenager. Her published writings capture her insights, journey, horror and humour that encapsulates her life, including the solutions she found to live her life to the fullest. Speaking about how she went about rebuilding her life after escaping her situation, she says: My main thought for the aftermath is that while I could not choose what happened to me during [my father’s] controlling years, I could certainly choose my actions beyond that point. Making conscious choices about what I want as a person, instead of what I don’t want as a result of those experiences, is the most clear way I can phrase how I have become the successful person I am today.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #2: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Bernardo Rosa Rodriguez, Portugal

Bernardo Rodriguez is a public relations professional in Brussels who has lived in Rome, Jakarta and Washington DC. He has contributed to progressive political groups and campaigns (including women’s human rights causes) for many years. When talking about how dads can help stop VAW, he says: “The first step is to set the example and treat all girls and women respectfully and as equals. […]Young men need to be told that being a man is not about force or domination. It’s about respecting others and not being afraid to stand up and call out abusive language or behaviour, even (especially!) in your own circles. Because it’s time this stops being acceptable.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #3: Survivor Stories Interview – Elizabeth K. Switaj, USA and Marshall Islands

elizabeth-switaj_croppedElizabeth is a survivor of intimate relationship violence. She currently teaches literature, creative writing and composition at the College of the Marshall Islands on Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, where she lives with four formerly feral cats, including one with twisted back legs. She is the author of literary guide James Joyce’s Teaching Life and Methods and a collection of poems, Magdalene & the Mermaids. Speaking about ways to end VAW, she says: We need better education about what healthy relationships look like. When I say education, I’m not referring only to formal in-school lessons, but also to media narratives. As an academic, my specialisation is pedagogy in literature. If the experimental texts of High Modernism can teach readers how to understand them, then surely texts can show us how to have relationships without violence and how to recognise and escape toxic situations.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #4: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Evanson Njeru, Kenya

evanson-njeru_croppedEvanson Njeru is a community social worker and human rights activist who grew up on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Although he struggled a lot as a village boy who didn’t have many opportunities, he eventually attained a college education. Evanson is now the founder of Compassion CB – an organisation that advocates for the right of women and girls in Kenya through education and sustainable development, as well as anti-female genital mutilation campaigns in villages and schools. When talking about how fathers and how other male role models can help the younger generation step up to prevent VAW, he had this to say: Fathers and other male role models must take up the challenge of being men fighting for the rights of women. Men could help come up with policies that promote rights for women and girls. Young men and boys should be educated and made to understand that violence against women is a violation of human rights. They should also be made to understand some cultural beliefs undermine women and violate their rights.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #5: Inspirational Interview – Fraidy Reiss, United States of America

headshot Fraidy Reiss_croppedFraidy Reiss is a forced marriage survivor and the founder of Unchained At Last, a nonprofit organisation in the U.S. dedicated to helping women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives. Unchained provides free legal and social services and emotional support, while also raising awareness and pushing for relevant legislation. Fraidy says: “I wish I knew exactly how to end violence against women forever. I don’t, but I know that we move closer to that goal when we, women and men, are vigilant and outspoken – that is, when we identify and call attention to instances of institutionalised patriarchy and sexism. We must not overlook or accept; we must not become complacent.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #6: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – John Nolan, Australia.

john-nolan_croppedJohn Nolan is the Founder and Director of DadsUNI, a Christian ministry assisting in the development of strong families in modern society with a focus on the role of young fathers. DadsUNI teaches the elements of Understanding, Nurturing and Imparting to assist young dads in this all-important role. ’52 Tips For Fathers’ is their most popular course and available for free on their website. When talking about ways to prevent VAW, he says: I personally believe that the change required in our society to stop violence against women must be addressed by using many different approaches, and without doubt positive male role models do play an important part. Learned behaviours are passed down from generation to generation – violent fathers create violent sons. It is a behavioural cycle of abuse and/or violence, and it is our job to look for ways to break that cycle.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #7: Survivor Stories Interview – Leslie Ann Epperson, United States of America

leslie-epperson_croppedLeslie Ann Epperson is an Emmy Award winning cultural and natural history documentary filmmaker for PBS affiliates who endured sexism and misogyny in television and was in an abusive marriage for many years. Leslie is now dedicated to following her own path, and takes great joy in mentoring younger women artists and filmmakers. When talking about stopping VAW, she says: “Education is key. We must teach our children to respect all of life, human and otherwise, and learn to care for ourselves, each other, and our world in equal measure. It is a spiritual journey, and I think humanity is on the right path, even though it often seems too slow. Much has changed in my lifetime—and much remains to be transformed. We must teach children that love really is the answer, and that violence never works. Violence only begets more of the same.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #8: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Michael Cheang, Malaysia.

michael-cheang_croppedMichael is a journalist with a daily newspaper in Malaysia, specialising in entertainment and beverage news. He has a strong interest in all things pop culture, like Star Wars, Transformers, and he is trying to share these interests with his 2-year-old daughter. When speaking about ways to educate the younger generation to step up and prevent VAW, he says: A father has to take a stand against this sort of thing and be more proactive in educating his kids about violence against women, and that it is NOT okay to hit women (or even other men, for that matter). If the son should come across incidents like that and tell the father, the father should not brush it off as someone else’s problem, and should instead educate the son properly on why it is wrong.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #9: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Mike Toma, Iraq

mike-toma_croppedMike is from Iraq and is a progressive, freethinking individual with open ideologies on political and governmental reforms. He has a BA in Business Administration and currently working towards a master’s in project management. He is also a science and astronomy enthusiast with an interest in the betterment of education, an advocate for free college education, social democratic reforms and science literacy among common people. When talking about how fathers and how other male role models can help the younger generation step up to prevent VAW, he says: If my child views me as someone who values her/his mother, they will understand that this is the way to treat others. If my son sees me respecting his mother, he will have that attitude towards other women. If my daughter sees how I treat her mother with care and respect, she will understand that she has the right to defend herself and not take any kind of verbal and/or physical abuse and not allow others to take advantage of her.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #10: Survivor Stories Interview – Palesa Mompe, South Africa

palesa-mompei_croppedPalesa Mompe is a survivor of child rape and sexual abuse. Now an active member of CLIMB Against Sexual Abuse, she has retired from the corporate world and is actively involved in transforming young people to new thinking where they can explore a different view of themselves and their realities. She spends her time working as a facilitator and coach with NGOs that aim to promote health on a social and economic level. In her interview with The Pixel Project, she says: “I would like women to remember that no matter the circumstances of the abuse, we never ask nor do we deserve the violation and humiliation that comes with abuse. It is critical to find our voice because silence is a way of allowing the perpetrator to silence us. We give power to them and increase myths such as victim-blaming.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #11: Inspirational Interview – Rujuta Teredesai, India

rujuta-teredesai_croppedRujuta Teredesai Heron, co-founder of Equal Community Foundation, has been working in the development sector for around 10 years. She specialises in programme management, fundraising, and communications. Having studied English Literature and Print Journalism, she is a trained journalist. She joined the Equal Community Foundation because she has tremendous faith in the concept of engaging boys and men as a part of the solution. Rujuta says: “Men’s attitudes and behaviours towards women are the root cause of the problem of violence and discrimination against women and girls. If we are to solve this problem, then we must engage boys and men in the solution. Unfortunately, a majority of men do not have the opportunity to learn about equality and the role they play in it. We recognise that we need to provide boys and men with knowledge, skills, peer support and leadership/role models to prevent violence and discrimination against women.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #12: Inspirational Interview – Sahar Khan, India

sahar-khan_croppedSahar Khan is founder of the Stanford and Hyderabad-based tech platform Zariya that connects women who face VAW with help in a swift and safe manner. When talking to The Pixel Project about Zariya’s work at the intersection of anti-VAW activism and new technologies, she says: “Survivors do not have singular needs but a multitude of needs (legal, economic, medical etc.); hence there is a obligation for a coordination mechanism among providers on the ground. We aim to build the strong coordination mechanisms between the variety of services and expedite necessary knowledge and action between them to deliver the best outcome for survivors.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #13: Inspirational Interview – Sayydah Garrett, Canada and Kenya

sayydah-garrett_croppedBorn in Montreal, Canada, Sayydah Garrett is the Co-Founder & President of Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) which aims to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Samburu County, Kenya. Together with PCF’s Co-Founder, Samuel Leadismo, Sayydah runs PCF’s anti-FGM programmes which is built on helping Samburu’s families and communities have a stake in ending FGM while helping girls get an education for a brighter future. Sayydah says: “The Samburu community now prefers education as the Alternative Rite of Passage to replace FGM. By educating both girls and boys there is a greater chance that we will succeed in eradicating FGM and child marriage. Workshop attendees learn the great benefits of not mutilating girls. Our workshops are wildly popular! The youth understand that when girls are healthy, educated, happy and enjoying life, things are better for everyone.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #14: Inspirational Interview – Tania Rashid, Bangladesh

Tania Rashid_croppedTania Rashid, a freelance correspondent, multimedia journalist working in print and photography, and the producer of the short documentary, “A Crime Unpunished: Bangladeshi Gang Rape”.  She has covered human interest stories for Vice News in Bangladesh on gang rape and the lives of sex workers. Most recently Rashid hosted a piece for Al Jazeera’s 101 East on child marriage. When talking to The Pixel Project about how the mainstream media can do better with reporting on VAW, Tania recommended the following: “The media needs to give voices to journalists of colour – female journalists of colour, because we have access to worlds and terrains that a parachute reporter probably would never get. The first step is for the media to recognise and give a chance to reporters who can bring these very deep stories to light in a respectful way, and with understanding of a particular culture, where it is not just anthropological or half-assed. That is what I do, and I think more women should have that opportunity.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #15: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Travis Greenley, Canada

travis-greenley_croppedA proud father to an 11 year old daughter, Travis joined Family Transition Place (FTP), which is the organisation in his community trying to promote gender equality and stop violence against women and girls. He helped start and volunteers for a men’s engagement committee (MENtors) and is also a Youth Educator with FTP. He travels to schools to promote, role model for and teach youth about healthy and unhealthy relationships and all its related topics (stereotypes, empathy, discrimination, self-esteem). Speaking about to educating the younger generation on ways to prevent VAW, he says: I believe that as a society we need to spend less time telling men and boys what not to do. Instead, we need to empower boys and men with what they can do to make a positive difference in our culture. We should encourage them to become educated on the issue of violence against women and gender inequality.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #16: Inspirational Interview – Yasi Safinya-Davies, United States of America

dr-yasi-safinya-davies_croppedDr. Yasi Safinya-Davies has been serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault since 2009. She completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology. Her professional focus is specific to issues concerning women, the impacts of trauma, and severe/chronic psychological conditions. In October 2015, she became the executive director of SAVE, a domestic violence nonprofit in Californa. When talking about how communities can mitigate the risks of VAW, she says: “As a community, we can mitigate these challenges by providing girls equal opportunities to education, by examining our permission of male dominance and aggression, by eliminating the purchasing of girls and women as commodities. We can keep score and publicise the equitable or inequitable practices toward women of corporations, education systems, politicians, and advertising agencies. We can make it safe to say, “I am a survivor.”  We can acknowledge that domestic violence affects all of us.”

16 Ideas and Actions To Avoid and Stop Victim Blaming

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One of the major factors that impede the eradication of violence against women (VAW) in communities and cultures worldwide is victim blaming. Victim-blaming norms place the blame for domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault squarely on the victim while absolving the perpetrator from guilt or fault. This toxic and insidious attitude is rooted in the patriarchy and is set in place long before any attack is carried out. For example: adults admonishing girls and young women not to drink when they go out, school policies that police what girls wear so that they do not distract boys at school, the slut shaming of women who have premarital sex in conservative cultures, and girls being taught to avoid public spaces after dark.

This culture of saddling women and girls with the sole responsibility for their own safety not only restricts and hinders their daily lives, but also has devastating consequences for victims in cases of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Judges in rape trials across the world have asked victims why they couldn’t “keep their knees together” or if they had tried “closing [their] legs”. In domestic violence cases, judges and lawyers use victim-blaming terms such as “volatile relationship” and “jealous anger” to minimise the accountability of men who abuse their wives and partners. And in high-profile cases like Amber Heard’s divorce from Johnny Depp for his abusive behaviour and in the Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic violence case, many fans (including female fans) rush to defend their male idols while shaming the victims despite indisputable evidence of abuse. As Rihanna noted in an interview: “The victim gets punished over and over.”

The challenge with dismantling victim-blaming attitudes lies in the fact that it is so pervasive that most people do it automatically. From refusing to believe a domestic violence victim by saying ‘I wasn’t there so I don’t know’ to teaching girls to avoid alcohol when they socialise, putting the onus on women to avoid abuse is a knee-jerk reaction for many people.

In this 16 For 16 article, we present 16 actionable ideas as a starting point to inspire you to to stop victim blaming, whether it’s adjusting your own behaviour, holding a perpetrator responsible for his behaviour, changing your community’s attitude towards victim blaming, or helping a victim or survivor.

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

Written, researched, and compiled by Regina Yau.

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Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #1: Begin by Believing 

Silence surrounds domestic and sexual violence in society because victim blaming and shaming makes it a taboo topic for discussion. When victims try to speak out, they encounter disbelief and dismissal from family and friends. So when a friend or family member tells you that she is being abused by her husband or partner or that she has been raped, believe her. Even if the perpetrator is your friend or another family member, believe her. And let her know that you believe her.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #2: Repeat After Me: “It Is Not Your Fault.”

Assure the victim that it is not her fault and reinforce this by listening to what she says about her experience. When telling their story, it is normal for some victims to sometimes attribute part of the blame to themselves because they too have internalised victim-blaming norms. If this is the case, continue listening but also consistently reassure her that it is not her fault. If other people blame the victim, speak up to remind them and emphasise that it is not her fault.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #3: Hold The Perpetrator Accountable

People who are abusive or violent towards others often try to explain away or rationalise their actions by blaming their victim. If you hear a perpetrator saying this, do not believe him. If you are in a position to push back, do so by verbally repeating his actions to him and reminding him that he alone decided to abuse, assault, or rape his victim when there were other choices of action available. Do not let him make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, circumstances or drugs for his behaviour. If you can, get help from a rape crisis centre, domestic violence charity or women’s rights organisation in your area to build a case for filing a report with the relevant authorities while providing support and care for the victim.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #4: Challenge The Enablers

Thanks to the pervasiveness of victim-blaming, there will be other people who will believe the perpetrator, especially friends and family members who either cannot reconcile the individual they know with the violent criminal action he took against another person. Oftentimes, they will defend him by lashing out at the victim. When you encounter this, check that the victim is all right (if she is present) and then remind the victim-blamers that it was the perpetrator who made the choice to abuse or rape and counter every victim blaming excuse they make for him.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #5: Mind Your Language

One of the ways in which we perpetuate victim blaming is the way we talk about it. Typically, language surrounding domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault focuses our attention on the victim instead of the perpetrator. For example: it is common for many people to talk about the case as “Mary was raped” or “Mary is a rape victim”. This subtly cuts out the perpetrator from the discussion while putting the victim in the spotlight. So be mindful of the way you talk about VAW cases. Try using an active sentence such as “James raped Mary” to make sure the blame stays where it should stay – with the perpetrator.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #6: Ask The Right Questions

When there is news about domestic violence, rape, or sexual assault, the first question many people often ask is: “What was she wearing?”, “Was she drinking too much?” or “What did she do to provoke him?”. These questions generally go unchallenged because of victim-blaming culture and the belief that women are responsible for their own safety. Instead of going with the flow, ask the hard questions that get to the heart of the crime and puts the spotlight back on the perpetrator such as “Why did he rape her?” and “What is law enforcement/the judiciary doing to hold the perpetrator accountable?”.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #7: Turn It Into A Teachable Moment

There are a number of typical questions and assumptions that are expressed by people when they hear about a VAW case. These range from “Why was she out so late at night anyway?” to “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change”. Use these attempts to displace accountability onto the victim as an opportunity to school the people who say them about VAW and the importance of holding the perpetrator accountable for his actions. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a great starter resource which helps answer many typical accountability-interrupting questions.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #8: Hold The Media Accountable

The way the media reports about VAW is a major factor in upholding and perpetuating victim-blaming culture. A 2015 study into the international reporting of violence against women has found that media often sensationalises domestic violence against women and shifts the focus away from the perpetrator. If you see your local or national newspaper or news channel reporting on VAW cases in this way, call them out on it and challenge them to do better. Some of the ways you can do that include writing a public letter to the editor or starting an online petition asking them to rethink their approach.

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Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #9: Hold The Judiciary Accountable

One of the most damaging influences of victim blaming is the judges presiding over VAW cases who hold victim-blaming attitudes themselves. Such attitudes frequently result in abusers and rapists walking free or being handed extremely lightweight sentences. Such verdicts re-traumatise victims and legitimise victim blaming. Take action against this in various ways by protesting unfair verdicts and victim-blaming behaviour by judges through petitions and open letters, and taking action to get the judge to be recalled or disciplined as the residents of Palo Alto and Stanford University students did in the Brock Turner case.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #10: Call Out Rape Jokes

One of the ways in which victim-blaming attitudes are normalised is through rape jokes. By making light of rape and sexual assault, these jokes trivialise the trauma that survivors face by making rape and rape survivors a laughing stock for public amusement. The most basic way you can challenge rape jokes is by calling it out immediately – state that it makes you uncomfortable, state why it makes you uncomfortable, and ask the person making the joke to consider the negative effects of the joke. For example: “I know a few rape survivors. This joke isn’t funny. How would you feel if you were raped and someone made fun of your trauma?”.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #11: Vote With Your Wallet

Pop culture reflects the beliefs, moods, and norms of wider society. So it is no surprise that VAW appears in books, comics, music, movies, comedy, TV series, fashion, social media and even advertisements. Rape in particular is often treated as a convenient plot device, even going as far as to portray the rapist in a sympathetic light. In a number of very popular movies and TV series, rape and sexual assault are normalised and even used for comedic effect. And a number of advertising agencies still produce ads that use images and footage of VAW for their clients. The best way to push back? Vote with your wallet – simply refuse to by the products sold by companies, artists, designers, and creators who contribute to the narrative of rape culture and victim blaming or get advertisers to pull their ad spend or sponsorship of the product. And get your friends to join you in this boycott.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #12: Get Educated About Violence Against Women (VAW)

Many people fall back on victim blaming because they buy into the myths surrounding VAW. These include false assumptions such as “If she doesn’t fight back, then it isn’t rape” or “If he was violent, why doesn’t she have bruises?”. This leads to the victim being treated with suspicion or not being taken seriously if she isn’t the “perfect victim” who fought back against her rapist or who is visibly abused by her partner. Begin proactively addressing any victim-blaming tendencies you may have by learning about VAW, how to recognise signs of abuse, and why rapists rape. Check out the websites of anti-VAW organisations like The Pixel Project to get information and resources to start you off.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #13: Get Educated About Consent

Recognising the importance of sexual consent in relationships and learning how to check for consent before sex is a crucial part of preventing rape and sexual assault. However, this topic is still not widely taught as part of sex education in schools worldwide. As such, many people (even adults) still do not understand what consent looks like. One of the consequences of this lack of awareness about what consent is and looks like is that many people falsely assume that a victim consents to violence when she fails to fight back or to tell the perpetrator to stop. To avoid making this assumption that directly feeds into victim blaming, take the initiative to learn about consent – what it looks like, how to tell when consent is absent, and how to recognise situations when consent is impossible.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #14: Start With The Kids

No child is born knowing how to victim-blame. They learn to victim-blame from the adults around them – sometimes by observing and absorbing victim-blaming behaviour as the norm, sometimes by directly being taught to do so (and enabled) by their parents, teachers, coaches and other adults. If you have kids or if you work with kids, take action to teach them about the importance of consent, gender equality, and respecting women and girls. Talk to your sons and the boys you teach or mentor about why VAW is wrong and how to speak up when their peers make light of VAW. Acknowledge that you are a role model for the children around you whether you like it or not and make sure to set a good example of not victim blaming when discussing high profile VAW cases in your community and in the media.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #15: Get Your Community Educated

A good start to eradicating victim-blaming attitudes from your community or neighbourhood is to start educating as many people as possible about VAW and the importance of supporting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable regardless of their standing in the community. This can be done in collaboration with your local rape crisis centre, domestic violence nonprofit, women’s organisation or police community outreach officers who can work with the community, local schools and local companies to organise and implement talks, townhall meetings and other group sessions to talk about this issue.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #16: And Finally – Always Support Victims and Survivors

At the heart of victim blaming is the goal of taking away support for victims and survivors in order to protect the perpetrator. Break that cycle by stepping up to unequivocally support VAW victims and survivors. There are many ways you can do so, including speaking up to intervene when victims and survivors are being shamed or attacked by victim-blamers, helping survivors find the resources that they need to heal and rebuild their lives, and accompanying them to court if they choose to try to bring their attacker to justice. And listen to victims and survivors – always listen and believe victims and survivors.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Striking Anti-Violence Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

Give Peace a ChanceEvery year, we at The Pixel Project come across a wide variety of innovative and powerful campaigns tackling Violence Against Women (VAW) by our fellow activists and non-profits from around the globe, and 2016 is no exception. From using tattoos to reclaiming public spaces through bike-riding, activists and campaigners all around the world have had an extraordinarily busy year.

We acknowledge that anti-VAW campaigners put themselves in perilous situations to advocate for the safety of others and we are immeasurably grateful for their bravery. From women marching the streets to women combating harassment online, each and every action, large or small, counts.

So today, in honour of all VAW activists, nonprofits and grassroots groups 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 Rubina Singh. Additional content by Regina Yau

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Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #1:  Brides do Good – Worldwide

Launched on International Day of the Girl Child this year by Chantal Khoueiry, Brides Do Good is a social enterprise and campaign with the aim of ending child marriage. In partnership with Plan International and Too Young to Wed, Brides Do Good provides a platform for women to sell their expensive bridal gowns and one-third of the profits are donated to charities working to end child marriage.

Brides Do Good from Brides Do Good on Vimeo.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #2: #Everywoman  – The Philippines

Using the hashtag #EveryWoman, women across the Philippines came together against slut-shaming and VAW in the country. An alleged sex tape of Senator Leila de Lima was made public leading to outrage against the video being used to shame her as a form of violence against women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #3: Fancy Women on Bikes – Turkey

“Fancy Women On Bikes” is a national women’s movement in Turkey that is moving to reclaim public spaces for women through bike rides in groups. Founder Sema Gur used social media to mobilise her friends to cycle with her so as to raise awareness about the issues women experience in the streets and traffic. And so the Fancy Women on Bikes movement was born with clear and precise message: “We should go wherever we want, dress however we like, be visible, yet not be disturbed.”

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Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #4:  Girls at DhabasPakistan

Girls at Dhabas started in 2015 as an Instagram post by Sadia Khatri and developed into a movement to reclaim public spaces in Pakistan this year. Dhabas are small, open air restaurants found in South Asia where women are rarely seen alone. In their effort to increase women’s public participation, the movement encourages women to reclaim public spaces like dhabas.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #5: Give The Red Card – Pacific Islands

Launched on 10 November 2016, the Give The Red Card campaign is an effort by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and UNICEF to engage with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup teams to galvanise sporting champions who will stand together and speak out against VAW. Under this campaign, participating countries and football teams will engage with a celebrity male football player in their home country to stand with the team and help to advocate against VAW in their communities.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #6: “I’ll Never Be Silent”  – Brazil

VAW is rampant across Latin America, with some of the worst cases taking place in Brazil. Triggered by the gang-rape of a 16 year old girl in April 2016, activist group Rio de Paz protested against VAW by showcasing photographs by photographer Marcio Freitas themed ‘I’ll Never Be Silent’ along with 420 pairs of underwear on Copacabana Beach. The number of underwear represents the number of women who are raped every 72 hours in Brazil.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #7: “Men wear Mini-skirts” March – The Netherlands

To protest against the violence against women in Cologne, Germany in January 2016, men gathered in Amsterdam wearing miniskirts. The protest was in response to comments blaming the assault on the women’s attire rather than addressing the behavior of the perpetrators.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #8:  #MoreThanMean – United States of America

#MoreThanMean is a video and podcast to raise awareness about the harassment faced by women in sports. The video shows men reading some of the ‘mean tweets’ targeted at female sports journalists including rape and death threats. The men cringe as they read out these tweets to the journalists sitting in front of them. The underlying theme of the video is to showcase how these tweets are more than just ‘mean tweets’ and are actually abuse.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #9: #NeinHeisstNein (No Means No)  – Germany

This year, a ‘No means No’ law was passed by Germany to address gaps in the law regarding violence against women in the country. Along with many protests and campaigns for years, the move was preceded by a campaign by UN Women Germany and activist Kristina Lunz using the hashtag #NeinHeisstNein (No means no).

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #10:  #NotOkay  – Worldwide

Following disturbing comments made by Donald Trump, President-Elect of the USA, Canadian author Kelly Oxford decided it was #NotOkay. She started tweeting stories about her own experiences with sexual assault and invited her followers to share more using the hashtag #NotOkay. 27 million tweets later, the hashtag has translated into a symbol for the unacceptability of sexual assault within and outside USA.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #11:  Pinjra Tod (Break the Hostel Locks) – India

Women’s hostels and rental accommodations in India are known for stringent curfews and sexist rules like forbidding women from coming in late or staying out at night. Pinjra Tod, literally translates to ‘break the cage’, and that is precisely what this collective of women students, alumni and allies in New Delhi is trying to do. Their tactics range from open discussions to online petitions to graffiti. Along with trying to end sexism in educational institutions, they are also trying to ensure that anti-sexual harassment committees in colleges and universities are active.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #12: Silent Anti-Rape Protests Against President Zuma – South Africa

Four women came together for a silent protest against President Jacob Zuma during his address at the Independent Electoral Commission in Tshwane, South Africa. President Zuma was accused of raping his friend’s daughter, known in the media as Khwezi, in 2005. The charge was dismissed in 2006 amidst protests. The demonstration brought to light the sad state of the South African judicial system when it comes to addressing issues of violence against women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #13:  Stop it at the Start – Australia

Developed by the Australian government, Stop it at the Start is an ad campaign to highlight the need to address violence against women and violent behavior from the beginning. The campaign shows disrespectful behavior between a boy and girl which eventually converts into violent behavior as they age.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #14: Temporary Tattoos  –  Germany

Sexual assault against young girls in Germany is on the rise. To raise awareness about the issue, Veronika Wascher-Goggerle, the Women’s and Family Representative from Bodensee district in Baden-Wurttemberg has started an awareness campaign with temporary tattoos. Temporary tattoos were distributed to young girls to talk to young girls at swimming pools about sexual assault.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #15: The Pink Ladoo Project – United Kingdom and South Asia

In South Asian communities, ladoos (a traditional sweet) are traditionally distributed on the birth of a male child. Taking into account the sexism and violence against women that starts at birth, Raj Khaira initiated the Pink Ladoo Project to encourage South Asian families to celebrate the birth of a girl child by distributing pink ladoos and to address the gender bias from the start.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #16: The Unacceptable Acceptance LetterUnited States of America

To address the issue of campus sexual assault in USA, a campaign was developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in collaboration with the production company PRETTYBIRD and the women’s rights advocacy group Ultraviolet. The campaign includes a print ad and six videos of high school students reading out their college acceptance letters, with a twist at the end highlighting the plight of campus sexual assault survivors.

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Photo credits:

  1. Photo from Thousands of ‘Fancy Women on Bikes’ defy intimidation to claim the streets of Turkey” (Didem Tali/Women Of The World/New York Times)
  2. Photo from “Activists Launch No More Rape Campaign” (Filipe Dana/The Daily Beast)

The Pixel Project VAW e-News Digest — ’16 for 16′ 2016 Edition

news-coffee9-150x150Welcome to our annual “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 2016.

2016 is remembered by many for its significant cultural and world events, and this is no exception for the news and developments about violence against women. While there have been distressing news such as violent acts going viral and politicians identified with rape culture, there has also been growing awareness, bolder acts of resistance and progress in legislation.

Here are the 16 biggest trending VAW headlines of 2016:

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.

With all good wishes,
The Pixel Project Team


General Violence Against Women


 Domestic Violence


Rape and Sexual Assault


 Human/Sex Trafficking


 Female Genital Mutilation


 Forced Marriage and Honour Killing


Activism

16 Games to Help Stop Violence Against Women

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Video games have long been demonised as promoting and contributing to sexism, misogyny, and violence against women (VAW). Popular games like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption have VAW (including rape and sexual assault) built into their gameplay and game worlds, leading critics to observe that they are rewarding players for acting out their fantasies of VAW which may translate into real-world behaviour.  Indeed, the violently misogynist Gamergate movement which attacked women in the gaming community and industry, including Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu, reinforces this perception of gaming and gamers.

What critics may have overlooked is that games can also be used to help prevent VAW and promote gender equality. Some experts have even put forth the case that violent video games may, in fact, help to reduce violence in general. In recent years, a growing number of game designers, women’s organisations, and anti-violence nonprofits have started using the potential impact of ICT and gaming, with many new games being developed to increase awareness about the impact of VAW, bystander intervention, consent in relationships among young people in particular. The games that these people create range from PC games and Facebook games to mobile applications and even board games. These games seek to educate players about VAW and simulate the experience of VAW for players or sometimes just start the conversation around VAW.

In this article, we present a list of 16 games that are designed to help stop VAW. This is just a starting point which we hope will encourage and inspire more people to start seeing games as tools and gaming communities as potential allies with enormous potential for creating positive consequences in the battle against VAW.

Written and compiled by Rubina Singh; Additional content and research by Regina Yau.

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Game Against VAW #1: A Casual ChatSphere 9 – USA

A Casual Chat was the winner of the 2016 Life.Love.Game Design Challenge produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group and aims to increase awareness about teen dating violence. The game invites players to interact with Katie, a high school senior and follow her story about her relationship with her boyfriend.

 

Game Against VAW #2: After Party – Sonder Games, Abertay University – United Kingdom

Students from Abertay University have developed After Party – a game on the importance of consent in relationships. After Party recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Games4Health competition at Utah University, USA.

 

Game Against VAW #3: Angry Brides – Shaadi.com – India

Angry Brides is a Facebook Game developed by a matrimonial website Shaadi.com. The game is an interactive way to raise awareness about dowry and the impact it has on women in India.

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Game Against VAW #4: Another Chance – Jean Hehn, Another Kind – Belgium

Another Chance was the winner of the 2015 Life.Love.Game Design challenge produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group, a non-profit working to prevent teen dating violence. The game explores the theme of violence in relationships.

 

Game Against VAW #5: Breakaway – Champlain College Emergent Media Centre – USA

Breakaway is an interactive online video game that uses soccer as a tool to educate players about VAW and gender equality. The game was designed by the Champlain College Emergent Media Centre in Vermont, USA for the United Nations Population Fund as part of the UNiTE Campaign to End Violence against Women.


BREAKAWAY Video from Champlain College Emergent Media on Vimeo.

 

Game Against VAW #6: Bystander – Game Changer Chicago, University of Chicago – USA

As part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago, Game Changer Design Lab developed Bystander, an interactive video game to encourage young people to become active bystanders and prevent incidents of VAW.

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Game Against VAW #7: Cool-Not Cool Quiz – Futures without Violence – USA

As part of the ‘That’s Not Cool’ initiative of Futures Without Violence, the Cool-Not Cool quiz addresses the issue of teen dating violence. The game is available on mobile and online and uses an interactive quiz format to help users understand the signs of teen dating violence and dating abuse.

 

Game Against VAW #8: Decisions that Matter – Carnegie Mellon University – USA

Decisions that Matter is an interactive online game developed by students at Carnegie Mellon University as an attempt to prevent situations of sexual assault on college campuses. The game invites the player to respond to varied scenarios of sexual harassment and violence in order to be an effective bystander.

 

Game Against VAW #9: Elite Sharp CCT – Institute of Creative Technologies, University of Southern California – USA

The Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Command Team Trainer (ELITE SHARP CTT) is a training game made for the American military to address issues of sexual harassment. The games showcases scenarios that train command teams to respond to incidents of sexual harassment.

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Game Against VAW #10: Ending the Cycle – Peter Wonica and the Galerstein Women’s Center at the University of Texas at Dallas – USA

Developed initially with the Galerstein Women’s Center at the University of Texas at Dallas, Ending the Cycle is a board game designed to simulate experiences of a person in an abusive relationship. Players walk through the different phases that a survivor of domestic violence may go through while leaving an abusive relationship.

 

Game Against VAW #11: Green Acres High School – CAVA (Changing Attitudes to dating Violence in Adolescents) Project – Sweden

Green Acres High School aims to raise awareness about violence in adolescent relationships through modeled scenarios of different stages in relationships. Targeted at 12-16 year old players, the game is accompanied with resource material for teachers as well.

Game Against VAW #12: Half the Sky Movement: The Game – Frima Studio – Worldwide

The founders of the Half the Sky Movement launched a Facebook game to raise awareness and funds for empowering women and girls across the world. Players see multiple situations faced every day by women in different countries and learn about the issues faced by them.

 

Game Against VAW #13: Hannah – Lotus Media Studios – Australia

Hannah is a text-based video game that aims to raise awareness about domestic violence. The gamer is asked to use different tools to assist Hannah, who is a victim of domestic violence and help her to become a survivor. The game will be officially released at the end of this year.

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Game Against VAW #14: In Tune – Tweed Couch Games – Canada

In Tune is an interactive game where players learn about consent in physical relationships. Players make teams of two and re-create scenes of physical touch that they view on screen. They wear ‘consent bracelets’ which registers their level of comfort during the interaction through skin contact.

 

Game Against VAW #15: Mission Hazaar – Blue Ant Digital Intelligence for Breakthrough – India

As a part of their campaign to address the declining child sex ratio in India, Breakthrough developed an HTML5 game to increase awareness about the issue and engage more people in the conversation. The point-and-click game takes users across five States in India with the worst sex ratio to find hidden girls and women.

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Game Against VAW #16: PS Be Brave – Damian Hadyi (99UNO Designer) and Dario Gimenez – Argentina

With the aim of increasing awareness about relationship abuse and teen dating violence, PS Be Brave invites users to share advice and experiences around violence in relationship. The game also has useful resources to address abuse in relationships.

16 Ideas for Supporting your Local and National Rape Crisis Centres

 

When faced with a crisis, many victims feel they have nowhere to turn. Rape Crisis Centres offer a refuge and a beacon of hope to survivors, ensuring that they receive the best quality medical, mental and emotional care. Rape Crisis Centres are community-based organisations that work to help victims of rape, sexual abuse and sexual violence. These centres may serve a state, city, a college or any other community.

Rape Crisis Centres are integral to a person when in need. They offer emergency support, individual counselling, medical attention, legal advocacy, community and professional education, emergency shelter and more. Some Centres extend their programming and partnerships to offer childcare, pet care and other assistance.

Many Rape Crisis Centres are certified non-profit organisations, meaning they are supported in large parts by the generosity of their community. This support can be financial or voluntary. As part of The Pixel Project’s “16 for 16” campaign, we present 16 ideas for supporting your local and national rape crisis centres. These recommendations range from digital to in-person and from voluntary to monetary. They are simply a starting point for the many unique ways you can support rape crisis centres around the world, ensuring they can continue their missions of serving those in need.

Written, researched, and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

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Idea recommendation #1: Support the centre’s social media efforts

Rape crisis centres and other nonprofit organisations across the world are turning to social media to reach supporters and those in need. They offer educational tools along with resources such as crisis hotline phone numbers and live chats. By supporting your local rape crisis centre on social media – through liking their page, following them on Twitter and engaging with their posts – you help to share that life-saving information to a lot more people, and help them reach those in need of their services.

Idea recommendation #2: Volunteer

Working with a limited budget, most rape crisis centres only have the operating budget to support a small number of staff. Thus, volunteering with your local rape crisis centre ensures they are able to serve more people in need. Volunteer positions vary from administrative tasks, outreach programming, and managing phones. Furthermore, many rape crisis centres will provide its volunteers with detailed training.

Idea recommendation #3: Offer pro bono resources

Your technological skills may be valuable to your local rape crisis centre, more so than simply volunteering. These skills include design, legal, accounting, computer science and more. Many rape crisis centres are in need of these skills, and offering your services for free allows the centre to spend their small budget in other areas.

Idea recommendation #4: Invite them to speak at your events

When planning an event for your school, business or community, consider the ways you can include your local rape crisis centre. When appropriate, your local rape crisis centre can set up a table to recruit volunteers, handout business cards and other information, or provide a short introduction before or after the event.

Idea recommendation #5: Become an advocate

An important way to support a rape crisis centre is ensuring that those in need are aware of their services. Becoming aware of the programmes your local centre provides, understanding the process, knowing the hours and having emergency phone numbers handy will ensure people can connect with the services they need. Asking your rape crisis centre for business cards with important information, or making your own, is an easy way to ensure you have the most accurate information with you at all times.

Idea recommendation #6: Support fundraising campaigns

In the majority of cases, rape crisis centres are certified nonprofit organisations, meaning much of their operating budget comes from the financial support of their donors. Rape crisis centres may fundraise year round, or for specific campaigns supporting special programmes. Financially supporting your rape crisis centre ensures they can acquire resources necessary to provide services to those in need. If you are unable to support the fundraiser financially, you may consider becoming a leadership volunteer for the campaign, where you will help plan events and connect with potential donors.

Idea recommendation #7: Purchase and wear swag

Promoting a rape crisis centre will connect it with those in need and potential volunteers and donors. An easy way to do this is by using the products you receive in giveaways, or purchase from the crisis centre. T-shirts, water bottles, pens, and other swag items will promote the centre’s name and programmes, encouraging other likeminded individuals to donate or volunteer.

Idea recommendation #8: Attend Events

To fundraise for their programmes, many rape crisis centres host local events within the community. These events may vary from evening galas where tables are sold, to concerts, BBQs, and smaller events. Purchasing tickets to these events and participating in fundraising activities such as silent auctions will help the rape crisis centre continue their programmeming.

Idea recommendation #9: Support them in a walk or marathon

If you enjoy running, walking or biking, consider supporting a rape crisis centre in your upcoming marathon. Marathons and walkathons are perfect opportunities to reach out to your community of peers for small donations. Crowdfunding for a rape crisis centre will not only help alleviate stress on the centre’s financial budget, but it will introduce the centre to potential donors and volunteers.

Idea recommendation #10: Tell your story

If you have been helped by a rape crisis centre, consider telling your story anonymously or publicly. You can share it on your blog, or the centre’s blog if they have one, on social media, at an event, or allow the centre to share your story on your behalf. By sharing your story you will encourage others in need to seek out refuge, and you will help potential donors and volunteers understand the benefits of the centre, encouraging them to support the cause.

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Idea recommendation #11: Graphics and Banners

During Sexual Violence Awareness Month in April, Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October or at any other time throughout the year, consider “donating” your social media profiles to the rape crisis centre of your choice. Donating your profiles are easy – you simply need to change your profile and cover photos to a specifically designed image which would include the name of the centre and emergency phone numbers. By donating your profile, you not only stand in solidarity with victims and survivors, but you provide life-saving information to your online network, some of which you may not know are in need.

Idea recommendation #12: Clothing and other in-kind gifts

Rape victims often have to turn over their clothes for evidence after a rape or assault has occurred, forcing them to wear hospital robes. Many rape crisis centres accept clothing and other in-kind gifts to give to survivors in their time in need. This simple action plays a small part in reducing the stress of the situation, and helps to give dignity back t the survivor.

Idea recommendation #13: Become a language advocate

Rape crisis centres serve clients who speak various languages. When in crisis, speaking to someone in your native language relieves some of the stress. If you are fluent in more than one language, working with your local rape crisis centre allows the organisation to reach more people and has the potential of making a troubling time easier.

Idea recommendation #14: Use your business

If you are a business owner, manager, or sell your own products, consider setting up a period of giving to support a rape crisis centre. During this period, a percent of your sales will be donated to the centre you have selected. You may also consider sponsoring an event. Both options not only benefit the rape crisis centre, but will be a source of promotion for your company.

Idea recommendation #15: Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile offers a unique way to support a rape crisis centre of your choosing. Setting up Amazon Smile is as simple as selecting the charity of your choice. At no additional cost to you, when shopping on Amazon via Amazon Smile, 0.5% of the purchase price will support the charity of your choosing.

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Idea recommendation #16: Donate your cellphone

Many rape crisis centres collect old cellphones that are still in usable conditions. Traditionally, the crisis centre will receive funds from the cellphones you donate, and that money will have a direct impact on the centre’s programmes and services. In some cases, your cellphone may even be provided to somebody in need. Donating your cellphone or organizing a cell phone drive in your community not only benefits the environment but the rape crisis centre as well.

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up to Street Harassment 2016

holly1-200x300The Pixel Project is pleased to share the sixth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment, which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of our partner Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Through Facebook and her Stop Street Harassment website, Holly receives and shares stories of women fighting back against street harassment. She shares these stories 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. Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous.

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

All visuals courtesy of Stop Street Harassment.

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Empowering Response #1:

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23-year-old Ruhi Rahman was riding the train in Newcastle, England, when a man started making racially threatening comments toward her. A woman sitting next to her jumped up to help her. After she intervened, most of the other passengers also spoke up and forced the man to leave.

Empowering Response #2:

Mercedes in Washington, D.C. faces a lot of catcalls during her early morning commute to work. One morning, men in a truck kept following and harassing her (“Good morning, sexy!” etc). She said, “Normally I would ignore situations like this because men tend to be bold because they’re in their vehicle, a confined space where they feel safe enough to make unflattering remarks. Ironic. I couldn’t keep walking this time, I was so fed up. I snapped and said, ‘Shut-up. Just shut the f*** up!’. Silence. They didn’t say anything else to me. I felt good about speaking up for myself …. Ever since I snapped a lot of the catcalling I normally experience in the morning and leaving work has declined tremendously.”

Empowering Response #3:

kellyIn October after the release of a 2005 recording of American president-elect Donald J. Trump engaging in what he calls “locker room banter” about forcing himself on women, many people spoke out against his behavior. The most visible response was on Twitter.

That night, author Kelly Oxford tweeted, “Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.” By the next morning, as many as 50 women tweeted their stories per minute of first-person accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #notokay. Less than three days later, nearly 27 million people had responded or visited Oxford’s Twitter page.

Empowering Response #4:

Deanna Carter called out and shamed a man on the NYC subway who tried to masturbate in front of her. She said, “Rubbing your dick? What the f*ck are you doing? Do it again and I’m getting’ up out of this chair and I’m gonna bust your f*ckin ass on this train.” Then she told him to get off the subway at the next stop – and he did.


Empowering Response #5:

Illustrator Shehzil Malik in Pakistan became so fed up with street harassment that she created a series of images she called #WomenInPublicSpaces to “symbolise the struggle of Pakistani women who feel harassed in public spaces.”

Empowering Response #6:

Thanks to the hard work of activists in Nottingham, UK, the police force began classifying street harassment and other forms of misogyny as a hate crime and police began recording and monitoring it so they can look for trends.

Empowering Response #7:

A woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina, grew sick and tired of men harassing her during her work commute. One day a man on the street made kissy sounds at her. She turned around and told him to “stop harassing women” and “I don’t want to hear any more of your bullshit opinions about my body.” He smiled and started to harass her again. She said “I saw red, took the top off my coffee and threw the full thing in his face!” As she walked away, he called her a “Crazy, dumb bitch” but everyone around them laughed at him.

Empowering Response #8:

Milwaukee bus driver Sharon Chambers saw a girl waving in her direction. When she stopped for her, she saw that she was crying. The girl said a man had been following and harassing her. Chambers told her to get on the bus and that “no one was going to mess with her on my bus.” Chambers called the bus dispatch who notified the police. While they waited for the girl’s grandmother and the police, Chambers said, “Don’t worry about it. You are safe. I will fight for you; no one is going to hurt you.”

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Empowering Response #9:

After a passenger made a lewd comment to an Alaska Airlines flight attendant as she demonstrated how to use a safety vest, she told him to be respectful. When he disagreed, she talked to other staff, and someone came and escorted him off the plane!

Empowering Response #10

A woman was walking home from work when she encountered two men walking toward her. “Hey girl, you look sexy,” said one. She turned toward him and yelled, “Mind your own business!” She said he got the point.

Empowering Response #11:

MJ is a light-skinned Hispanic woman who was at a California fair with her friends when two Hispanic men talked about grabbing her ass in Spanish, not realiaing she could understand them. She turned and screamed, “Go ahead and try!” They literally ran away.

Empowering Response #12:

flA man in Florida liked to start talking to women in stores by asking innocent questions and then escalating quickly to inappropriate and sexually graphic remarks and questions. He filmed the women as he did so. After he did it to a woman for a second time in a few years, she recognised him and remembered his strategy and she began filming him and questioning him and ended up chasing him out of the store. He fled in his car but the police pulled him over and arrested him for reckless driving. He was then charged with video voyeurism too. Many other women came forward to report similar experiences.

Empowering Response #13:

Sarah in Denver, Colorado, was walking across the parking lot to go to work when she saw two boys across the street. One said, “I wanna lick your poop chute” and did an obscene tongue motion. His friend laughed. She noticed no cars on the street and rocks nearby and in a split second decided to cross the street and pick up a rock and threw it near him. He dodged it and ran away screaming, “You’re crazy!” She retorted, “Come back you coward! Come back and say something else to me!”

Empowering Response #14:

S.A. in India was going to meet her tutor when she noticed an ATM guard staring at her in a vulgar way. She was afraid at first but then “gathered courage.” She said, “Stop staring at me that way. It’s inappropriate.” She even threatened to hit him. “He felt quite guilty about what he did,” she wrote.

Empowering Response #15

A woman in Poughkeepsie, NY, was walking to work when two men working on the roof of a building started “hooting and hollering” at her. She stopped and yelled back, “I hope you fall off that building and are crippled for life because you’re already crippled in the head.” That shut them up completely.

Response #16:

luceLucé Tomlin-Brenner said, “I’ve been verbally, emotionally and sexually harassed by men I don’t know for more than half my life. It’s happened while walking down the street, riding on public transportation, working retail/service industry jobs, on college campuses, and while performing on stage. It’s happened in every city I’ve ever lived, visited, or worked in. It’s happened at punk shows that are supposed to be my safe places. These are not compliments, they are violations. They are threats to my mental and physical safety.” In response, artist Olivia Britz-Wheat designed a “Not Your Baby” tattoo for her at Blacklist Tattoo in Portland, Oregon

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Songs About Violence Against Women (and Staying Strong and Positive)

Girl Playing Piano 1Music empowers, entertains, and helps listeners transcend pain. One song can bring its listeners together by expressing feelings and emotions that many are unable to articulate. The Pixel Project believes in the power of music to heal, inspire, and send a strong message about violence against women. This is reflected in our Music For Pixels campaign through which we collaborate with various artistes around the world.

For 2016, our selection spans different genres and decades to ensure that everyone can find a track to be inspired by. And if our list fails to inspire, it is our sincere hope that you find the soundtrack to your life nonetheless, as everyone needs a set of songs they can relate to in times of adversity.

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

Written and compiled by Rebecca Dean

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Song Number 1: Church Bells – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood’s “Church Bells” follows the story of a woman, Jenny, who fights her way out of an abusive relationship. Jenny starts as a free spirit, who meets and marries a wealthy man, who turns out to be abusive. By the end of the song, Jenny fights back, escaping the relationship in any way she can. 

 

Song Number 2: Control – Janet Jackson

In “Control”, Janet Jackson solidifies her control over her words, actions and life. Control is an anthem for the independent woman. “Got my own mind / I wanna make my own decisions / When it has to do with my life / I wanna be the one in control.” 

 

Song Number 3: Family Portrait – P!nk

In “Family Portrait”, P!nk is a child growing up in an abusive household. She pleads with her parents “I’ll be so much better, I’ll do everything right / I’ll be your little girl forever / I’ll go to sleep at night,” believing the anger and fighting is her fault.  

 

Song Number 4: Fight Like a Girl – Kalie Shorr

Kalie Shorr’s “Fight Like a Girl” is a female empowerment anthem taking back what it means to do things “like a girl.” Whereas in modern society “like a girl” is used as an insult, Shorr shows that being a girl is what makes her unstoppable. “You say I canʼt, well darling watch me / You canʼt stop me / Cause I fight like a girl”  

 

Song Number 5: Follow your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow your Arrow” is an anthem for women to be true to themselves – despite what limits society puts on them. Musgraves begins the song by criticising society’s stereotypes of women, with lyrics like “If you save yourself for marriage / you’re a bore / If you don’t save yourself for marriage / you’re a whore-able person.” Musgraves then encourages women to follow their heart and make themselves happy, no matter which path it takes them down. 

 

Song Number 6: How Come, How Long – Baby Face and Stevie Wonder

 In “How Come, How Long”, Baby Face and Stevie Wonder speak to bystanders of abusive relationships. The protagonist of this story “tried to give a cry for help”, but those around her made excuses – “nothing was wrong as far as we could tell / That’s what we’d like to tell ourselves.” In the end, the woman was killed by her abuser. The song ends with the singers encouraging everybody to “look for the signs” in order to potentially save a life.  

 

Song Number 7: I Get Out – Lauryn Hill

 In “I Get Out,” singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill sings about breaking free of the chains of an abusive relationship. Once forced to compromise, Hill recognises the cycle of abuse and is determined to be free. “You say “love” then abuse me / You never thought you’d lose me / … / Cause now I’m choosin’ life, yo / … / That’s how I choose to live.” 

 

Song Number 8: I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

In “I’m Coming Out”, Diana Ross sings about being unapologetically true to herself. She encourages the listener to be confident in their personalities and be proud of the person they are. 

 

Song Number 9: Just a Girl – No Doubt

Inspired by her family’s overprotective nature because she is a woman, “Just a Girl” was written by Gwen Stefani in 1995. “Just a Girl” is a satirical take on the limitations placed on women and girls because of their genders. Stefani uses lyrics such as “‘Well don’t let me out of your sight / Oh, I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite” to exemplify the negative stereotypes placed on women in today’s society.  

 

Song Number 10: Love Me – Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s “Love Me” is an empowering song for those struggling with insecurities, especially when in a romantic relationship. Here, Perry realises that loving herself is necessary in order to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. “So now, I don’t negotiate with insecurities / They’re gonna have to take a back seat / I know I have to love myself, the way I want you to love me”  

 

Song Number 11: Not To Blame – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s “Not to Blame” tells a story of a man who abuses his partner, driving her to suicide, and people’s reactions to the abuse. With powerful lyrics such as “Your buddies all stood by/ They bet their / Fortunes and their fame /That she was out of line /And you were not to blame” Mitchell highlights the victim blaming that still occurs in today’s society. 

 

Song Number 12: Q.U.E.E.N – Janelle Monae

Q.U.E.E.N was described as a “declaration of independence” by Paste Magazine in 2013. With lyrics including “They call us dirty ‘cause we break all your rules down / And we just come to act a fool, is that all right / They be like, ‘Ohh, let them eat cake,” / But we eat wings and throw them bones on the ground” Monae’s Q.U.E.E.N is designed to question society’s stereotypes and expectations of women. 

 

Song Number 13: Remedy – Adele

While Adele’s “Remedy” was written for her son, it is a powerful ballad reminding women to be there for themselves, and for those they care about. The lyrics, including “When the pain cuts you deep / When the night keeps you from sleeping / Just look and you will see / That I will be your remedy” empower women to look inside themselves to find the strength to survive even the harshest of situations.  

 

Song Number 14: Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya

In this female empowerment anthem about women with their own dreams and goals, Daya sings lyrics such as “This queen don’t need a king” and “this gal right here’s gonna rule the world” After releasing Sit Still, Look Pretty, Daya told Entertainment Weekly “It’s important for young girls to know that they don’t have to act a certain way or depend on someone for happiness. They can find all of that within themselves.”  

 

Song Number 15: The Voice Within – Christina Aguilera

In this empowerment anthem, Christina Aguilera encourages girls to trust themselves in the face of challenges and adversity, just “like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within / Then you’ll find the strength that will guide your way.”  

 

Song Number 16: Where is the Love? – Black Eyed Peas

Where is the Love” confronts the anger, hatred and violence in the world, including topics such as discrimination, gang violence and more. Though written in 2003, the lyrics were rewritten in 2016 to reflect the current state of the world.