16 Individuals and Groups Working To Stop Violence Against Women In Gaming

Since the 1980s, the link between video games and its potential to cause or instigate violent behaviour (particularly in children and youth) has been a topic of comment, study, and research. Yet while sexism, misogyny, and violence against women (VAW) in video games has been noted as far back as 1982 with the protests against Custer’s Revenge by women’s groups for its inclusion and depiction of rape, VAW continued to be exploited by video games and normalised as part of gaming culture.

The major turning point arrived when the #Gamergate controversy erupted in 2014 and the sexism and violence in the gaming community and industry caught the attention of mainstream media as many women developers and gamers were publicly targeted by male gamers through online abuse, doxxing, and rape and death threats. Some of these women even moved homes because of the magnitude of the threat of violence.

Gamergate highlighted the urgent need to address the large-scale sexism and violence experienced by female gamers, especially in the tremendously popular MMO games where gamers gather online in teams and bullying and harassment is as easy as sending a volley of abusive misogynistic vitriol over one’s microphone. Many individual activists, groups and gaming companies have started working on accelerating ongoing efforts, preventing and addressing this violence. Their change-making efforts are slowly paying off: post-Gamergate there has been an increase in women entering the gaming industry as developers, reviewers, and players.

In this list, we present 16 individuals and organisations working to directly address and eliminate VAW in gaming in various ways ranging from critiquing video gaming violence and conducting research on gaming and sexism to building more female-friendly spaces in gaming and paving the way for VAW-free videogames in the market.

With 52% of gamers identifying as women, it’s definitely time to stop violence against women in gaming. Together.

Introduction by Rubina Singh and Regina Yau; Written and compiled Rubina Singh with additional content by Regina Yau

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Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #1: Anita Sarkeesian – Canada

Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist social critic and founder of Feminist Frequency who has been fighting to end VAW in gaming for many years. Through her web series Tropes vs Women in Video Games, Anita shone a light on the rampant sexism and violence against women prevalent not only in video games but also within the gaming community. Thanks to her work, Anita has been the target of vicious harassment campaigns time and again including the infamous Gamergate. While her work to bring an end to VAW in video games continues, Anita is also working towards online safety for women.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #2: AnyKey – United States of America

AnyKey is an organisation dedicated to supporting and advocating for diversity in esports by fostering welcoming spaces and positive opportunities for competitive players of all kinds. Currently, the organisation’s research and initiatives are focused on women in esports, including providing competitive gamers with resources, support and opportunities, as well as collaborating with women in the industry to build better gaming spaces for women and girls.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #3: Brianna Wu – United States of America

Brianna Wu is a video game developer and the co-founder of the game development studio Giant Spacekat. She also created one of the first video games with only female characters. A vocal opponent of sexism and VAW in video games, Brianna found herself facing extreme harassment and abuse in the wake of Gamergate. Brianna is now running for congress so she can participate in making changes at the policy level to ensure safety for women.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #4: Code Liberation Foundation – United States of America

Code Liberation was started in 2013 to teach women, non-binary, femme and girl-identifying people to program. As part of their approach to addressing the underlying sexism in gaming, Code Liberation provides access to computer science to people who may not have considered entering STEAM fields because of sexism. By creating a supportive atmosphere for women and other non-binary folks, Code Liberation hopes to bring some much-needed change in the gaming industry.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #5: Douglas Gentile – France and the United States of America

Dr. Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, has been trying to shine a light on the impact of VAW in video games. In a recent study, Dr. Gentile and his team of researchers surveyed 13000 French adolescents and found a link between video games and sexism. While there has been previous research about the amount of VAW shown in video games, it would be dismissed on the grounds that it did not encourage users to emulate similar behavior. Dr. Gentile’s study, however, provides the missing piece of the puzzle – evidence that video games encourage sexist attitudes in young people.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #6: Emily Matthew – Online

In 2012, Emily Matthew undertook an online survey with 874 participants to find out more about VAW and sexism in video games. According to her findings, 60% of female respondents faced harassment while playing video games and 79.3% agreed that sexism is prominent in the gaming community. Talking about why she undertook the research, Emily shared in an interview, “I have been a target of sexual harassment, especially when playing online on public servers with people I don’t know. I think that the community recognizes that it’s there. But there’s never really any sort of empirical data to use when discussing it or arguing against it. I only have anecdotes to describe what’s happening to me, and I think people take that less seriously than if you have hard data to support your claims.”

Note: Ms. Matthew’s photograph and country details are unavailable.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #7: Jennifer Brandes Hepler – United States of America

Jennifer Brandes Hepler is the editor of Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass-level Cap – a book which highlights the personal accounts of 22 women who work in the game industry regarding the encounters they have faced ranging from sexism and harassment to hostile employers. In the book, Hepler wrote: “If there is one thing you get from reading this book, I hope it is to recognise that there is no single narrative of being a ‘woman in games’. But although the characters change, the setting is the same, and the hostility and ignorance we have all faced continue to be a defining part of many women’s experience of games.” It is her belief that continuing to speak out about discrimination and violence against women in the industry as well as playing and creating games that counteract sexism and misogyny is the way forward.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #8: Kanane Jones – United States of America

Kanane Jones is a video game developer and creator of the game Final Girls. As a survivor of abuse, Kanane wanted to develop a game that focuses on what happens to a survivor after the trauma and how they move on with their lives. While creating the game was cathartic for Kanane, she also hoped that it would bring more attention the issue of VAW.

 

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #9: Leigh Alexander – United States of America

Leigh Alexander is an author and journalist who focuses on writing about sexism and VAW in video games. She was former editor-at-large for Gamasutra and later became editor-in-chief at Offworld a gaming site focused on diversity and inclusiveness within the gaming community. Like many of the women on this list, Leigh was also harassed and abused during Gamergate.

 

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #10: MissCliks – Online

MissCliks is an organisation comprising gaming community leaders who  banded together to use their influence and voices to champion a world where people of all genders can participate in geek and gamer culture without fear of prejudice or mistreatment while enjoying acceptance and opportunity. At present, the MissCliks team is 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.”

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #11: Nina Freeman – United States of America

Nina Freeman is a game developer who is transforming the industry by creating innovative video games about sex and relationships without any form of VAW.  Many of her games are autobiographical in nature and she has also made a game called Freshman Year that explores abuse and unwanted attention in a college setting. Talking about the relevance of her work, Nina shared, “It felt really good to be a part of a community of women who care about helping the industry become more diverse and inclusive. It’s definitely an important pursuit.”

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #12: Punchdrunk Games – United States of America

Led by a group of women and non-binary folks, Punchdrunk Games is a video game development company that creates games without any form of VAW. Their most popular game to date has been Regicide: Tale of the Forgotten Thief, where the player follows the story of a female lead. One of the team members, Jelly Rains shared in an interview about how she feels that their involvement in the gaming industry will help to make it safer for women: “When I heard about GG [Gamergate], I realised that there was a need to make the gaming industry safe for my daughter and all other young women. The only way I can make sure that happens is by me being in the game industry myself.”

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #13: Randi Lee Harper – United States of America

Post-Gamergate, Randi Harper wanted to facilitate systemic changes which prevent online abuse from occurring. As a game developer, Randi faced online abuse even before Gamergate and had created a tool known as ‘ggautoblocker’ to protect users from mob harassment on Twitter. She later founded the Online Abuse Prevention Network to prevent and mitigate targeted abuse online.

 

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #14: Re-figuring Innovation in Games – Canada

Re-figuring Innovation in Games (ReFIG) is a project undertaken by a team of researchers and led by Professor Jennifer Jenson from York University. A team member – Dr. Alison Harvey from the University of Leicester’s Department of Media and Communication – explained, “Women and girls have largely been excluded from games culture − as players, makers and protagonists. Additionally, many of those who do participate in games have been publicly harassed both online and offline as exemplified by the ‘Gamergate’ hate campaign. Addressing long-standing gender inequalities in the global digital games industry is a vital means by which to stimulate innovation and sustain the growth and consolidation of this massive creative arena.” Through the project, the team seeks to address these issues and develop an inclusivity toolkit for the games industry and gender-inclusive curricula for game programmes and incubators among other outcomes.

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #15: Shannon Sun-Higginson – United States of America

To bring mainstream attention to sexism and misogyny in the gaming industry, Shannon Sun-Higginson directed a documentary called Get The F**k Out (GTFO) in 2012. The documentary looked at the commonplace VAW in the gaming community through interviews with video game developers, journalists and academics.

 

Campaigner Against VAW in Gaming #16: Zoe Quinn – United States of America

Zoe Quinn is a video game developer and programmer who was at the center of the infamous Gamergate controversy. Zoe had spoken out about gender inequality in gaming for many years, and post Gamergate, she faced immense online harassment and abuse. The controversy brought mainstream attention to VAW in gaming. She is now working to address online abuse through her organisation Crash Override.

 

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Photo Credits:

  1. Anita Sarkeesian – From “Anita Sarkeesian” (Jessica Zollman / Anita Sarkeesian)
  2. Brianna Wu – From “Brianna Wu vs. the Gamergate Troll Army” (Michael Friberg / Inc.)
  3. Code Liberation Foundation – From “Interview with Phoenix Perry of Code Liberation Foundation” (VG Revolution)
  4. Douglas Gentile – From “Researchers find Video Games Influence Sexist Attitudes” (Iowa State University News Service)
  5. Jennifer Brandes Helper – From “How women in gaming face hostility” (Polygon)
  6. Jennifer Jenson – From “Distinguished Scholars – DiGRA
  7. Kanane Jones – From Kanane Jones on Google+
  8. Leigh Alexander – From “Leigh Alexander Bio” (Kotaku)
  9. MissCliks – From MissCliks.com
  10. Nina Freeman – From “Meet Nina Freeman, the Punk Poet of Gaming” (The Guardian)
  11. Punchdrunk Games – Still of Regicide from “Punchdrunk Games” (Facebook)
  12. Randi Lee Harper – From ‘Randi Lee Harper on Twitter’
  13. Jennifer Jenson – From “Distinguinshed Scholars – DiGRA
  14. Shannon Sun-Higginson – From www.shannonsun.com
  15. Zoe Quinn – From “Gamergate Target Zoe Quinn can Teach us How to Fight Online Hate” (Wired)

 

16 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Help Prevent Violence against Women

This year, The Pixel Project is pleased to welcome a guest “16 For 16” article from RANZCOG – the leading standards body responsible for the training and education of doctors in obstetrics and gynaecology in Australia and New Zealand. RANZCOG provides consultative leadership and advocacy in #WomensHealth to ensure excellence in #obstetrics and #gynaecology training.

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In Australia and around the world, violence against women is widespread, but it is also preventable. Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 than any other preventable risk factor.

As trusted leaders in the community who are on the frontlines of patient care, healthcare professionals are in a unique position to both respond to, and help prevent violence before it occurs.

Knowing where to start or what to do can be overwhelming. However, there are many opportunities to initiate change at any stage of your career, regardless of whether you are in training or are currently practicing.

Through awareness raising and education, by addressing attitudes that enable violence, and by working with support organisations, health professionals can make a major difference to the lives of women and girls experiencing violence.

Here are our 16 ways that health professionals can help prevent violence against women.

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Idea for Healthcare Professionals #1: Integrate Awareness-Raising Through Learning

One of the best ways learning institutions can equip health professionals with the knowledge they need to help prevent violence against women, is to ensure that they are aware of the issues and drivers that enable violence. Raising awareness through the inclusion of modules or exam questions in the curriculum not only develops competency, but highlights violence against women as a very real problem.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #2: Provide Opportunities to Level Up Skills

Ensuring that health professionals have access to skill building opportunities and resources is crucial to promoting best practices. Beyond knowing how to identify, respond and refer patients appropriately, it is also equally important that health professionals are skilled in handling these interactions sensitively and respectfully.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #3: Support Research

By supporting, providing expertise to, and investing in research initiatives, health professionals across disciplines can contribute to understanding why these issues persist, and contribute to finding ways to prevent violence before it happens. For example, Melbourne University has some great partnerships and resources as part of the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against women and their children. Click here for more information.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #4: Acknowledge That Stereotyping of Violence Exists

A common trap that we fall into is the idea that violence is only perpetrated by, and to, a certain kind of person. While statistics tell us that there is a gendered nature to violence, it is important for health professionals to remember that violence occurs across all cultures, communities and religions regardless of wealth and education. There is no stereotypical victim of violence, but acknowledging that these attitudes exist is important.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #5: Be A Leader, Speak Up

Recent research by the Medical Board of Australia found that doctors are among the most trusted professions. As leaders in the communities, health professionals are well placed to promote respect as part of a holistic approach to good health and well-being. By calling out behaviours that contribute to negative attitudes towards women, health professionals are able to set standards in their clinical practice, and amongst their colleagues, that violence is not acceptable.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #6: Call Out Sexism

There is an opportunity for health professionals to prevent violence against women at an individual level by understanding the attitudes that drive violence. Sexist language, comments and behaviours are enablers that allow negative attitudes towards women to persist. By calling out these actions and making it very clear that this is not tolerated or accepted in the workplace, clinic or medical institution, it’s a step that all health professionals can make to help address damaging attitudes.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #7: Set the Example

Behave in a way that signals to everyone that you take these issues very seriously. Everyone enjoys and is productive in a fun work environment, but sexist jokes, comments, and conversations set a poor example. Calling out sexist comments, allowing women to speak without interruption, and being respectful of physical boundaries are simple ways that you can show those around you how it’s possible to be a person people enjoy being around without demonstrating or encouraging poor behaviour.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #8: Make Resources and Messaging Visible To Patients

Placing support resources around the workplace may seem like an insignificant measure, but it capitalises on an opportunity to reinforce a safe space without any formal exchange of words. Regardless of how friendly a workplace may be, there are many women who do not report violence for a number of reasons. Where possible, having these resources in both highly visible, and more discreet areas of the office, may allow a woman the opportunity she needs to access this information.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #9: Create a ‘Cone of Trust’

Often times it is in a clinical or medical setting where evidence of violence is either identified and/or disclosed. For such reasons, the relationship between a health professional and patient is of significant importance. Ensuring patients feel safe, heard, and have confidence in the practitioner’s ability to provide the right support, enables a culture of trust where help can be sought.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #10: Ask the Right Questions

Utilising a domestic violence screening tool can assist health professionals in identifying and responding to patients who are at risk of, or experiencing violence. Checking in with patients by asking general questions about their well-being is a good way to keep the communication pathways open. When violence is suspected, remaining sensitive to the reasons why a woman may have chosen not to disclose this information, and by asking the right questions can prompt opportunities for discussion.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #11: Be Mindful Of Creating Unintentionally Unsafe Spaces

In circumstances where a woman has separated herself from a violent situation, it is useful for health professionals to be mindful that creating an unintended unsafe space is a possibility. Personal documentation and health records pertaining to a child or dependent from a previous violent relationship may allow a perpetrator unknown to health professionals, access to personal information, potentially compromising the safety of the woman. Ensuring that all staff that care for the patient are aware of such circumstances will ensure that confidentiality is upheld.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #12: Know How, And Where, To Refer

Building relationships with legal centres, domestic violence crisis centres and community organisations that support women experiencing violence will ensure that the referral process is smooth and efficient. Maintaining these connections not only supports a collaborative approach, it also ensures the patient receives the right mental, social and medical supports necessary.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #13: Understand Legal and Administrative Pathways

Having some basic knowledge of legal rights is extremely useful. Where it is not possible for a staff member on-site to have this knowledge, at the very least having access to legal support services or legal professionals will assist health professionals in providing an appropriate response. There are some great resources and initiatives out there, In Australia, 1800RESPECT has resources for support workers and professionals responding to women experiencing violence. Health Justice Partnerships in Victoria are also implementing a new legal welfare model into hospitals to make legal advice more accessible to women.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #14: Take Good Notes

In the instance where a disclosure has been made, and a woman chooses to take legal action, patient notes can sometimes be called on as evidence to support her case. Doctors can assist in these circumstances by keeping detailed patient notes.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #15: Recognise Your Unique Position

Healthcare professionals who care for women during pregnancy occupy a unique position in society. Demonstrate that you understand this by being a champion for women of all ages. Establish an environment of respect, challenge behaviours that cultivate negative attitudes towards women and don’t hesitate to let people know that violence or disrespect is not tolerated.

Idea for Healthcare Professionals #16: Use Your Influence

Never miss an opportunity to advocate for women’s safety. Your role in women’s health sets you apart and delivers unique opportunities for you to influence policy. Look for opportunities to have these discussions with your colleagues and professional networks. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions as to how your workplace could be more equitable. Get involved in initiatives that support prevention initiatives and tell your friends about it. Make the point. Deliver the message. Argue for change.

16 Things You Can Donate to Women’s Shelters to Help Change Lives

Women’s shelters are often the first-stop safe location for women who are seeking refuge from abusive relationships. Shelters are halfway houses where many women and children get their first reprieve from a life filled with fear and pain; where they get their uninterrupted night’s sleep in days, months, or even years; and where they can take their first steps in their journey towards healing from their trauma and rebuilding their lives.

While shelters do provide a roof over the women and children’s heads, they are also chronically underfunded and always overstretched, relying on the surrounding communities and generous donors to provide some of the basic necessities needed to help get survivors back on their feet again. Whether it’s providing items to meet a baby’s needs, or sponsoring gas or a public transport pass to get a survivor to a job interview on time, we can all give a little something to support the efforts of shelters to help victims survive and thrive.

Here are 16 items that you can donate to help women in women’s shelters, for when they first arrive and when they are starting to rebuild their lives.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but it’s a start. When in doubt as to what necessities your nearest women’s shelter would welcome, always call to ask. And finally, if you can’t decide what to give, consider giving a cash donation instead so the shelter can buy what they need.

Introduction by Regina Yau and Samantha Joseph; List compiled by Samantha Joseph; Additional content by Regina Yau.

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When they first arrive at the shelter

Recommendation for Donation 1: Bras and Underwear

We may take the basics for granted, but because of the circumstances of most women when they leave an abusive home – no time to pack, plan or prepare – even necessities have to be left behind. Bras and underwear will always be appreciated by women in shelters who may have left their abusive home with just the clothes on their backs.

Note: For hygiene reasons, please always donate new bras and underwear, not second-hand ones.

Recommendation for Donation 2: Gift Cards for Clothes

While donated clothes are always welcome, not everyone at the women’s shelter will be able to find clothes that fit right. It may seem small – after all, some might say, at least they have clothes – but when you have little to nothing of your own and you’re trying to start over, clothes that fit and fit the occasion can make a huge difference. It will enable them to buy something simple like pyjamas which play a practical role in providing comfort and giving them back some dignity by giving them something to sleep in aside from their day clothes.

Recommendation for Donation 3: Bed Linens and Blankets

A good night’s sleep is a rare commodity for many victims and survivors. Survivors newly arrived at shelters are often exhausted and sleep deprived. You can help shelters provide a comfortable, clean sleeping environment for survivors by donating clean bedsheets, linens, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, and even mattresses.

Recommendation for Donation 4: Laundry Detergent

Keeping clothes clean and fresh gives a boost of confidence and self-respect to women at the shelter and doing laundry (a very run-of-the-mill task) may help some survivors feel more normal again. So when you’re packing clothes, bed linens and other washable items to take to the shelter, don’t forget to include a few jumbo bottles of laundry detergents (including at least one type for sensitive or allergy-prone skin) with them.

Recommendation for Donation 5: Toiletries

There’s nothing like the feeling of cleanliness that comes with a good shower. Every shelter houses women with different hair types, skin types and hygiene requirements. So make a small but thoughtful donation by providing them with choices of hair care products, dental hygiene products, deodorant, body wash, and soap for something as basic as bath time.

Recommendation for Donation 6: Pads and Tampons

Even among women, we rarely talk about the need for sanitary products at shelters, but they are very necessary and often in short supply. Imagine not being able to access these things when you need them. It’s an easy and affordable thing to do to pick up a few boxes for donation the next time you’re at a pharmacy or supermarket.

Recommendation for Donation 7: Baby Supplies

Infants and toddlers who come in to shelters with their mothers are at a vulnerable age and need certain things – baby formula, baby blankets, age-appropriate toys like small stuffies, clothes for little ones that fast outgrow what they have would make a big difference in providing a little hope and easing a mother’s concern. So why not put together a nice box of all these necessities to donate to your nearest women’s shelter? At the very least, consider adding a few new packs of diapers and baby wipes to the list of items you plan on donating.

Recommendation for Donation 8: Kids’ Games, Crafts And Books

Children at women’s shelters are going through a confusing and often traumatic time in their lives but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be given the opportunity to still be children. Games, crafts, and books will help both children and mothers find moments of peace and creativity. So if you have board games and video games that your children have outgrown, add them to the stash of things you plan to donate to the shelter. Pick up some extra sets of craft supplies the next time you’re shopping for your craft hobby or your kids. Get children’s books that your children have outgrown. Then box them all up and take them to the nearest women’s shelter.

Recommendation for Donation 9: School Supplies

Older children and teenagers at the women’s shelter should not have their schooling disrupted. Whether they will resume going to school or will be home-schooled for their safety, they will need school supplies. Ease the worries of both mother and child by donating stationery, text books, learning aids, used tablets and laptops, and even bus passes to help the kids get to school.

Recommendation for Donation 10: Pet Supplies

In homes riddled by domestic abuse, pets are often held hostage or tortured as part of the abuser’s modus operandi for controlling his partner and children. In many cases, women and children are reluctant to leave their home because they are unable to bring their beloved pet with them. Some women’s shelters are now recognising the need to house pets as part of helping survivors escape. If your nearest women’s shelter does so, consider donating jumbo packs of dog and cat food, pet shampoo, pet toys, cat litter, and other pet basics to help keep the shelter’s kennel residents clean, fed, and comfortable while they provide comfort to their human family.

When they are rebuilding their lives

Recommendation for Donation 11: Second-hand Work Clothes and Shoes

Do you have work attire like suits, formal button-down shirts, tailored skirts, and pairs of nearly-new work heels that no longer fit you or which you just haven’t worn in months? Donate your gently-used work clothes and shoes to your nearest women’s shelter – this will give the women something suitable to wear when they go for interviews to start rebuilding their life, where potential employees are often judged first based on how they look. Remember to send them to the dry cleaners or launder them before donating them to the shelter so they are all fresh and ready to wear.

Recommendation for Donation 12: Personal Grooming Supplies

Seemingly inconsequential but incredibly impactful, nail polish and makeup provide an extra boost of confidence for survivors who are taking their first steps towards find work. Being well-groomed alongside being well-dressed will help them make a positive impression on potential employers.

Recommendation for Donation 13: Public Transport Passes and Gas Cards

Getting from one place to another in time for a job interview, meeting or just to get to work while staying at a shelter can be difficult, especially with the cost of transportation and gas going up year on year. Access to public transport for survivors at city-based shelters and helping survivors with cars to fill a tank with petrol will significantly ease this struggle. Depending on the location of the shelter, you could donate annual or monthly public transport passes to women at shelters in cities. For survivors with cars or doing car pools in suburban or rural areas, gas cards loaded with enough credit for several tanks of gas will help with up to a month of getting to work and back.

Recommendation for Donation 14: Cell Phones

When applying for jobs, cell phones are a crucial instrument of communication because it allows survivors to make follow-up calls and inquiries as well as provide potential employers with a way of reaching the survivor. If you have a few older models lying around at home, why not pass them to your nearby women’s shelter to be recycled and reused? Better yet, organise a cell phone drive to collect used – but still functioning – cell phones from your friends, family, and co-workers and deliver a box full of them (together with the right cell phone chargers) to your local women’s shelter.

Recommendation for Donation 15: New SIMs and Call/Data Plans

Some survivors do bring their cell phones with them when they escape. However, their source of income or access to their bank account may be cut off by their abusive partner or spouse who control the family finances. So donate a few prepaid SIMs for them to simultaneously obtain a new phone number that their abuser cannot reach them at while giving them a means to make calls to potential employers and landlords as they get ready to rebuild their lives. For those with smartphones, get them pre-paid data plans or make arrangements to pay for 1 – 3 months of a basic data package for them.

Recommendation for Donation 16: Laptops, Desktops, and Tablets

As part of applying for jobs, survivors will need access to computers to fill out online forms, write resumes, and email application letters. So if you have still-functional desktop computers, laptops, and tablets that you are no longer using or are thinking of replacing with a newer model, consider donating them to your nearest women’s shelter. Make sure to delete all your personal files but keep a word processing programme like Microsoft Word and a browser like Firefox or Google Chrome in the computer, laptop, or desktop you’re donating so that survivors have instant access to these basic tools.

16 Ideas for Using Technology to Prevent and Stop Violence against Women

More than any other time in human history, the 21st century has seen a breakneck pace in the development of new technologies and the constant improvement and refinement of existing technologies. Almost half the world has internet access now with the rest catching, up as smartphones become increasingly cheap and ubiquitous in even the most remote areas of the world.

Technology cannot end violence against women (VAW) – only people can do that within their families, communities, and cultures. However, technology can be invaluable tools in the fight to end VAW in various ways:

  • It is a staple part of the anti-VAW activist’s toolkit to help stop VAW from happening, bring awareness to the issues surrounding VAW, and move society closer to ending it.
  • In today’s uber-connected world, technology functions as a magnifying glass for gender inequality and gender-based violence – the Internet, social media and mobile phones put a spotlight on stereotypes, misogyny and harassment.
  • Technology can also be a tool of empowerment for women, bringing them education and avenues through which they can tell their own stories. In this way, it can be life changing.

In this 16 for 16 article, we present 16 actionable ideas as a starting point to inspire you to use the technologies available to you to help stop VAW in your family, community, and culture. It is by no means a complete list but it’s a good place to begin.

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

Introduction by Anushia Kandasivam and Regina Yau; List curated, compiled, and written by Anushia Kandasivam; Additional content by Regina Yau.

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Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 1: Crowdsourcing Data

One of the most important tools in the fight to end VAW is accurate and comprehensive data about VAW. Data is essential to understand VAW and for education and policy making. There are initiatives and programmes around the world that enable women (and men) to contribute data in the form of testimonials on VAW. This data can be used to shape policy and efficient implementation and develop innovative strategies to build safe and inclusive public spaces. For example, HarrassMap in Egypt collects stories on street harassment, gang abuse, women being assaulted during the Arab Spring demonstrations and more, and also maps where these incidences occur. Global initiative Hollaback also gathers testimonials and maps where they occur.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 2: Education and Training via Digital Libraries

According to the United Nations, 31 million girls of primary school age are not in school and of these 17 million are expected never to enter school. There are 34 million female adolescents out of school. Lack of education keeps women in poverty and makes them even more vulnerable to gender-based violence including domestic violence, child marriage, and forced marriage. Lobbying your local government to provide community centres equipped with digital resources for self-learning and where locals can work together through peer-learning can be a first step to breaking down some socio-economic and gender barriers that challenge women.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 3: Educating Through Gaming

Though video games have a dark history of promoting misogyny and violence, there are a growing number of Facebook, computer and mobile games that were created to educate players about VAW, stimulate the experience of VAW, or just start the conversation about VAW. Some games to check out are the interactive Angry Brides, created by matrimonial website Shaadi.com that raises awareness about the tradition of dowry and the impact it has on women in India, and Hannah, where the gamer uses tools to assist Hannah, a victim of domestic violence.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 4: Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is becoming more mainstream now, but most people know it only for its ability to monitor health and fitness, and link you to your smartphone. There are, however wearable technologies that double up as tools to help women stay safe. For example: ROAR For Good’s wearable fashion accessory Athena is also a high-tech rape whistle linked to a mobile app that activates when a button is pressed for three seconds. The user can activate a loud alarm and flashing lights, and trigger Athena to alert local authorities and chosen contacts. The Safelet, which looks like a bracelet, has two buttons that when pressed sends a message to a contact, along with an alert that allows the contact to automatically call an emergency number.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 5: Empowering SMS Services

Not everyone in the world who has access to a mobile phone has a smartphone or access to the Internet, which is why having SMS services that help women stay safe is important. According to the World Bank, if a mobile phone exists in a household, then all members could theoretically use it. This extended access means better dissemination of information. Technologies that connect apps to SMS exist for those who do not always have access to the Internet. For example, you can ask Kitestring via SMS to check up on you in a set time after which Kitesting sends you a text. If you do not reply, it will send a message you created to your emergency contact.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 6: Social Media Awareness

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been used for years to spread awareness, tell women’s stories and engage the public. On-going campaigns such as #RedMyLips, #YesAllWomen and #EverydaySexism reach millions of people, attract the attention of mainstream media and get people talking. You can share your stories, experiences and thoughts on VAW and feminism via these and various other campaigns on social media, including #WhyIStayed, #MasculinitySoFragile, #NotBuyingIt and #RapeCultureIsWhen.

 

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 7: Staying Safe with Apps

There are apps for everything nowadays, so it is not surprising that there are numerous safety apps for women as well as apps that educate users about VAW and what they can do to prevent it. For example, Watch Over Me, Circle of 6 and Safetipin are good safety apps that allow users to quickly contact trusted friends or emergency numbers, or instruct the app to contact them in certain situations. The Love is Not Abuse app is aimed at educating teenagers about dating violence.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 8: Helplines and Hotlines

Technology does not always have to be the latest to be effective. In rural areas around the world, phone technology is being used to provide national hotlines to provide counselling, support and advice to women and girls facing violence. In recent years, sophisticated computer systems linking phone networks has meant more efficient operations and more people assisted. In Palestine, the Women’s Protection Helpline and Child Protection Helpline also gather data on demographics of violence in the country. In Afghanistan, some cases handled by the first toll-free family support hotline, locally known as 6464, have seen legal action. You can help your local helpline by donating or volunteering your services.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 9: Connecting Rural Women

Traditional systems of communication and information dissemination, such as radio broadcasts, are still widely used around the world. However, women in rural areas are less likely to have time and space to sit and listen to the radio because of their domestic workload. Innovative digital communication networks can help bring awareness and education to women and girls very rural areas where the majority of them are illiterate and may live without consistent access to electricity, which limits their connectivity to information technology. For example, US-based non-profit Media Matters for Women has initiated a project in rural Sierra Leone that links special radio broadcasting programmes with mobile phones to distribute critical news and information to women and girls about their rights and available support services

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 10: Holding Governments Accountable

A lot of the time, evidence of VAW is difficult to impossible to produce, meaning that women and girls are unable to lodge proper reports, bring perpetrators to justice or even escape from violence. Information communications technology can help bridge this gap by enabling organisations to strengthen documentation, reporting and monitoring processes of gender-based violence and use the evidence to put pressure on governments to deliver on commitments to combat and eliminate VAW. The Women’s Rights Programme of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) partnered with local organisations in Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to do just this, using free and open source software to post information on an online interactive map.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 11: Stripping the Social Acceptability of VAW

In most places in the world, VAW is not seen as a big problem for various reasons. Street harassment for example, is not seen as a problem and instead seen as ‘harmless teasing’ or ‘something that always happens’. Women do not come forward to authorities because of fear and a lack of proper reporting avenues, making VAW an invisible problem. Technology can go a long way to help bring VAW into the spotlight, from social media campaigns to apps and other software that allows reporting and data collection. HarassMap is one such tech – once a month, trained volunteers forming Community Action Teams go to local communities to talk to leaders about what they can do to stop street harassment, using data collected from HarassMap to inform and assist planning.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 12: Hackathons Against VAW

The tech community plays an important role in developing tech tools to prevent and eventually end VAW. Hackathons, where the community gets together to raise awareness and develop new technology, are great ways to do this. In the past, hackathons have resulted in some innovative tech that have helped fight VAW. For example, in the World Health Organization’s Hackathon Against Domestic Violence, the winning team built an anonymous cyberspace forum for victims to learn from and share their experiences without having to give up their privacy. Other prototypes included a web and SMS-based app to alert trusted friends and family in the case of teenage girls being taken abroad and an SMS- and web-integrated hotline that provides information on gender-related violence and how to report an incident

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 13: Responsible Design

There are several ways responsible design can help in the fight against VAW: in the creative design of advertisement – educating the public about VAW or ensuring ads, packaging and other commercial items do not contain sexist or misogynistic messages – and in the design of apps and other tools women use to help them fight violence. One example of the former is the UN Women advertisement campaign that used real Google searches to show how widespread sexism and VAW is. As for the latter, responsible design is important to ensure vulnerable groups are not at risk from using apps and other tools. For instance, safety app Circle of 6 is designed to look like a social app so that you can use it in front of someone who is making you uncomfortable without them knowing what you are doing.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 14: Challenging Stereotypes, 21st Century Style

Software development and programming are among the biggest industries today, so it is no wonder that education in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are increasingly popular. These are traditionally seen as ‘masculine’ subjects and dominated by males in the workforce but more and more girls and women are challenging these stereotypes and breaking barriers. Organisations such as Girls Who Code bring education and awareness to the public about why it is important to provide equal opportunities in these areas for girls and provide avenues for that education. Global non-profit Girls In Tech focuses on girls and women who are passionate about technology and provides support and training for female entrepreneurs in the technology startup space.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 15: Easing Access to Healthcare

VAW is a burden on healthcare worldwide but at the same time women who suffer from violence generally have little access to healthcare either because they live in remote or rural areas, or they are prevented from seeking healthcare. Mobile healthcare technology has made healthcare access easier for some of these women, and governments are now starting to train healthcare professionals to use mobile health tech to detect domestic abuse. For example, India’s Mobilise! programme trains nurses to identify women at risk of violence and encourage them to disclose their experiences. And in Indonesia, the government mobilised 100,000 midwives by providing them with up-to-date healthcare practices through an SMS programme called Bidan.

Anti-VAW Tech Use Technique 16: A Mobile Education

The mobile phone can be used as a standalone technology to enable girls in schools to improve their education and learning. According to UNESCO, which held its Mobile Learning Week in March, mobile learning can promote inclusion in education. Girls in some countries are unable to go to Internet cafes to access resources for school work, so a mobile phone becomes an essential tool for their education. Mobile learning is still a new concept, so it will take more research and definitely some government policy to develop local content and provide access to enable it to work where it is needed.

The Pixel Project Selection 2017: 16 Notable Facebook Pages by Anti-Violence against Women Organisations

Since it was founded in 2004, Facebook has become a social media powerhouse with over 1.94 billion monthly active users as of June 2017. Facebook has grown from a basic social connection website to a life platform. It is used to find, connect and catch up with friends, to read the news, to conduct business, to shop, and to learn.

Facebook is also used to find causes, organisations, and events that are important to us and to advocate for various issues. Now Facebook users can learn about and support global issues from their own homes. Violence against women (VAW) is one of the global human rights issues finding supporters on Facebook. Now, a story about VAW can be read, watched, or heard via Facebook by millions of people around the globe. They can follow organisational news, participate in grassroots campaigns, and donate right from their mobile phone or computer.

More importantly, more than a billion Facebook members worldwide can now locate anti-VAW organisations’ Facebook pages to learn about VAW or quietly get VAW victims and survivors the help they need should they be unable to speak on the phone or otherwise physically get help. Every little bit helps!

This is our sixth annual list of 16 recommended Facebook pages which we have selected because of their unique approach to fighting all kinds of VAW. To make it as representative as possible the selection covers a wide range of countries across different continents. So choose a couple to ‘like’, or better yet ‘like’ them all, get informed, and take action.

Introduction by Rebecca DeLuca and Maria del Rio; Written and compiled by Maria del Rio with additional content by Regina Yau.

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Recommended Facebook Page #1: Afghan Women’s Writing Project – Afghanistan

The Afghan Women’s Writing Project reaches out to women teachers in the United States and engages them, on a volunteer rotation basis, to mentor Afghan women online. The aim of this project is to encourage women to share their stories from their unique perspectives, as sharing is itself a healing process and also a way of helping other women understand their own issues and problems. The blog aims at raising awareness while protecting the privacy of the courageous women who contribute to it. The importance of this blog is four-fold: it helps women feel proud of their stories and heritage, it educates people about Afghan women’s lives under the Taliban and their current issues, it is a method to document their present lives, and it promotes a positive link between Afghans and Americans that goes beyond what they have heard of each other’s countries.

Recommended Facebook Page #2: Edinburgh Women’s Aid – Scotland

At the Edinburgh Women’s Aid they believe that our society should be free from domestic abuse and that women and children deserve to live their lives without fear or violence. With over 40 years of experience, they provide practical and emotional support to women, children and young people at risk of domestic abuse and raise awareness by providing emotional and practical support to survivors. More importantly, their motto is to never judge anyone that reaches out for help, respecting women and their personal choices and providing them with resources.

Recommended Facebook Page #3: EVE Organization for Women’s Development – South Sudan

EVE Organization for Women Development was founded by South Sudanese women from many Sudanese Universities who came together to help transform the lives of women in South Sudan. Because of political instability, they focus their work on women’s peace and security, and socio-economic stability. However, they have gone further and are pushing for women’s participation and inclusion in decision-making and peace processes, as they understand women need to be part of the negotiations in order to achieve positive impact. They focus their community work on issues of utmost importance in South Sudan: fostering school attendance and promoting girls to go back to school, societal perception of women and their roles in the community, economic empowerment, and training and awareness for capacity building.

Recommended Facebook Page #4: Kvenréttindafélag Íslands (The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association) – Iceland and the Nordic countries

This non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Reykjavík, Iceland works on combating online VAW (including revenge porn) and has been fighting for women’s rights and gender equality since 1907. In spite of Iceland being the best country for gender equality (according to the Global Gender Gap Index), not a single territory on this planet has achieved full equality. Founded by Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, a woman who fought for suffrage rights, its focus now is on increasing women‘s representation in parliament and other leadership positions in big organisations. They also elaborate reports for the Icelandic parliament and other ministers and lobby to make gender studies a mandatory subject in secondary schools, and raise awareness about harassment and violence against women online. Moreover, they celebrate women‘s history in Iceland and support women‘s culture and women artists all year round by hosting open meetings, conferences, seminars, and other events.

Recommended Facebook Page #5: Liberty from Violence – Australia

Liberty from Violence is the newest of the chosen organisations for this year, aiming not only at raising awareness against gender violence, but also fundraising. The money raised will be used to fill in the gaps in the survivors’ paths, and they are doing so by researching current available resources in Wagga Wagga, Australia, and matching them with the current needs of the survivors. There are three programs: providing support for survivors of domestic violence (women, mothers with children and youth); supporting local refugees to help them settle, and providing funds for emergency relief purposes for survivors of domestic violence so that they don’t have to return to a violent home.

Recommended Facebook Page #6: Namibia Women’s Health Network (NWHN) – Namibia

Namibia Women’s Health Network (NWHN) is a community-based organisation, with a group of fourteen women who registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services in 2007 to empower those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Namibia. They currently work with civil society organisations and the national and local governments to address the issues faced by HIV positive women in Namibia. The network currently connects 1400 members across the 13 regions of Namibia to disseminate accurate information on sexual reproductive health, prevention of mother to child transmission, cervical cancer, etc. Moreover, among other services, they guide women on organisations fighting gender-based violence and sensitising community members, policy makers, and traditional leaders on issues affecting women living with HIV.

Recommended Facebook Page #7: Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development – South Africa

They host numerous campaigns online, with the aim of raising awareness and educating people on forms of violence against women. Currently, the organisation is running a campaign on sexual consent called “Consent is Sexy!” Their unique approach is their two-fold strategy: consent not only in more casual encounters but also the importance of consent in marriages. They also host a radio program with 30-minute episodes centered on issues faced by women in their community, with the aim of encouraging open and honest talks about gender and violence against women while educating the listeners. Their third campaign is about date rape but tackles issues beyond consent such as HIV/AIDS, dating tips and support strategies for the rape survivor.

Recommended Facebook Page #8: Red Thread Women: Crossroads Women’s Centre – Guyana

Founded in 1986 (and available on Facebook chat) the Red Thread is a grassroots organisation that works with women to better their life conditions, bridging the gap between differences to transform their status. They work with women and children who have suffered the consequences of unequal distribution of power in their society and provide them with tools to help them change the power differences from within their relationships. They approach topics of world-wide interest from a local perspective: from the gender pay gap to fighting all kinds of violence against women, to foster unity and defy fights inside society.

Recommended Facebook Page #9: The RAHI Foundation –– India

RAHI, a non-profit organisation based in New Delhi, India, is a one-of-a-kind organisation in the country: it works with adult women survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse, and offers services by providing individual and group services for survivors aimed at their psychological, emotional, sexual and spiritual recovery. Moreover, it also works with girls who have experienced child sexual abuse, works to raise awareness about incest and other forms of child sexual abuse, and offers advice to other organisations that want to start support groups in other parts of India. Furthermore, whenever they have a person online, Facebook chat shows the following message: “RAHI Foundation is active now. Start a conversation” so that visitors can chat.

Recommended Facebook Page #10: WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre – Canada

The WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre focuses on ending all forms of violence against women by challenging the status quo and the way we think about and look at things. They provide support and healing therapies to help survivors of sexualised violence and help them develop leadership for prevention of future violence. Moreover, they promote legal, social, and attitudinal changes to dismantle systemic oppression of women that perpetuates violence. Moreover, they welcome all Facebook users to engage in conversation with them, however, they are also very strict: any hateful, women-blaming comments are deleted and the user will be banned from their Facebook page.

Recommended Facebook Page #11: Women’s Aid Leicestershire Limited – England

Women’s Aid Leicestershire Limited provides free and confidential support to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence on their journey to empowerment and also to prevent future violence. When necessary they provide survivors with safe shelter, and they also offer counseling for women and children survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence.

Recommended Facebook Page #12: Women Against Violence Association – Jordan

WAV’s mission is not only to address all kind of violence against women, but also to promote the ways in which women and their roles promote building healthy societies. Moreover, due to Jordan’s geopolitical situation, WAV also has a special chapter on terrorism, from clarifying concepts to exposing motivations to helping prevent attacks. WAV is trying to reach as many survivors as possible through different activities such as publishing articles and other stories, communication strategies, and conferences. Both their Facebook and their website are in Arabic with limited information in English.

Recommended Facebook Page #13: WomenPowerConnect – India

WomenPowerConnect is a non-profit NGO that works to foster women’s empowerment and gender justice. They work to ensure the effective implementation of gender-friendly legislation and the active participation of women in policy outcomes regarding women’s representation in Parliament, budget, prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace, and fighting sex- selective abortions, among other issues. In order to achieve their objectives, they have formed an alliance of over 1000 women’s groups and individuals from all over India to work together raising awareness about women’s issues and therefore influencing legislators and policy makers to create and implement gender friendly policies.

Recommended Facebook Page #14: Women’s Refuge New Zealand – New Zealand

Women’s Refuge is the largest NGO in New Zealand dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence, with a network of 45 affiliated women’s refuges in the country. They also offer women and children a helpline, where they answer almost seven calls every hour. Centred around building a country free from domestic and family violence, they aim to empower women and children to live free of domestic and family violence through social change fostered by education and advocacy. They also have a new program, named Whanau Project, that helps domestic violence survivors at risk of re-victimisation or further attacks to upgrade their homes with state of the art technology to help them safely stay at their place.

Recommended Facebook Page #15: Women Under Siege – International

This journalism project investigates and writes about how sexual violence including rape, was and is being used as a tool in genocide and conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries. It was created by Gloria Steinem, and building on the investigations of Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel (who wrote about sexual violence against Jewish women during the Holocaust and the studies of Danielle McGuire who wrote about sexual violence against black women in the USA). The project started with the intention of understanding our past so that we can prevent our societies from making the same mistakes and with the hypothesis that the gender-based violence that happened in Bosnia and Democratic Republic of the Congo’s conflicts could have been prevented from happening. They have a special chapter documenting sexual violence in Syria through a live crowdsourced map at: https://womenundersiegesyria.crowdmap.com

Recommended Facebook Page #16: The “Women Won’t Wait” Campaign – Latin American Region

This bilingual campaign is hosted in Spanish and English to reach Latin American women across borders. It’s an international coalition of women’s organisations that fosters inclusivity and diversity among its members to gather together talent, perspective and energy to promote a general switch in how societies perceive HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. The campaign researches the links between gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS and to help break the circle with the aim to help empower women and girls with HIV/AIDS to reduce their vulnerability, by working to change policies and societal views on the issue.

16 Self-Care Ideas for Anti-Violence Against Women Activists and Advocates

To be an activist or advocate working to bring about positive social change in communities worldwide is to have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world as one is helping to usher in and build a kinder, more just and more equitable world for all. However, change is also difficult and slow to bring about, frequently requiring long hours at work, dealing with individuals and communities that are entrenched in their ways, and a long-term single-minded commitment to the cause. This makes social justice work daunting, stressful, exhausting and sometimes downright dangerous.

Activists and advocates working on women’s rights and issues face a particularly uphill battle due to a combination of job hazards: not only are women’s human rights activists and organisations some of the most severely underfunded in the world but female women’s human rights activists and advocates also frequently receive everything from death threats to rape threats as a routine job hazard. Some are murdered or raped in order to silence their changemaking efforts. For those who remain alive and fighting on, the potential for burnout is particularly high due to a combination of overwork, financial stress and constant harassment from the patriarchal establishment.

To counteract and stave off burnout while carrying on fighting the good fight, activists and advocates need to take care of themselves but many struggle to do so because of the overwhelming demands on their time and energy by the cause.

Nevertheless, self-care doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle, nor does it require lots of time and money. In fact, one of the key ways to integrate self-care into your routine is to make it part of your daily rituals. So here are 16 ways you can care for yourself wherever you are, without disrupting your everyday life. This list is by no means comprehensive and not every suggestion may fit every activist or advocate, but we hope it’s a good starting point.

Introduction by Regina Yau; Written and compiled by Elizabeth DeHoff and Regina Yau

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Part 1: Back To Basics

Self-Care Suggestion #1: Sleep Is Sacred

Countless studies have found that inadequate or poor sleep can throw everything else in your life off-kilter. One recent report indicated that even just 6 hours sleep is not enough. Try to stick to a regular bedtime and practice good sleep hygiene including making sure you have at least 30 minutes of quiet time to wind down before bedtime. Disengage your mind from work if you can. If you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, banish screens from your sleeping area for at least an hour before you go to sleep – or use apps that gradually shift the light on your screens from blue (which keeps you awake) to orange (which signals your brain to slow down).

Self-Care Suggestion #2: Nourish Yourself

A big part of staying healthy while on the job is to eat as well as you are able to within your budget and circumstances. Eat fresh food and home-cooked meals whenever you can – learn the basics of cooking if you don’t already cook for yourself. Choose wisely if you have to eat out. And to keep your energy and concentration levels constant and optimal, try not to skip the main meals of the day. At the very least, take your lunch hour – both to have some food as well as some mid-day breathing space from work. Going on a diet? Make sure to get professional guidance from your doctor or dietitian to ensure that you’re getting the nourishment that you need.

Self-Care Suggestion #3: Bathe Your Cares Away

Whether you start or end your day with a shower or bath, you can integrate elements that soothe your senses: a fragrant soap, candles, a hair treatment, soothing music. If you’re going to be in the shower anyway, you might as well make it a pleasant experience. In the evenings, warm showers can also help with relaxation. In addition, regular baths help ensure your personal hygiene is on point and one less thing to stress about.

Self-Care Suggestion #4: Get Moving

You don’t have to run a marathon in order to benefit from exercise. Even as little as 10 minutes a day can boost your mood and improve your cardiovascular health. When you’re at work, take a break every hour to walk up and down a flight of stairs or walk briskly around the block. Ideally, you should aim for 45 to 90 minutes of physical activity per day, but you don’t have to do it all at once – it can be easier to approach if you break it up into smaller blocks. Even if you don’t have time for a full-on workout, you can set aside five or ten minutes to stretch every morning and evening. Your body will thank you! If you’re not sure how to get started, search YouTube or Vimeo for instructional videos.

Self-Care Suggestion #5: Get Out and About

Exposure to sunlight can boost your mood along with your Vitamin D levels. Try to get at least 10 minutes per day. Be sure to wear sunscreen and cover up, though – too much sun is the opposite of self-care! If you live in a place where you don’t get much sun, consider buying a SAD light, which mimics the positive effects of sun exposure indoors.

Take it a step further by searching for ways to connect with the natural world while getting your daily sunshine quota. Do you walk or bike to work? Detour through a park on your way. Do you spend most of your time at home? Cultivate a garden or even just a potted plant – any flower shop will be happy to sell you something low-maintenance if you have no talent for greenery.

Self-Care Suggestion #6: Get That Check-Up

Due to their hectic and overextended work schedules, one of the ways in which activists and advocates inadvertently slip up on their personal healthcare is to not go for their annual medical check-up. If you have done this in the past, try this: call your nearest clinic or general practice at the beginning of the year to set up an appointment for your annual check-up in January or February so you can get this done before the year gets underway and you get too busy. Alternatively, if you know your doctor well, ask them to send you a text message or email reminding you of your annual check-up. If you are a woman, remember to also schedule and attend an appointment to check your breasts and have a pap smear – it’s better to catch any health issues early.

Self-Care Suggestion #7: Define and Defend Your Day Off

With the lives of women and girls literally at stake, anti-violence against women activism is basically a round-the-clock job and many activists typically work a 7-day week, whether it’s helping women escape their abuser while he’s away one weekend, building a case against a rapist or handling intensive time-sensitive online petitions. Working non-stop for weeks or even months on end can result in burnout, so set aside one day a week to rest and recharge. If your schedule is irregular or includes shift or cyclical campaign work, make sure that you take at least a couple of days off per month. Set the date(s) then defend them from colleagues who ask to swap slots or any work matters that intrude on your time off.

Self-Care Suggestion #8: Curate Your Consumption

Today’s fast-paced hyperconnected social media-driven world is a double-edged sword. On one hand, social media provides opportunities for activists and advocates to campaign, educate, fundraise, and connect to the wider world at a keystroke. On the other hand, social media can batter everyone with a deluge horrible news, especially when high-profile VAW stories such as the Weinstein and Cosby cases or VAW-related hashtags such as #metoo and #notokay go viral. While it’s imperative for activists and advocates to stay aware of developments in order to respond accordingly, make sure you carve out some news-free time to avoid the information overload and unwarranted emotional and psychological stress from a negative news cycle. Curate what you watch for entertainment too – for example: if you work for rape crisis services, try to avoid watching movies and series or reading books where rape is featured as it may compound the secondary PTSD you face from work.

Part 2: Beyond The Basics

Self-Care Suggestion #9: Meditate (or Get Spiritual)

Meditation requires no special skills, and you can do it anywhere: at home, at work, on the bus or train, in bed. New to meditation? Free or low-cost apps and websites like Headspace can guide you through the basics. If you don’t fancy meditating but are religious, try dedicating even a few minutes a day to quiet prayer to clear your mind and focus your faith, especially when times are tough on the work front – regardless of your religion you will benefit from having a moment each day to just breathe and connect with your spiritual side.

Self-Care Suggestion #10: Harness the Power of Music

Humans have used music as an emotional outlet or a way to regulate emotions for centuries. Make a playlist of music that soothes you, or look for mood-based playlists on services like Spotify or Pandora. And don’t be afraid to sing along if the urge hits you! If you do perform music, be it playing a musical instrument, singing, or even DJ-ing, be sure to work time into your weekly schedule to do so be it private violin practice time, singing with the local choir or DJ-ing at the local club.

Self-Care Suggestion #11: Get Artsy or Crafty

Creativity can be a satisfying outlet even if you aren’t particularly skilled. You don’t have to make a quilt or crochet a pair of socks – the main idea is to create something even if it’s small or flawed or simple. Ready to level up? Channel your emotions into your crafts by making a naughty cross-stitch or clever protest signs.

Not a fan of crafts? Then tap into your inner artist – write, sculpt, dance, paint. As with crafts, your art can act as an emotional safety valve that will help you express your stress, fear, sadness, and anger safely and effectively.

Self-Care Suggestion #12: Learn Something New

Take a few minutes each day to learn something new – your brain will be too busy processing the new information to dwell on things that are bothering you. Try an app like Duolingo, which will teach you a new language in a fun way, or take a free online course via Khan Academy.

Self-Care Suggestion #13: Animal Magnetism

Spend some time playing with a pet if you have one or watching cute animal videos if you don’t. Interacting with animals boosts the chemicals in your brain that trigger feelings of contentment. If you have some time to spare, see if your local animal shelter needs volunteers to take their dogs for walks! Bonus is that this ties in very neatly with Self-care Suggestion #4 and #5 to get enough exercise and to get fresh air and sunshine outdoors!

Self-Care Suggestion #14: Look Good, Feel good

Do something fun for your appearance – whatever form that takes for you! Treat yourself to a haircut. Paint your toenails a funky color. Pick up some cheap yet chic lip gloss from the drugstore. Wear a skirt that makes you feel awesome about yourself (or your favorite pair of Doc Martens, or your sharpest suit, or your geekiest T-shirt). This isn’t about dressing up for other people – it’s all about YOU. Treat yourself!

Self-Care Suggestion #15: An Indulgent Cuppa

Sit down and enjoy your favorite drink. Coffee, tea, wine (in moderation) – any beverage that calms you can be turned into a ritual of enjoyment and luxury. Close your eyes and luxuriate in the taste, smell, texture and temperature. Enjoy something warm when the weather is chilly; indulge in a cool drink when it’s hot outside. If you’re feeling sociable, share the experience with a friend or your partner. Stopping for a relaxing cup of coffee or tea at some point during the day is also a way to mark a few minutes of time out from a hectic day.

Self-Care Suggestion #16: Small Random Acts of Kindness

Brighten up someone else’s day! Buy coffee for the person behind you in the queue, write a thank-you note to someone who inspires you, offer to watch a neighbor’s kids for a few hours so they can take a break – the goal is to do something nice for another person… within reason. Don’t martyr yourself. Kindness can be self-care as long as you set reasonable limits on it.

Most of all – be kind to yourself… because that is what self-care is all about.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Notable Facebook Pages by Anti-Violence Against Women Organisations

Foto-Facebook

Since being founded in 2004, Facebook has become a social media powerhouse, with over 1.64 billion monthly active users as of March 2016, 84.2% of which are outside of North America. Facebook has grown from a basic social connection website to a life platform. It is used to find, connect, and catch up with friends, to read the news, to conduct business, to shop, and to learn.

Facebook is also used to find causes, organisations, and events that are important to us and to advocate for various issues. Now Facebook users can learn about and support global issues from their own homes. Violence against women (VAW) is one of the global human rights issues finding supporters on Facebook. Now a story about VAW can be read, watched, or heard via Facebook by millions of people around the globe. They can follow organisational news, participate in grassroots campaigns, and donate right from their mobile phone or computer.

This is our fifth annual list of recommended Facebook pages and we have selected them because they make an effort to temper humour with information, offer a significant way for their readers to help, and make those in the fight feel more powerful and part of something greater. They present a unique perspective on a global issue. So choose a couple to ‘like’, or better yet ‘like’ them all, get informed, and take action.

Written and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

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Recommended Facebook Page #1: All Women’s Action Society – Malaysia

all-womengcos-action-society

All Women’s Action Society Malaysia is part of a larger organisation that works towards securing women’s rights, building gender equality, supporting women in crisis, and empowering women. The AWAM Malaysia Facebook Page offers local and international news in a variety of media forms, including photos, graphics, text and podcasts.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #2: Chayn Pakistan – Pakistan

chayn-pakistanChayn Pakistan is an affiliate of Chayn.org, a global volunteer-led crowdsourced website that informs and supports women facing domestic violence. The organisation provides followers information on recognising abuse, understanding its impacts on one’s health, getting help and more. Through Chayn Pakistan, women can share their thoughts and feelings publicly or anonymously and receive well wishes from others.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #3: Daughters Rising – Thailand

daughtersrisingDaughter’s Rising’s mission is to empower at-risk girls through education to end trafficking and exploitation in their communities. As Daughter’s Rising focuses on sex trafficking and exploitation, their Facebook Page is a resource for similar activists, sharing unique, global news and personal stories. Fans are also introduced to the women and girls Daughter’s Rising empowers through their many programs.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #4: Dr. Denis Mukwege – Democratic Republic of Congo

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Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and medical director of the Panzi Foundation, is an advocate for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Mukwege believes in a holistic model of caring for survivors of sexual violence, including mental, emotional, social and physical care. He maintains a bi-lingual Facebook page where he shares updates on his programmes, speaking engagements and work in both French and English.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #5: Our Watch – Australia

our-watchOur Watch Australia works to end violence against women and their children. Beyond research, education, and producing a library of training resources, Our Watch Australia maintains a variety of programs, including The Line, a behaviour change campaign for young people aged 12-20, Sport Engagement Program and educating hospitals on responses to family violence.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #6: Sisters in Islam –  Malaysia

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Sisters in Islam promotes the rights of women within the framework of Islam and the principles of equality, justice and freedom. The organisation offers a library of legal and informative resources on various topics, including polygamy, child marriage, violence against women, Muslim Family Law and more. Sisters in Islam leaders Marina Mahathir and Zainah Anwar also have active columns in The Star, a leading national English-language daily, ensuring important issues remain at in the news.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #7: Singapore Committee for UN Women -Singapore

singapore-committee-for-un-women

The Singapore Committee for UN Women works toward gender equality in Singapore by supporting programs that provide women and girls access to education, healthcare, independence and a safety. The organisation’s Facebook page is a hub for the program updates and events that supporters can attend. Fans of the Singapore Committee for UN Women can share ideas and information in a safe and monitored environment.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #8: Sister-Hood – Worldwide

sister-hood

Founded by Fuse CEO Deeyah Khan, sister-hood is a digital magazine featuring the voices of women of Muslim heritage. The goal of sister-hood is to promote and unite the feminists from Muslim heritage, and connect a global community of women. The sister-hood contributors produce various pieces of digital content, including news, opinion pieces, interviews, reviews, video, poetry and photography.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #9: St. Mary’s Centre – United States

st-marys-centerSt. Mary’s Center for Women and Children provides programs for women and children who have experienced trauma and are living in poverty. These programs include education, shelter, technical skills development and more. Fans of the St. Mary’s Center Facebook Page will not only receive updates on programmes, but will also learn about the many events they can attend, such as Diamonds of Dorchester or Dancing for Hope.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #10: The Fawcett Society – United Kingdom

the-fawcett-societyThe Fawcett Society is a leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights in the UK. Fans of the Fawcett Society’s Facebook page will find local events they can attend and support, news, and updates on the organisation’s campaigns, including Equal Pay Day, Views not Shoes and Don’t Blame it on the Girls.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #11: The Garden of Hope Foundation – Asia

the-garden-of-hope-foundation

The Garden of Hope (GOH) runs women’s shelters, call centres, counselling programs and advocacy campaigns to relieve and rehabilitate abuse victims and promote gender equality. The GOH has recently expanded their programing to include services that will empower women and girls to become economically independent. Fans of the GOH Facebook Page will be introduced to various GOH programs and advocacy campaigns, and can follow the GOH’s speaking engagements and event participation.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #12: Unchained At Last – United States

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Unchained At Last helps women and girls leave and avoid arranged or forced marriages by providing free legal and social services, as well as emotional support. The organisation also provides education for domestic violence (DV) agencies, law enforcement, lawyers, and members of the judicial system. During Unchained At Last’s first five years, the organisation has helped more than 200 women and girls.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #13: WEvolve Global – Worldwide

wevolve

WEvolve Global empowers young men and women to challenge and break through social norms that lead to gender-based violence. The WEvolve Facebook Page shares a mixture of bite-sized facts and figures for advocates, videos and news stories about the issue of gender-based violence. Fans will also receive information on Blue Runway, WEvolve’s cornerstone programme, a place where actors, athletes, musicians and key cultural figures unite to celebrate the promise of change.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #14: Women LEAD – Nepal

women-lead

Women Lead provides support, skills and opportunities for young women in Nepal to become leaders in their communities, in the nation and around the world. Fans of the Women LEAD Facebook page are introduced to the young women and girls impacted by the organisation. They see their photos, learn about their history and learn how Women LEAD has impacted their lives.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #15: Women Peacemakers Programme – The Netherlands

womens-peacemaker-program

Women Peacemakers Program supports and empowers women peace activists, believing that peace can only be achieved when women are equal partners in the decision-making process. Based in the Netherlands, the Women Peacemakers Program’s Facebook Page shares news and updates the organisation, but from international women’s rights groups as well, making it a global resource.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #16: Women’s Legal Centre – South Africa

womengcos-legal-centre

Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) is an independent law centre established to advance women’s rights in South Africa. The WLC’s Facebook page shares legal news and updates on issues such as violence against women, women’s health, relationship rights, labour laws, property and housing, and sex worker rights. For more detailed information, fans may visit the WLC webpage and find a library of resources on the issues.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Notable Anti-VAW Activists and Organisations You Should Follow on Twitter

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Since it was launched almost a decade ago, Twitter has quickly become a reliable news source for many individuals. Twitter offers a real-time view and perspective of what is occurring both elsewhere and within our own communities, enabling us to become more aware of social issues such as violence against women (VAW). Information is very often a weapon of power, a tool to help us better our world through understanding. In this way, we are also creating an atmosphere of solidarity worldwide, which is something to take notice of.

For many, Twitter is the social media platform through which resources are found, knowledge obtained, and discussions begun. Furthermore, organisations have taken notice and also use this new form of media to gain better outreach worldwide. Online volunteer charities and groups, such as The Pixel Project itself, are becoming a major force in this modern age of activism.

Being able to research and connect through a hashtag – #vaw for example – in order to find news sources, helplines, or other activists is a simple yet incredibly useful way to become involved. With that in mind, The Pixel Project presents our 2016 Twitter selection. We narrowed down the many incredible organisations and individuals involved in the cause to end violence against women to the 16 listed below. These are groups and people who will keep you informed simply because they share the passion to create a better tomorrow for girls and women everywhere.

Written and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

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Twitter Follow Recommendation #1: End Online Misogyny (@misogyny_online) – Worldwide

end-online-misogynyEnd Online Misogyny exposes misogynistic abuse women often face for speaking out online. This Twitter account retweets examples of misogynistic abuse, reports abusers to Twitter or to the police, and accepts anonymous submissions from readers regarding their experiences with online abuse. They also share news and articles about digital safety and abuse. Followers of the End Online Misogyny Twitter account can support the cause by reporting abusers, or stand in solidarity with women who have faced abuse through their #ShoutBack campaign.

Twitter Follow Recommendation #2: End Rape on Campus (@endrapeoncampus) – United States

endrapeoncampus

Through direct support of survivors, education, and policy reform, End Rape on Campus (EROC) works to end campus sexual assault in the United States. The EROC Twitter account is a resource for those passionate about the cause, as they share news and current events and programme updates.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #3: Equal Community Foundation (@ECFIndia) – India

equal-community-foundationECF India provides men in India with the opportunity to practice gender equality and end VAW, and to become leaders in their communities. Focusing on 14-to 17-year-old boys in low-income areas, ECF India graduated over 1600 young men as of May 2015. The ECF India Twitter page keeps followers up-to-date on its successes by sharing photos and updates of member training and other programmes.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #4: Erin Gibson (@gibblertron) – United States

eringibsonErin Gibson is a comedian, feminist and a co-host of the podcast Throwing Shade. Every week, Erin researches and uses satire to comment on political issues, current events and pieces of popular culture impacting women in the United States and around the world including VAW. Erin is also a writer and producer, and tours regularly.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #5: FAIR Girls (@FAIR_Girls) – United States

fairgirlsFAIR Girls prevents the exploitation of girls around the world through empowerment, education, compassionate care and survivor inclusive advocacy. The FAIR Girls Twitter account shares stories from survivors, programme accomplishments, including rescuing and reuniting girls with their families, and global human trafficking and exploitation news..

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #6: Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) – India

feminisminindiaFeminism in India is a digital platform used to educate youth in India about feminism. The website includes breaking feminist news, books, campaigns, videos, survivor stories and more. The Feminism in India Twitter account not only shares updates from the website, but a collection of news and media promoting gender equality and expressing its necessity.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 7: FEMNET – (@FemnetProg) – Kenya

femnetFEMNET is a pan-African feminist organisation that has been committed to advancing women’s rights for over 28 years. Since its foundation in 1988, FEMNET has played a leading role in amplifying the voices of African women and ensuring they are heard when national, regional and global decisions are being made. The organisation also spearheads many Twitter campaigns to draw attention to women’s rights issues, including #BringBackOurGirls and #FollowTheProtocol.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #8: Free Women Writers – (@FreeWomenWriter)  – Afghanistan

freewomenwritersFounded by writer and human rights advocate Noorjahan Akbar, Free Women Writer is a blog that publishes women’s writing and focuses on gender equality in Afghanistan. With a firm belief that the protection of women’s rights is essential for progress, Free Women Writers hopes to challenge the misrepresentation of women by sharing authentic Afghan voices.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 9: Jane Doe Inc. – (@JaneDoe) – United States

janedoeincJane Doe Inc., a coalition of 60 groups in Massachusetts, USA working to promote the safety, liberty and dignity for victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, is a useful resource for women’s rights advocates. The Jane Doe Inc. Twitter account has become a thought leader in discussions about gender equality, sharing news and live-tweeting relevant events for those unable to attend.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #10: Maiti Nepal (@MaitiNepal) –  Nepal

maitinepalMaiti Nepal protects, rescues and rehabilitates survivors of trafficking. Maiti Nepal also offers awareness and advocacy, transit homes, legal resources, training and job placements and more. The Maiti Nepal Twitter page shares photos of programme accomplishments and successes, advocacy updates, and educational resources.

 

Twitter Follower Recommendation #11: The GBV Prevention Network (@GBVnet) – Africa

the-gbv-prevention-networkThe GBV Prevention Network is committed to ending gender based violence in the Horn, East and Southern Africa, focusing on understanding violence against women, building connections and taking actions. The organisation, with over 500 members, maintains extensive resources on addressing VAW, provides tools to analyse and understand oppression, and hosts Thematic Action Groups for members to take specific action around a particular issue related to violence against women.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #12: The International Women’s Health Coalition (@IntlWomen) –  International

the-internationalwomenshealthcoalition

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWCH) works to advance the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls around the world, including Africa, Asian, Latin America and the Middle East. The IWCH’s Twitter account shares updates about reproductive rights and health from different organisations around the world, including photos, videos and news stories.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 13: The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (@NAWOorg) – United Kingdom

the-national-alliance-of-womens-organizationsThe National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) works nationally and internationally to promote women’s rights and equality within society. The NAWO Twitter page is a hub for women’s rights activists passionate about a variety of issues facing women around the world, including the gender pay gap, access to clean water, education, VAW and more.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #14: The Panzi Hospital and Foundation (@PanziUSA) – Democratic Republic of Congo

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The Panzi Hospital, founded by 2014 Sakharov Prize Winner and gynaecological surgeon Denis Mukwege has a renowned reputation for its service to survivors of sexual violence and complex gynaecological injuries. The Hospital provides a holistic model of care, including physical and emotional support and community reintegration.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #15: WESNET Australia (@WESNETAustralia) –  Australia

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The Women’s Services Network (WESNET) is Australia’s national advocacy body working against domestic and family violence. WESNET offers educational resources, e-safety workshops and news about domestic violence in Australia. The WESNET Twitter account acts as a hub for international feminists looking for news and updates on politics issues.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #16: YWCA Game Changers (@YWCAGameChanger) – United States

ywcagamechangers

GameChangers teaches middle school boys about preventing violence against women and girls through a mentoring and workshop structure. In this programme, young boys work with adult male volunteers to understand gender equality, masculinity and preventing VAW. The YWCA GameChangers Twitter account shares news, updates and statistics through various forms of multimedia and is a resource for similar organisations.

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:

ruhi

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 films about Violence Against Women

Film-Reel-225x300 (1)This is the fifth year that The Pixel Project has published a list of powerful and thought-provoking films, documentaries and television shows that depict violence against women and girls. Some of these films were made for the sole purpose of information and education while others have entertainment as their primary goal while addressing important themes such as violence, rape culture, the conflict between tradition and societal evolution, and gender equity.

While pop culture has been slowly moving away from sexist and overly sexualised portrayals of women following a trend of more awareness of feminism, there are still those who are pushing back against the change, showing that there is still a long way to go before proper gender equality is achieved.

In this case, film can be an effective medium for disseminating the message that equality is beneficial to all, whether it be the individual, society or economy. The 16 films in this list tell harrowing stories of violence but are also portraits of survivors, supporters and fighters. We hope that they inspire you to join us in our quest to end violence against women and to be a catalyst for change in your own community.

Written and compiled by Anushia Kandasivam

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Selection number 1: A Crime Unpunished: Bangladeshi Gang Rape

In this short documentary, VICE News explores how a deeply ingrained patriarchal culture, traditional practices and religious beliefs come together to create a tacit acceptance by individuals, communities, local leaders and the police of violence against women and girls. In the film, VICE News correspondent Tania Rashid interviews survivors, the police, activists, and even rapists to bring understanding to the phenomenon of pervasive physical and sexual violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. 

Selection number 2: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

This film directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy documents the story of 18-year-old Pakistani Saba who refused to marry the man picked out for her by her parents. She married for love instead and survived a subsequent attempted honour killing by her father and uncle. Unusual in that it depicts the issue of honour killing from the perspective of a survivor, this documentary is a scathing and eye-opening examination of the traditions that influence the law when it comes to issues of gender-based violence, as well as a look at how societal pressure influences women to ‘forgive’ their assailants.

Selection number 3: Be Relentless

This bilingual (English and Spanish) documentary follows single mother of two and ultramarathoner Norma Bastidas as she sets the record for the longest triathlon ever, swimming, running and biking 6,054km from Cancun, Mexico to Washington DC, USA.  In this triathlon, Bastidas followed a known route of human traffickers to raise awareness about human trafficking, aid child protection projects and raise funds for scholarships for survivors in the USA and Mexico. Be Relentless is also the story of a survivor – as a 19-year-old, Bastidas was deceived into travelling to Japan for a modelling job that did not exist and ended up being sold at an auction. Years after escaping and now with a family of her own, Bastidas decided to use her athleticism for a cause close to her heart.

Be Relentless Trailer from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

Selection number 4: Gulabi Gang

This film follows Sampat Pal Devi, an extraordinary woman who leads the group of Indian women activists called the Gulabi Gang in her native state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The women wear pink saris (gulabi means pink in Hindi); the group was formed as a response to widespread domestic and other forms of violence against women. Sampat herself was married as a young girl and abused by her in-laws. After escaping her situation, she became an advocate for and supporter of women in the same situation, especially lower caste women who do not have a voice in society. Gulabi Gang highlights Sampat’s passion and strength as a leader, showing her unique way of resolving disputes and how she and her team work to empower women to fight against gender violence, caste oppression and corruption. The film sheds light on the plight of rural women who have little or no social power in a society where violence against women is pervasive.

Selection number 5: He Named Me Malala (2015)

This film about Malala Yousafzai, now 19, the young Pakistani peace activist and 2014 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, reveals the events leading up to her being shot by the Taliban. It depicts her recovery and continuing journey to speak out and work against opposition to the education of girls, especially opposition through violence. While it highlights the reasons behind Malala’s unwavering fight for gender equality, the film is also a portrait of a teenager who is both inspired and inspiring. The film shows her father playing an important role as supporter and a strong male advocate for her cause – he named her after a folk hero – but it also makes clear that Malala’s choices are her own.

Selection number 6: I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced (2014)

This Yemeni drama (Ana Noojoom Bent Alasherah Wamotalagah) tells the story of 10-year-old Nojoom whose father marries her to a 30-year-old man and who asks a judge in Sana’a to grant her a divorce. Based on the autobiography of Nujood Ali, now 18, who was forced into marriage with a much older man when she was nine years old and directed by Yemen’s first female producer Khadija al-Salami (herself a survivor of forced child marriage), this film depicts the struggles of the young protagonist to obtain a divorce in the absence of laws against child marriage. I am Nojoom has received positive reviews from international press and is one of the entries for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Selection number 7: Jessica Jones

One of several current television series that is based on comics, Jessica Jones stands out for having a female superhero (the eponymous Jones) and for effectively portraying trauma and its psychological effects. The series addresses issues of rape, abuse, coercion, consent and post traumatic stress disorder with realism, with the stories’ noir quality letting the viewer get a visceral feel of the damage that assault can do. The writers have consciously avoided fetishising rape, and the viewer does not see it on screen. While the series does see Jones trying to use her abilities to help others, it also sees her struggle to deal with the aftermath of a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship, a journey that any victim of abuse can identify with.

Selection number 8: Mad Max: Fury Road

This blockbuster has a lot of things going for it, not least the heart pounding action that is phenomenally choreographed and executed. The focal point of this film is its female protagonist who never wavers from her cause and is strong enough to both take care of business by herself and ask for help. With its rallying cry of “We are not things!”, the film sends a clear message that women are not and should not be treated as property. The basic plot of the film revolves around five women escaping sexual slavery aided by another woman, Furiosa. This film has generated a slew of articles and Internet discussions on feminism, rape culture in film – it is interesting to note that though rape is a strong underlying theme in this film, it is never shown – and gender equity in pop culture.

Selection number 9: The Uncondemned

“In every single conflict, if you start asking questions, you will find that sexual violence is used. Why? Because it is an extremely effective tool of conflict.” Though rape was classified as a war crime in 1919, it was only in 1997 when it was first prosecuted by two tribunals attempting to offer justice for war crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This documentary recounts the trial of a former Rwandan politician for his knowledge of the rapes and involvement in other war crimes through the stories of the Rwandan women who came forward to testify and the group of young lawyers and activists who fought to have the systematic and targeted rape perpetrated during the war prosecuted as a war crime by the tribunals.

Selection number 10: Murdered by My Boyfriend

This BBC3 film centres on a little-covered topic – teenage intimate violence. Closely based on real events, it follows bright 17-year-old student Ashley who meets and falls in love with charming and seductive Reece, a young man a little older than her. Ashley’s idealistic dreams of love, marriage, motherhood and her career are slowly torn down by Reece’s increasingly controlling and abusive behaviour, paranoia and violence. The title tells the viewer how it ends, but the BAFTA-winning film still conveys a sense of building tension and tragedy as it portrays the gradations of abuse, such as teasing becoming bullying and love becoming control and how difficult it is for outsiders to understand what goes on in such a relationship.

Selection number 11: Murdered by My Father

The online-only follow-up to 2014 film Murdered by my Boyfriend, this BBC3 docudrama follows the story of 16-year-old British girl Salma who is torn between her father’s conservative values – he wants her to marry the man chosen for her so that he can ‘die happy’ – and her Western life, which includes a secret relationship.  Based on true events, the film examines forced marriage and honour killings among Asian communities in Britain – issues that many are unaware exist in this developed nation. Its portrayal of traditional values in conflict with ‘modern’ living will hit a cord with many viewers.

Selection number 12: North Country

Inspired by real-life events that led to a class action sexual harassment law suit in the United States, this film chronicles the life of Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) as she returns to her hometown after escaping an abusive husband and starts work at the local mine in the late 1980s. The female employees at the mine endure a constant stream of sexual harassment, intimidation, abusive language and other forms of assault from the male employees while their employer turns a blind eye. Aimes files a lawsuit against the company and eventually persuades her co-workers to join in a class-action suit. This film accurately portrays the ingrained gender bias and misogyny that dogged (and still dogs) the industrial employment sector, and how aversion to change and a pack mentality can lead to violence against the minority party. It also shows how standing up to what is right – in this case, a gender-equal and safe workplace – is fraught with difficulty.

Selection number 13: Palwasha – Rays of the Rising Sun

The first commercial television serial in Afghanistan, Palwasha – Rays of the Rising Sun is a soap opera style series that follows the life of a young woman called Palwasha, a rare female judge in her traditional and religious Afghan community. Created by Indian filmmakers, this Afghan serial uses the dramatic style of Indian soap operas that is incredibly popular in Afghanistan to bring social propaganda into Afghan homes, showing women in powerful leadership positions, addressing issues of domestic violence, and attempting to educate the public that they should trust the official legal system and not resort to serving justice themselves.

Selection number 14: Private Violence

This feature-length documentary seeks to bring awareness to the plague of domestic violence that women in the USA face every day. Told through the eyes of two survivors, one of whom is now an advocate for abused women, this film is takes a look at the intimate partner violence as an entrenched problem in a society that does not truly understand it and is meant to serve as a call for better and more urgent responses to it. The film basically uses the experiences of the two survivors as case studies to explore flaws in police and judicial responses, the obstacles women face when wanting to leave an abuser and misconceptions of domestic abuse.

Selection number 15: Room

This Oscar-nominated film tells the story of a young woman held captive in a small room for seven years and her five-year-old son, how they cope with their captivity, finally gain freedom and learn to live in the outside world. Though the woman, known only as Ma throughout most of the film, was abducted as a teenager and is systematically raped, the film does not show any of this. Told mostly from the perspective of the boy Jack, the film instead focuses on how he and his mother slowly learn to live in the outside world again and deal with their trauma, how other people react to them, and the complex feelings of happiness and grief that they and their family go through.

Selection number 16: What’s the Point?

Part of the At Stake documentary series by Project Change!, What’s the Point takes a close look at the practice of female circumcision in Indonesia. Although different from the practices in African countries – it does not remove the whole clitoris and labia – it is still an invasive and painful procedure that poses serious risks to the girls’ health. It is a widely accepted practice in Indonesia and believed to ‘clean’ the girl and keep evil spirits away from her. The film showcases the beliefs behind the often chaotic rituals of circumcision and the beliefs that inform and propagate this practice.

Watch the full documentary here.