Transforming Personal Pain Into Positive Action: The Pixel Project’s 16 Female Role Models 2016

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Today is the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2016 campaign and The Pixel Project is kicking things off with our 6th annual list of 16 female role models fighting to end violence against women in their communities. The intent of this list is simple: to highlight the good work of the heroines of the movement to end violence against women wherever they are in the world. The women and girls in this year’s list hail from 16 countries and 6 continents.

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

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

Here in alphabetical order by first name is our 2016 list of 16 female role models. We hope that these women are an inspiration to others to get involved in the cause. To that end, we hope you will generously share this list via Facebook and Twitter to give these extraordinary 16 women and their work a moment in the sun.

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

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

Written and compiled by Regina Yau

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Female Role Model 1: Balkissa Chaibou – Niger

balkissa-chaibou_croppedBalkissa Chaibou wanted to become a doctor, but when she was 12 she found out that she had been promised as a bride to her cousin. She fought to get out of the pending marriage by taking her family to court and seeking refuge at a women’s shelter until the bridegroom’s party left. Balkissa is now 19 and she campaigns for other girls to say “no” to forced marriage. She visits schools, speaks to tribal chiefs about the issue, and has also spoken at a UN summit on reducing maternal mortality, which is a health issue linked to early marriage.

Female Role Model 2: Bogaletch Gebre – Ethiopia

bogaletch-gebre_croppedBogaletch Gebre is a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) who was born in Kembatta, a region in Ethiopia where FGM was endemic and women were largely uneducated. She learned to read by visiting the church school under the pretext of collecting water and eventually received a scholarship to study in the U.S and Israel. She returned to Ethiopia to help better the lives of women and girls and has spent 16 years campaigning for women’s rights in Ethiopia. Through her relentless activism, Gebre has successfully reduced the rate of FGM in some parts of the country from 97% to just 3%.

Female Role Model 3: Clementine Ford – Australia

clementine-ford_croppedMelbourne-based Clementine Ford is an Australian feminist and author who has has written and spoken up fiercely and consistently about male violence against women, first in Adelaide’s Sunday Mail and opinion pieces in the Drum, then in the Fairfax website Daily Life. Her book Fight Like A Girl is part memoir and part polemic – detailing her development as a feminist and addressing the issue of violence against women head on. Ford is seen as a feminist who led “feminism back into the boxing ring” as she fights back against silencing and harassment online by naming and shaming men who verbally attack or threaten her, often replying to them publicly.

Female Role Model 4: Fatou Bensouda – Gambia

fatou-bensouda_croppedAs a high school student, Fatou Bensouda would sneak into nearby courts to watch the proceedings and she noticed that women in particular were not “receiving the protective embrace of the law. For me that is one of the things that informed my decision to say, ‘This is what I want to do.’” Today, Bensouda is the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC) in the Hague where she works to mete out justice to war criminals and genocidal despots. Her own position as a woman from West Africa has also informed the character of Bensouda’s ICC – she has made it an explicit goal of the court to challenge the rape and exploitation of women and children in war.

Female Role Model 5:  Frida Farrell – Sweden

frida-farrell_croppedWhen she was in her early twenties, Swedish actress Frida Farrell was tricked into attending a fake photoshoot, kidnapped, drugged and sexually trafficked to men in an apartment on London’s upmarket Harley Street. Over a decade after she escaped her abusers, Farrell co-wrote the film Selling Isobel which was based on her harrowing experiences in the hope that her story will stop other women getting into the same situation. She said: “I wanted people watching to know that it could happen to any girl,” Frida explains. “You don’t have to be foreign, poor or not speak the language. People think these kinds of things just happen to poor immigrants, but it could happen to English girls too.”

Female Role Model 6: Jacqueline de Chollet – Switzerland

jacqueline-de-chollet_croppedOver the past 30 years Jacqueline de Chollet has been active in the fields of Women’s Health, Social Justice, Education, Public Housing, and the Arts. She created the The Global Foundation for Humanity U.S. and the Association du Project Veerni to support the Veerni Project – a project that tackles the issue of child marriage in Rajasthan, India by improving the health and education girls and women in the region. de Chollet said: “We believe that by giving these girls access to education, health and the workplace, Veerni can empower them to take their rightful place in the lives of their communities and their country. Only then will they be able to exercise their human rights and live free from coercion disease and poverty.”

Female Role Model 7: Laura Dunn – United States of America

Laura Dunn is the Founder and Executive Director of SurvJustice, a national nonprofit providing legal assistance to sexual violence survivors across the U.S. She founded SurvJustice after being raped by two men from her crew team at the University of Wisconsin in April 2004. She said: “Afterwards, I struggled for years through campus, criminal and civil systems without receiving justice. Through this tragic experience, I learned about the laws and how to advocate for survivors.” In 2014, Dunn graduated the University of Maryland Carey School of Law where she received the William P. Cunningham Award for her national campus sexual assault advocacy, which includes passing the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization and advising the White House Task Force to Protect Students Against Sexual Assault.

Female Role Model 8: Loubna Abida – Morocco

Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar was vilified and assaulted for playing a local prostitute in the award-winning film Much Loved, ultimately sending her into exile as a refugee in France. However, she refuses to be silenced by fatwas, online death threats and violence. In her autobiography La Dangereuse, Abidar frankly discusses how she went from overcoming poverty, exclusion and physical and sexual attacks by her father to becoming one of North Africa’s the most acclaimed young actresses and feminist voices in recent years. In an interview with Women Of The World, Abidar said: “In the Arab world generally we have this problem of rapes committed by people known to the victims — by relatives, fathers, uncles. I don’t only talk about my own story, I have done a lot of work with activist associations, especially with little girls living in the mountains.”

Female Role Model 9: Nadia Murad Basee Tahar – Iraq

On August 3, 2014, when ISIS militants attacked Nadia Murad Basee Tahar’s village of Kocho, Iraq. Six of her nine brothers were killed. Murad (then 19 years old) and her two sisters were forced into sexual slavery while their mother was executed as she was considered too old to be a sex slave. Murad was raped, tortured, and beaten frequently until she escaped and made her way to Germany where she began devoting her life to assisting other Yazidi women and girls who have suffered as she did. Murad is now a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In September 2016, Murad announced Nadia’s Initiative which is dedicated to helping women and children victimised by genocide and crimes against humanity.

Female Role Model 10: Omaima Hoshan – Syria

omaima-hoshan_cropped15-year-old Omaima Hoshan, a Syrian refugee, runs workshops to discourage child marriage in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. “When I see young girls getting married, it scares me,” Hoshan says in a video from the United Nations refugee agency. “Girls from my home have their future lost or destroyed. This is something I can’t accept.” Hoshan leads girls in drawing, acting and lecture sessions, spreading information about underage marriage and encouraging girls to stay in school and to speak to their parents about the issue, according to Mashable.

Female Role Model 11: Rachana Sunar – Nepal

rachana-sunar_croppedWhen Rachana Sunar was 15 and still in school through a scholarship programme, she was informed by her parents she would marry a man she had never met before. Sunar escaped child marriage by misleading her parents into thinking that if she dropped out of school they’d have to pay for the past three years of her scholarship. Today, Sunar is a very vocal campaigner against child marriage in Nepal and says that dialogue is the only way to change entrenched attitudes to girls in rural Nepal.

Female Role Model 12: Radha Rani Sakher – Bangladesh

radha-rani-sarkher_croppedWhen Radha Sani Sakher was 14, she narrowly escaped an arranged marriage with the help of an educated cousin and her mother. Sakher returned to school with the help of her teachers and an aid group. Today she studies social sciences at Dinajpur’s regional university and is part of the “wedding busters” who campaign to stop child marriage. To date, she has saved 20 girls from forced marriages. Sakher’s goal is to build a centre for girls to find refuge from underage marriages until they are legally adults because “The situation has improved a little in recent years, but underage marriage still enjoys impunity.”

Female Role Model 13: Sarian Karim Kamara – Sierra Leone

sarian-karim-kamara_croppedSarian Karim Kamara underwent the brutal ritual of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) twice when she was just 11 years old. It took Kamara four years after becoming sexually active to get to know her body and experience her first orgasm. Today, she teaches other FGM survivors how to work with their bodies to experience sexual gratification and have a healthy sex life. Kamara said that an openness to explore one’s body in the wake of devastating physical trauma and a supportive sex partner are essential for FGM survivors to achieve sexual pleasure. “Even though the clitoris has been removed, that doesn’t stop us from having full capacity of pleasure during sex.”

Female Role Model 14: Tabassum Adnan – Pakistan

tabassum-adnan_croppedPakistani activist Tabassum Adnan was married off when she was just 13-years-old. After suffering 20 years of physical and mental abuse, Adnan divorced her husband, which resulted in the loss of her children, home, and finances. To help stop gender-based violence that commonly affect Pakistani women including forced marriage, child marriage, honour killings, acid attacks and domestic violence, she started the NGO Khwendo Jirga, a first of its kind women-only jirga, where women meet weekly to discuss violence against women and swara, or giving women as compensation for crimes.

Female Role Model 15: Vidya Bal – India

vidya-bal_croppedVeteran Indian feminist activist Vidya Bal has spent her life fighting against violence against women and other forms of gender discrimination. In 1982, she founded the Nari Samata Manch (Women Equality Forum) and has gone on to create, support, and counsel women’s groups. Bal said of her organisation’s work: “We want to create awareness that it is about being a good human being—and not about being a “feminine woman” or a “manly man.” Only then, we can aspire for an equitable society. This is a small experiment. I am hoping to make a small difference. Often I meet young boys telling me that after listening to my lectures their perspective of girls changed! Maybe that’s just a temporary thing—but still a good thing.”

Female Role Model 16: Zahra Yaganah – Afghanistan

zahra-yaganah_croppedZahra Yaganah grew up as an Afghan refugee in Iran and, at 13, was married off to a violent man. Today, her book Light Of Ashes – part fiction, part memoir – which chronicles her traumatic life as a child bride is one of the fastest-selling books in Afghanistan. Using her writing to speak out, Yaganah breaks taboos by explicitly writing about taboo topics including marital rape, menstruation and the lifelong damage caused by child marriages. Yaganah hopes that her book will help Afghan women break free of the violence. “It is impossible for Afghan women to read this book and not find an issue that reflects their life story,” she said. “Women can find their path, despite all the problems they have.”

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Photo Credits:

  1. Balkissa Chaibou – From “The girl who said ‘no’ to marriage” (BBC News Online)
  2. Bogaletch Gebre – From “How Bogaletch Gebre is Bringing an End to Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia” (KMG via ibtimes.co.uk)
  3. Clementine Ford – From “This is why we have women-only spaces, and why I don’t want to hear your complaints” (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  4. Fatou Bensouda – From “Fatou Bensouda, the woman who hunts tyrants” (Judith Jockel/The Guardian)
  5. Frida Farrell – From “The Sex Trafficking Victim Who Turned Her Nightmare Into A Feature Film (Huckmagazine.com)
  6. Jacqueline de Chollet – Courtesy of Jacqueline de Chollet
  7. Laura Dunn – Courtesy of Laura Dunn
  8. Loubna Abida – From “Actress Loubna Abidar refuses to be silenced by fatwas, death threats or violence” (Pierre Terdjman/New York Times)
  9. Nadia Murad Basee Tahah – From “A Yezidi Woman Who Escaped ISIS Slavery Tells Her Story” (Kirsten Luce/Time)
  10. Omaima Hoshan – From “This 15-Year-Old Syrian Girl Is Campaigning Against Child Marriage in Her Refugee Camp” (Makers.com)
  11. Rachana Sunar – From  “Child marriage in Nepal: ‘A girl is a girl, not a wife’ (Rachana Sunar/The Guardian)
  12. Radha Rani Sakher – From “Bangladesh’s ‘Wedding buster’ takes on illegal child marriage” (Bas Bogaerts/Plan International)
  13. Sarian Karim Kamara – From “Decades after undergoing genital cutting, woman teaches other FGM survivors how to enjoy sex” (Women Of The World/New York Times)
  14. Tabassum Adnan – From “Pakistani activist wins Nelson Mandela award 2016” (Tabassum Adnan/The Express Tribune)
  15. Vidya Bal – From “Meet the Feminist Fighting India’s Entrenched Misogyny” (Frances Smith/Vice)
  16. Zahra Yaganah – From “The former child bride who is using her story to liberate Afghan women” (Andrew Quilty/The Guardian)

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up to Street Harassment 2015

holly1-200x300The Pixel Project is pleased to share the fifth 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.


Empowering Response #1: #WhatMySHSaid – Instagram

Chloe Parker has been harassed since she was 12 years old. Now 17, she started an Instagram hashtag #WhatMySHSaid where people write their age and location and what their street harasser said to them. Many posts are liked thousands of times. Chloe wrote, “The average age is twelve [for the story submissions] and the average reaction is disbelief, but with the topic comes horrible responses as well. I have heard people defending these pedophiles who creep on these girls, or say that street harassment is because of what the girl was wearing. We live in a culture of blaming the victims, and by saying a twelve-year-old is asking to be followed as she walks home from school is a testament to this. We as a society can and should change this culture that we promote and live in. It should not be up to the victims to change their lives and patterns to make harassers comfortable. This is not a problem that should be ignored.”

Empowering Response #2: Parking Attendant Woes – Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Every day for two weeks as a woman left a parking garage in Charlotte, North Carolina, the parking attendant would stare at her and say he wanted to see her smile and other similar remarks. She felt uneasy, and, as he continued day after day, she felt anxious and stressed. One day she pa0nicked and drove away while he was still talking. She resolved to talk to him and the next day. She asked him to stop telling her to smile as it made her feel uncomfortable. He said okay. She wrote, “I hope he’ll think before he makes these unwanted comments to anyone else. I didn’t complain to the company since he made an indication of respecting my wishes. I don’t plan to park there any more since I don’t want to see him again, but being able to say something took such a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t even realise how much this was affecting me until after I said something.”

Empowering Response #3: Standing Up Against Harassers – Kabul, Afghanistan

After witnessing a friend drop out of school because of harassment, Shafi in Kabul, Afghanistan, began standing up to harassers. She wrote, “Whenever I see people harassing girls or women in streets and university, I go to them and talk reasonably with them to stop them and explain to them that their act is wrong. I ask what if it happens to their sister or mother, what then? Now it is the time for everyone to start vanishing this bad and shameful culture. Yes, if we want to change then we can. We can start it right now!”

Empowering Response #4: Ladders Are Useful Items

ladder

Empowering Response #5: Caught on CCTV

After a drunk man grabbed a woman on a subway and kissed her, she reported him to the transit police. They found him on the train’s CCTV and circulated his image to local police stations. She wrote, “If you experience street harassment, report it to the police. It will make you feel proactive and powerful – and they might even catch the perpetrator.”

Empowering Response #6: No Free Pass for the Police – San Jose, CA, USA

A woman in San Jose, California, noticed a police sergeant (not in uniform) exposing himself and masturbating in a car. She turned away but he drove his car and parked so she had to see him again. She took photos of him and his license plate and he fled. She filed a police report and the investigators discovered he was a 13-year veteran of the police department. He was arrested and placed on administrative leave.

Empowering Response #7: Taking Harassment Seriously – Liverpool, United Kingdom

Two men in a car in Liverpool, UK, harassed a Russian woman. She felt too scared to say anything, but she ran back, called the police, reported what happened and gave their license plate number. She wrote, “The inspector rang me back to make sure I know they take it seriously. Then after an hour a female officer came to see me. It turned out it was a crime as section 5 public order offence, besides it was gender-based. The officer visited his house, etc. He now has a criminal record. Ladies, you don’t have to take this shit!”

Empowering Response #8: Facing Down Harassers… and Winning! – Tennesee, USA

When Bryanna was in college in Tennessee, a group of men would hang out by the door and harass her daily with sexual slurs. She felt humiliated and would try to run past them before they could say anything. But one day she decided to confront them. She wrote, “They whistled and said, ‘Damn!’ really loudly. So I turned around, marched right up to them (at least eight of them) and shouted, ‘What do you expect to happen from this? Do you really think a girl will turn around and say ‘Oh wow that’s such a compliment, being told my ass is fine by these complete strangers. Do you want to hook up?’ Has it worked for you yet?’ By the look on their stunned faces, I answered for them, ‘No, I didn’t think so. Get a life!’ and stormed off. The rush I felt was incomparable to anything else. I felt strong – like I could take care of myself.”

Empowering Response #9: Singing Against Harassment

Singer Empress Of wrote a song about street harassment called “Kitty Kat.” She said in an interview, “I remember a stranger saying something nasty to me on the street while walking home. I was so mad, but I couldn’t say anything back at that moment. What would be the point? When I got back I started to work on this aggressive sound on a track. As soon as I turned the mic on to record, I started to sing what I wanted to say to that guy on the street, but now I get to sing it every night in front of a crowd.”

Empowering Response #10: “That’s NOT a compliment!” – San Diego, CA, USA

A woman was walking her dog through downtown San Diego, California, when a man told her, “You have no idea how badly I want to play with your boobs.” She told him that his comment was inappropriate and he apologised. But then he told her she should “take it as a compliment.” She had already passed him, but turned around to yell back, “That’s NOT a compliment!” She wrote, “Let the harasser know what he is doing is wrong and unwelcome and that it’s not a compliment in order to help convert him to viewing it as a bad thing.”

Poppy SmartEmpowering Response #11: Sparking a National Debate – United Kingdom

After weeks of trying various tactics for dealing with street harassers along her route to work in the UK (the harassment included men purposely blocking her path), Poppy Smart took the matter to the police. She said in an interview, “It made me feel really uncomfortable and the fact it went on for so long was the main reason I reported it. If it had just been an isolated incident – one, two, three, four times – maybe I could probably brush it off because these things happen and you have to kind of accept these people’s ignorance.” Poppy says she spoke to the owner of the building site. “He just sort of apologised. He obviously can’t control all of his staff all of the time and I appreciated that. I just wanted them to realise it is offensive and I wanted it to stop.” Her story sparked a national debate about the issue.

Empowering Response #12: Sanctuary from Harassment – New York City, USA

A man on the train in New York City rubbed his penis against a woman’s butt. She elbowed him but he kept doing it. Because of the crowd, she couldn’t easily get away. A woman nearby noticed what was happening and gave up her seat for her saying, “Come sit down, that man is trying to rub himself on you!”

Empowering Response #13: Not Remaining Silent – London, United Kingdom

Y.E. in London, UK, was the target of public masturbation on the Tube. No one else was on and when she moved away, he followed her, only zipping up his pants after a man entered the carriage. When YE got off the train, he followed and she ran to report him to a transit worker. The police took her report. She also decided to write about what happened. “I hesitated several times whilst starting to write this and contemplated just keeping it to myself, considering the crude nature of this incident. However, it has come to my attention that this is no longer becoming a ‘once in a blue moon issue’ and it could have easily been burdened on a child, family member, or another member of the public. Looking back at the past struggles in history, since when has any change occurred from remaining silent?”

smallstepsEmpowering Response #14: Anti-Street Harassment Workshops – Romania

Aila in Romania used to face harassment from high school students as she walked from her hostel to the university. Now she and a group of other women at the NGO FILIA are in the process of working with that high school to bring street harassment awareness workshops to the students. She wrote, “Change can be done. I am not a victim anymore, I am a person who can bring change and can help the other girls who are still living in that hostel.”

Empowering Response #15: Open Letter Tactic – Washington D.C., USA

 Sara in Washington, DC wrote an open letter to the man who harassed her. In it, she thanked a woman who spoke up. “To the woman on the sidewalk who said, ‘That’s so rude’ and shook her head when he drove off, thank you. Your three simple words in solidarity were my saving grace and snap back to reality, that no one, not even myself, has the right to disrespect my body. So, dear man in the blue minivan, I will use my body in the best way I know how — to share this story and inspire others to feel a little braver when they step into a crosswalk. To be what the woman on the sidewalk was to me: solidarity.”

Empowering Response #16: Reporting an Unwanted Grope – San Francisco, CA, USA

After a man groped AB at a shopping mall in San Francisco, California, she dropped her bag and ran after him. She lost him, but filed a police report. She wrote, “I’ve been harassed many times, but I’d never run after someone. Something snapped in me. And something broke when no one would help. I was proud that enough was finally enough, and I did something, even though he got away with it. At the very least, it’s caused me to talk about it and snap back when I get hollered at on the street.”

The Pixel Project Selection 2015: 16 Striking Anti-Violence Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

Every year, we at The Pixel Project come across a wide variety of innovative and powerful anti-Violence Against Women campaigns by our fellow activists and non-profits from around the globe, and 2015 is no exception. Notably, many campaigns took place this year in the United Kingdom, which signifies that great efforts are being made to eradicate Violence Against Women in that region. Still, much is to be done in the UK and worldwide.

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

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

What these campaigns have in common are:

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

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

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

– Written and compiled by Samantha Carroll

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 


Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #1: 90days – South Africa

South African performer, ambassador and Board Member of Epic Foundation, Natalie Chapman, started 90days last year as a way to raise funds for survivors of violent and sexual crimes. The 90days campaign’s mission is an ambitious one: 90 performances in 90 consecutive days in 90 different towns. This year, Chapman was able to secure big name South African performers to join her on her 90days initiative, which had them playing at women’s shelters as well as prisons. Chapman believes that it’s important to engage in discourse with perpetrators who are often victims of abuse too.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #2: Campaign4Consent – UK

Campaign4Consent is a campaign that aims to see sexual consent taught in schools as part of the UK’s SRE (sex and relationships education) national curriculum.  Campaign4Consent believes that consent is a crucial aspect lacking in SRE as well as information regarding abusive relationships and healthy sexual relationship advice for LGBT teens. The campaign has a letter the public can sign asking UK MP’s to incorporate consent into the national curriculum.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #3: Denim Day – Italy/USA/Canada

The Denim Day campaign is an annual event that takes place on 29th April and urges participants to wear a pair of jeans to bring awareness to rape prevention. The campaign started in Italy in 1998 when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction in which a teenage victim’s jeans were “too tight”. Following the decision, female members of the Italian parliament wore jeans in protest. The movement has since grown and spread to the USA and Canada. This year performers and the campaign’s spokes-couple, Aloe Blacc & Maya Jupiter, attended the Los Angeles rally for Denim Day. The Denim Day campaign also urges men to wear jeans in support of the cause.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #4: Disney Princesses as Acid Attack Victims – Central/South Asia

This year, rock star artist Alexsandro Palombo, created a new visual campaign highlighting the acid attacks that affect women all over Central and South Asia. Palombo took well-known Disney Princesses and illustrated how they looked before and after they had been attacked with acid. These acid attacks not only scar victims, but can leave them blind, deaf and mute. Palombo’s aim was to draw attention to this issue in the most surprising way he could.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #5: Frame Her Right – India

The Frame Her Right campaign is an initiative of Half The Sky Movement, which aims to root out violence against women in cinema and entertainment. The campaign seeks “more gender-sensitized cinema that places women in positive — rather than exploited and exploitable roles.” Frame Her Right acknowledges that violence towards women didn’t start in cinema and also empowers women by providing tools to help them gain access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #6: Never Alone – Australia

One in three women has/will experience violence from a spouse or partner, and at least one woman is killed every week in Australia. Rosie Batty, whose former husband murdered their son in early 2014, has been working diligently to end domestic violence along with the Never Alone foundation. Members of the public can join the Never Alone campaign by pledging to stand beside those who experience family violence. Batty was awarded Australia’s person of the year for 2015.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #7: Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) campaign – Argentina

Ni una menos

The Ni Una Menos campaign aimed to bring awareness to femicide and gender violence in Argentina. In June, 300,000-500,000 protestors marched in the streets of Buenos Aires with signs that read “Ni una menos.”   In 2014, one femicide took place every 30 hours in Argentina. During 2008-2013, 124 of the femicide victims were between the ages 13 and 18.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #8: REDress Project – Canada

 The REDress Project was started in 2014 by Jamie Bell who collected 600 red dresses and put them on display. The idea was to symbolise the vacancy left by aboriginal women who have been murdered in Canada. This year, the REDress Project experienced significant development and its online community grew. Recently, Sisters in Spirit Vigils and the REDress Project created a call to action asking Canadians to hang a red dress or other red items of women’s clothing on their doors or windows, to raise awareness and stand in solidarity against the murdering of aboriginal women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #9: Stop Telling Women To Smile – Mexico

In 2012, artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh plastered the streets of New York and Philadelphia with posters to address street harassment. This year, Fazlalizadeh continued her work by traveling to Latin America. Fazlalizade chose to take her Stop Telling Women To Smile campaign to Mexico after receiving countless emails from women in Mexico City who wanted her to bring her message to the region. In Mexico, it is estimated that 44% of women have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #10: Talk about abuse campaign – UK

Women’s Aid launched the Talk about abuse campaign in September to “encourage people to look for signs of domestic abuse among their friends and family, to talk about it, listen and support, and suggest further help.” The campaign is working to make the public more observant of their loved ones, to recognise when someone they care about is in danger, and to help intervene where possible.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #11: #ThatsNotLove Campaign – USA

 #ThatsNotLove is an initiative by OneLove, “a student-led movement to activate, educate, and empower others to change the statistics around relationship violence”. OneLove recently recorded a powerful video emphasising how abuse escalates over the course of a relationship. In the chilling campaign video, we witness how reasons such as “Because I love you, I text “I can’t live without you”” are warning signs of unhealthy behaviour.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #12: The Salvation Army Dress Campaign – South Africa

The South African Salvation Army - The DressWhile everyone on social media was trying to decide if ‘The Dress’ was white and gold or black and blue, the South African branch of The Salvation Army swiftly came up with a clever campaign to draw attention to VAW. The SA Salvation Army tweeted an image of a model wearing The Dress with the caption “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.” The image, which contained the logo for Carehaven, a shelter for abused women and their children run by the SA Salvation Army, instantly went viral.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #13: The Purple Rose Campaign – The Philippines

The Purple Rose Campaign Against the Trafficking of Women and Children, under the guidance of AF3IRM, has been running for the past 15 years and continues to advocate against sex trafficking in the Philippines. AF3IRM has partnered with “local communities and organizations to develop trainings and gather resources to provide sexual violence relief for women and children, to identify and stop trafficking, as well as to address reproductive justice and livelihood needs.”

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #14: Turkish Men Wear Miniskirts In Support Of Women’s Rights – Turkey

After the violent murder of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan, men in Turkey took to the streets in miniskirts to campaign against VAW. The protestation spilled over to social media with Turkish men posting images of themselves online alongside the hash tag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, which translates to “wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan”. The Campaign garnered 900,000 petition signatures asking that institutions to take responsibility for attacks on women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #15: Violence against Women (VAW) campaign – Nepal

WOREC’s Violence against Women campaign is currently using programs to “address numerous multi-faceted issues responsible for VAW in Nepal.” The campaign aims to tackle the causes of women trafficking and other forms of VAW. WOREC has been working for years to end trafficking and run a Women’s Rehabilitation Centre as well as a Safe House.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #16: We Can Stop It – Scotland

Police Scotland created We Can Stop It, a rape prevention campaign that targets young men between the ages to 16 – 27. The campaign’s shocking advertisement asks “Do you really know what rape is?” Police Scotland used this perpetrator-focused approach, rather than telling women to be safe and advising them on how not to get raped. Police Scotland is also working with bar owners to train their staff to intervene when they spot women who may be vulnerable.