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.
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.