The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Authors Saying NO To Violence Against Women


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

Violence against women (VAW) is a prevalent and entrenched part of countless societies around the world but it is still considered a taboo topic even, to a certain extent, in developed and first-world communities.  Pop culture media, therefore is invaluable at raising awareness, and promoting and prompting advocacy against VAW, doing much to break the silence.

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

Since then, the campaign has gone from strength to strength. To date, 60 award-winning bestselling authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction, Fantasy, Crime, Thrillers, and Horror have participated in various Read For Pixels campaigns and initiatives, raising more than $33,500 for the cause to end VAW to date.

In this article, we honour 16 of this year’s bestselling authors from our 2015 and 2016 Read For Pixels campaigns. They hail from genres as diverse as Comics, Horror, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many of them are global celebrities with strong fan followings, others are well-respected in their countries or genres. Still others are up-and-coming stars who have decided to use their talents for good. It is the movement to end VAW that unites and inspires them and we hope that all of them will continue to work with the movement in years to come.

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

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

Written and compiled by Anushia Kandasivam


Author Against VAW 1: Alexandra Sokoloff

alexandra-sokoloffAlexandra Sokoloff is the bestselling, Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of eleven supernatural, paranormal and crime thrillers. When asked why she supports the cause to end violence against women, she said, “Violence against women is an atrocity that no civilised person should allow to happen. Ending it should be everybody’s cause. Any deep inequality like that…should be ended. The people who don’t see anything wrong happening [have] an amazing blindness that I don’t understand.”


Author Against VAW 2: Christopher Golden

christopher-golden_thumbnailChristopher Golden is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Snowblind, Tin Men, Dead Ringers, and Of Saints and Shadows. His original novels have been published in more than fifteen languages in countries around the world. Christopher has been speaking out against harassment at conventions and when asked how geek culture can be more welcoming towards women and girls during his Google Hangout, he said: “I think that it’s a combination of elements. I absolutely think the situation…has been dramatically improving over the last few years. The reason [for this] as far as I can tell is the voices – creators and fans standing up and speaking against the ridiculous misogyny. The trolls will always be there and the problem [with them] is that their voices are so loud. We need to have loud voices in response to them and band together, whether you’re online or at a convention. I posted a blog where I talked about wanting to be a wingman – if I’m at a convention and you’re there and you feel unsafe in some way and need somebody to get you through a circumstance, I’ll be happy to do that. I encourage fans and creators at conventions to make the same kind of statements publicly, to get out there and…help create a safe space. These are the ways we can make a difference so that the trolls’ voices aren’t quite so loud.”

Author Against VAW 3: Claudia Gray

claudia-grayClaudia Gray has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Claudia is super excited to be the author of a new Star Wars novel Bloodline: New Republic, which came out in March 2016. When asked about speaking out against VAW, she said: “You have to be open to finding those opportunities and not be afraid to speak out. There have been so many writers who have helped bring this topic forward and helped young readers recognise this for what it is. There are so many disguises hung over this kind of abuse, to make it look like something other than it is. I think you have to work honestly and look for the opportunities to pitch in where you can, whether it’s donating time or books, or talking to readers in different contexts about this. I think that’s where you have to begin.

Author Against VAW 4: Colleen Gleason

colleen-gleason-croppedColleen Gleason is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who has written everything from vampire hunters and dystopian romance to steampunk, historical romance and mysteries with a supernatural flair. All of Colleen’s books feature strong heroines experiencing fast-paced adventures, danger, mystery, and of course, romance. Speaking about how authors can kick off social change to end VAW, she said: “Whenever we have a forum to talk about this, and authors do have a platform through our stories or social media, we should. Authors can do that by writing characters who show respect towards women whether they agree with them [or not]. I think it’s important to show that you can disagree with someone or even not like someone but still have respect for them. I think that can come through all our platforms. Respecting people for who they are and not asserting control over everyone. We can also show characters without respect and then how other men or women are able to combat that character who is disrespectful or violent. If there is violence or disrespect, both genders need to respond to it.

Author Against VAW 5: Dan Wells

dan-wells_thumbnailDan Wells is the author of the Partials series and the John Cleaver series. His newest book Bluescreen is the first book in the Mirador series. He has been nominated for a Hugo, a Whitney, and a Campbell Award and has won two Parsec Awards for his podcast Writing Excuses, as well as a Hugo award for his writing. Dan strongly believes that men and boys must be engaged to end VAW. When asked why he supports The Pixel Project and the cause to end VAW, he said: “It feels like the most obvious thing. VAW is so common and accepted that it’s almost become white noise in our culture. We tend to not notice it. I support the Read For Pixels campaign in particular because I love the Celebrity Male Role Model aspect of it. If there’s a segment of the population that is sick and tired of listening to women tell them to stop beating women, if the only way to reach them is to get men to do it, then let’s do it. We need to talk to men directly. Yes, women need to be aware [of danger and how to protect themselves] and where they can turn when problems arise, but first and foremost VAW is a male problem, not a female problem, because it is men who are doing it. We as men need to stand up and…be role models for other men and boys. I love the Read For Pixels campaign precisely because it has such a strong focus on teaching men from childhood how to…be good and make the world a better place.

Author Against VAW 6: Darynda Jones

darynda-jonesNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier. When asked why she supports the cause to end VAW, she said: “It’s a basic human right that women should not ever have to live in fear or worry that they are going to get hit or live through the day. Women should never be controlled. Violence is not just physical, it’s just as much mental and verbal. It’s just not OK. Women need to know that there’s help out there and they can change things and they have power. They are powerful and strong and do have power to change things. Until they seek that help and figure out…how to break that cycle, it’s important to know there is help out there.

Author Against VAW 7: Gregg Hurwitz

gregg-hurwitz_thumbnailGregg Hurwitz is the New York Times bestselling author of 15 thrillers, most recently, Orphan X. His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been translated into 27 languages. He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Gregg is turning character stereotypes on their heads by writing traditionally hypermasculine characters, such as assassins and spies, as respectful and empathetic people. Speaking about how a popular work of fiction can push forward the conversation on male violence against women in a constructive manner, he said: “One of the things I’m always very careful to do is to write women and their circumstances that are well rounded. It’s a fine line between writing a scene where a woman is being molested and your hero swings in and white knights his way through and where the women aren’t fully formed characters but merely there as a foil for the male character. One of the things important to me in this conversation is to have characters who are really fully formed. One of the ways you move forward any genre is making sure there are no straw women, that you’re not creating character that only serve as a foil and contrast to the male characters but are fully formed. And the more powerful the women are around a man, I feel it reflects better on the man. Both genders need to move apiece if you want to start to address these issues.

Author Against VAW 8: Keri Arthur

keri-arthurKeri Arthur, the New York Times bestselling author of the Outcast, Souls of Fire, Dark Angels, and Riley Jenson Guardian series, has written more than thirty books. She’s been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards and has won a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy. When talking about realistic portrayals of assault or abuse in fiction, and what authors can do to bring more awareness to VAW, she said: “I think you can’t gloss over it, you’ve got to address the consequences to the characters to make it more realistic, and have characters seeking help through friends or family or anything else. [Authors can help] by supporting organisations like The Pixel Project and speaking out against VAW – talking about it. Telling the right stories and having strong female characters who won’t back down and stand strong is very important too.

Author Against VAW 9: Lauren Beukes

lauren-beukes_croppedLauren Beukes is the author of The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters, Zoo City and Moxyland. Her books have been translated into 26 languages, won major literary, horror, science fiction and mystery prizes and been optioned for film adaptations. She also writes comics, screenplays and journalism. Lauren believes that though there are many keyboard warriors out there, supporters of the cause to end VAW should put their money (or time) where their mouth is. Speaking about how it takes the efforts of the whole community to change prevailing attitudes towards women, she said: “The problem is this idea that women are less than human – women are belongings, sex objects, subservient to men, that we’re not people. That the real danger and that where you have to put the education in. It starts with raising your voices…against it all the time. You need to intervene. It’s about stepping up if you think someone is being harassed, about calling someone out on it. […] We need to be active and engaged in our own lives, find an organisation that works in these areas and volunteer or donate.

Author Against VAW 10: Laurie R. King

laurie-r-kingLaurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories (from The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, named one of the 20th century’s best crime novels by the IMBA, to 2015’s Dreaming Spies). She has won or been nominated for an alphabet of prizes from Agatha to Wolfe, been chosen as guest of honour at several crime conventions, and is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology. On the role men can play in stopping VAW and who she counts as a role model in this context, she said: “Anyone who says ‘no’ [is a role model]. There’s a lot of talk on college campuses in the US about the problems of getting young men to not feel that they’re betraying their maleness by standing up for someone. If you have someone whose sense of self is enough that they say to a male friend of theirs ‘No, that’s not right’, that I think is the kind of deep everyday heroic act that I’d really like to see. There’s a fair amount of it around but I think we need to have each young man out there see that this is what they should be striving towards.

Author Against VAW 11: Max Gladstone

max-gladstone_thumbnailMax Gladstone has been nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published Four Roads Cross, the fifth novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, and Last First Snow) in July 2016. Max’s game Choice Of The Deathless was nominated for a 2013 XYZZY Award, and his short fiction has appeared on and in Uncanny Magazine. On the reason he supports the cause to end VAW, he said: “I just think violence against women is terribly wrong. We live in a culture that’s profoundly and systematically misogynistic […] You need to understand the way your culture fits together and then you need to make it better. It’s your responsibility to not just continue blindly on the path that has been set for you but to look around and try to fix things so that the next person has a little bit better of a place to try to fix than you inherited. That’s our responsibility and that’s why I support the cause of ending violence against women.

Author Against VAW 12: Meg Cabot

meg-cabot-croppedMeg Cabot’s books for both adults and tweens/teens have included multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers, selling well over 25 million copies worldwide. Her Princess Diaries series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into two hit films by Disney. Meg’s numerous other award-winning books include the Mediator series and the Heather Wells mystery series. When asked why she supports The Pixel Project and the cause to end VAW, she said: The Pixel Project has been really awesome. I’ve been aware of the campaign for a long time and I really wanted to hang out with you. I think ending violence against women is a really important cause to support because it is unfortunately so common and people don’t speak out against it enough. It’s one of those secret things that goes on in every neighbourhood, in every income bracket in every part of the world. I think if we can talk about it more it’s something we can all help combat.

Author Against VAW 13: Nalini Singh

nalini-singhNalini Singh is the New York Times bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter and Rock Kiss series. Nalini believes that talking about VAW is key to awareness and change, saying: “It’s important to talk about it because it’s something that people get uncomfortable about and so it doesn’t get talked about. At the same time, the people who need the help are some of the most vulnerable people so those of us who can talk about it should talk about it so that it’s visible and people feel that they can approach someone and say they need help. As a writer, I can talk about it, discuss it, I can help in that way. It’s my small contribution to The Pixel Project as well to help fundraise and help the discussion keep going.

Author Against VAW 14: Steven Erikson

steven-erikson_thumbnailSteven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, including The Crippled God, Dust of Dreams, Toll the Hounds and Reaper’s Gale, have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. On what parents and influential male role models can do to prevent VAW in future generations and get boys involved, he said: “I think to remove the stigma of empathy. A lot of what is presented as the male approach to living in the world is quite confrontational these days and involves a lot of implicit aggression. My argument to anyone in almost any circumstance is ‘What would it be like standing in that person’s shoes?’ As a writer, that’s part of my job – to stand in the shoes of people in very different circumstances and then find some element of commonality that invites the reader to identify with that person’s point of view. I’ve often described the Malazan series as a three million word plea for compassion, and that’s what the series is about. I think that level of empathy offered would have an effect on how people treat each other regardless of gender. But now we seem to be fighting a battle against hostility towards that notion of empathy.”

Author Against VAW 15: Tamora Pierce

tamora-pierceBased in Syracuse NY, Tamora Pierce is the New York Times bestselling writer of over 28 books of fantasy, most with girl heroes. She has also published short stories, articles, and comics. The first book of her next Tortall series will be published in Summer of 2017, followed by The Spy’s Guide to Tortall: From the Desk of George Cooper in fall of the same year. During her Google Hangout, Tamora read an excerpt from her book Page that centered around an incident of assault and bystander intervention, and she also recounted an incident where she witnessed a man assaulting his wife on a busy public street and joined a group of women to help stop the assault and call the police. Speaking about what people can do about bystander intervention and reporting, she said: “Call for help. You can get more with a group of people than just one person by yourself. At the very least, you can call out ‘Stop that, let her alone.’ If he thinks more people are watching, he may break off. There’s always a risk, and if you feel too afraid, don’t beat yourself up for that. Not all of us are heroes; I certainly am not. You have to measure your fears and your strength. Report what you can always, and take notes of what the man and woman looked like. Do what you can and don’t blame yourself.

Author Against VAW 16: Victoria V.E. Schwab

v-e-schwab_thumbnailVictoria (V.E.) Schwab is the author of eleven novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling This Savage Song, the New York Times & USA Today bestselling A Darker Shade of Magic series, Vicious, and The Archived. Speaking about powerful women in fiction, how they are portrayed and what we can learn from them, she said: “Powerful women take many forms. Take Agent Carter and Miss Fisher – these are two extraordinarily powerful women with immense agency who are also hyperfeminine. I think we went through this period where to be powerful you have to be masculine and I don’t think masculinity is a key for female empowerment. I think it’s agency – you know what you want and you’re willing to take action to get it. I think it’s active over reactive – you don’t wait for somebody else to come up with the plan. It’s never a lack of fear…but rather a refusal to let fear stop them. I think that’s what makes a strong character.

Standing Up To Stop Violence Against Women – 16 Anti-Violence Against Women Male Role Models 2013

header-malerolemodels-2013Violence Against Women has always been perceived as a “women’s issue” because of the focus on the institutionalised and normalised violence specifically faced by women and girls in cultures and communities worldwide. When most people think about charities, nonprofits, social enterprises, activists, grassroots leaders and celebrities who work to end VAW, they automatically think about women because women are the focus, and therefore the most visible voices and faces, of the anti-VAW movement.

In recent years however, this paradigm is slowly shifting to recognise that while men constitute the majority of the perpetrators of VAW, they are also key allies to stopping the violence. VAW may have always been seen as a “women’s issue” but it is a human rights issue which impacts everyone in the community regardless of gender. When good non-violent men stand up to say NO to VAW and to take action to prevent, intervene and stop the violent conduct of their male peers, they become internal agents of change through role modelling positive male behaviour as an antidote to the toxic masculinity that drives the patriarchal social structures that create and maintain gender inequality.

At The Pixel Project, one of the major tenets of our vision and mission is to get men and boys on board the movement to end VAW. In line with that mission, we have always worked with men on our campaigns and projects, be they our YouTube Music Ambassador, AHMIR, the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models who gave their time and energy to take part in our upcoming Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign; or the male volunteers who have contributed to getting our campaigns off the ground.

In recognition of the tremendous work that genuine male allies have done as members of the anti-VAW movement and movement for gender equality, we are proud to present our first annual list of 16 male role models that working worldwide to help end VAW.

It truly is 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 or articles. 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 male allies.

Written by Jerica Nonell and Regina Yau; Curated and edited by Regina Yau and Carol Olson.


Anti-VAW Role Model 1: Patrick Stewart – United Kingdom

patrick stewartThough best known for his role in Star Trek, Patrick Stewart is now equally well-known for his activism to stop violence against women. Stewart has repeatedly spoken out publicly about his traumatic childhood watching his mother suffer from domestic violence and the consequences it had on him as a child and later, as an adult man. Stewarts powerful speeches and statements about the importance of speaking out to stop violence against women and children, as well as pointing out the importance of helping abusers reform, have gone viral. He believes that it is impossible for domestic violence to disappear without everyone lending their voices to the cause. Since 2007, Stewart has worked with Refuge, a registered UK charity that provides legal and psychological support to women and children that are survivors of domestic violence. The charity supports more than 1,000 domestic violence survivors.

Anti-VAW Role Model 2: Fahran Akhtar – India

farhan akhtarFahran Akhtar is an active actor, writer, producer, director, and activist from Mumbai, India.  He is best known for his 2001 film, “Dil Chahta Hai.” In March of 2013, Akhtar publicly joined the fight for gender equality by creating a social campaign known as Men Against Rape and Discrimination, or MARD. This organisation works to change the minds and behavior of men, in hopes to instill respect towards women and make a profound and lasting change to the society in which we live. Ahktar was moved to begin this campaign after learning about a deadly sexual assault on a female lawyer in Mumbai, and has promoted this campaign through Twitter, as well as during move premieres. Through his efforts, any notable men have joined the cause, including actor Mahesh Babu and cricket player Sachin Tandulkar.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 3: Dr. Denis Mukwege – Democratic Republic of Congo

Denis MukwegeDoctor Denis Mukwege Mukengere is the founder of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Unlike other hospitals around the world, Panzi Hospital is renowned for its treatment of women with severe gynecological problems, especially when related to sexual violence. Since Panzi’s inception in 1998, he continues to work as the medical director. He has been awarded many accolades for his work, included UN Human Rights Prize in 2008 and African of the Year in 2009. Alongside his work at the hospital, Dr. Mukwege has spoken with the United Nations General Assembly about the rights of women and sexual violence, and raises awareness via in his travels in Eastern DRC.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 4: Joshua Bailey – United States of America

Joshua BaileyJoshua Bailey is the co-founder & CEO of The Gray Haven, a non-profit organisation that provides hope and restoration to victims of human trafficking through comprehensive services. Based in Richmond, Virginia, The Gray Haven is the first organisation in Virginia to provide holistic aftercare services and a supportive community specifically for victims of human trafficking. Bailey guest lectures at universities and provides technical assistance and training for professionals in law enforcement, healthcare, mental health, and social services, as well as speaking in churches and other venues about the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Anti-VAW Role Model 5: Nazir Afzal – United Kingdom

Nazir AfzalIn 2001, Nazir Afzal became England’s first Muslim chief prosecutor, a position that allows him the status of the United Kingdom’s most senior Muslim lawyer. Afzal’s most famous case involved prosecuting one of Princess Diana’s stalkers, but his passion lies with cases involving honour killings and forced marriage, especially when the cases involve minority women. He set up a national hotline to help women and girls that are at risk of forced marriage – one in which the United States hopes to duplicate. Currently, he is working to make forced marriage a punishable crime. One of Afzal’s largest successes involves prosecuting nine men for raping and trafficking girls, charging the men with a variety of sentences, ranging from 12 to 19 years in prison.

Anti-VAW Role Model 6: Kalyan Shrestha – Nepal

KalyanShresthaKalyan Shrestha began his career in 1977 as a Judicial Officer in Nepal, working his way towards becoming the first Executive Director of National Judicial Academy in 2004. As of 2005, he became a Supreme Court Justice, a role in which he occupies today. His work in the Supreme Court revolves around improving his country with pronouncements surrounding human rights, gender justice, and juvenile justice, to name a few. Shrestha’s many accomplishments include maintaining the privacy of specialised cases, as well as removing discriminatory legal provisions. His work within the Supreme Court has immensely improved the atmosphere surrounding Nepal and will leave a lasting impression on those that follow in his footsteps.

Anti-VAW Role Model 7: Todd Minerson – Canada

ToddMinersonTodd Minerson is the Executive Director of the White Ribbon Campaign, the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women in their communities. Minerson has spent the last 14 years working to get men on board the cause to end violence against women and to educate boys about gender equality. The work that he does include delivering workshops on engaging men in ending violence against women for the UN, as well as working with governments and agencies in Brazil, Austria, Turkey, Cape Verde, and Sri Lanka. He was also one of the co-chairs of the Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality in Rio de Janeiro.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 8: Pham Anh Khoa – Vietnam

Pham Anh KhoaPham Anh Khoa is a Vietnamese rock star who uses his fame and talents for the betterment of society. Unlike many other artistes, Khoa doesn’t write songs that degrade and demean the women in his life. Instead, his songs contain messages of healthy relationships. His passion for gender equality is not limited to just his music. He actively speaks out against gender-based violence as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Soul Nation campaign which seeks to prevent violence against women. As the campaign’s celebrity spokesperson, he attends interviews on the campaign’s behalf and performing at concerts that promote their message of gender equality. More recently, Khoa has participated in a UN Women event for youth clubs called Da Nang Youth Union.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 9: Emmanuel Ochora – Uganda

EmmanuelOchoraEmmanuel Ochora is a Ugandan male ally focused working to address women’s reproductive health problems and gender-based violence. He co-founded a youth-led NGO by the name of Gulu Youth for Action (GYFA) that works to increases awareness regarding the aforementioned causes and supports girls’ education by working with health and education officials within the government. HIV/AIDS programmes that focus on gender equality and youth are coordinated through GYFA and Ochora. A unique aspect of GYFA is that it doesn’t solely use its resources for policy changes and behind-the-scene duties, but expands its reach by involving youth with education and drama. By providing an artistic outlet for youth, GYFA has the ability to reach and engage more youth – especially boys, a demographic that needs to be reached in order to achieve gender equality.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 10: Lieutenant General David Morrison – Australia

David-MorrisonAustralia’s Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, is a White Ribbon campaign ambassador who is instrumental in getting the Australian army working with the White Ribbon campaign to educate Australian men in the armed forces about gender equality and men’s role in stopping violence against women. In a partnership agreement between White Ribbon and Army, Lieutenant General Morrison has agreed to Duntroon and the Army Recruit Training Centre participating in the White Ribbon workplace accreditation pilot project. When it was discovered that some soldiers were going online to distribute offensive and abusive materials about women in the Australian army, he went on public record on YouTube, stating that women are respected, equal and integral members of the Australian army and “if you don’t like it, then get out!”

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 11: Tura Lewai – Fiji

TuralewaiTura Lewai is a Fujian advocate who works with young people to work towards gender equality. Lewai works as the Gender and Arts Officer for the Foundation of the South Pacific People International, in which he engages men and boys to end gender violence. Lewai started a programme known as “Stepping Stones” to find the link between gender inequality and HIV, as well as how to educate young people and split the statistic. “Stepping Stones” uses theatre and music to communicate key messages about stopping  violence against women to local communities as part of kickstarting changes in behavior and attitudes surrounding sexual violence. Aside from running “Stepping Stones”, Lewai also promotes ending violence against women throughout other countries in the Pacific.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 12: David Schwimmer – United States of America

david schwimmerDavid Schwimmer, the actor best known for his role as Ross Geller in the TV show, “Friends”, is a director and board member for a California-based nonprofit called The Rape Foundation, which works with victims of date and child rape. His work with the Foundation includes pushing for legislation to ban drugs that are commonly used in date rape, such as Rohypnol and GHB. The work that he did with the Rape Foundation inspired him to direct the movie “Trust” about the dangers of the online predators who groom underaged girls for sexual abuse. In 2011, Schwimmer screened “Trust” with Children 1st on World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence against Children.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 13: Adisa Jelani Andwele – Barbados

Adisa Jelani AndweleAdisa Jelani Andwele is a Barbadian-born New Yorker who spreads his message of gender equality and anti-violence against women through his poems and music. Andwele is a Spokesperson on Peace and Poverty Eradication for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, a UN Women Partner for Peace for the Caribbean, and works with the Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign by promoting Caribbean artists. Outside of working with all of these amazing organisations, Andwele has set up humanitarian projects throughout the Caribbean and West Africa.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 14: Joachim Ostertag – Canada

Joachim_Ostertag--homeJoachim Ostertag is the brain’s behind the activist campaign Change the Cycle. The work of this organisation is to bicycle across Canada to speak to men of all walks of life about changing their views on gender. By visiting these communities and seeing where the disconnect lies, Ostertag is able to communicate and dissolve the sexist beliefs that many of these men hold. When he finds the communities themselves to be lacking in resources, he raises funds for better services that will allow equality to begin to take form. Ostertag believes that, despite the sexist beliefs perpetuated by pop culture, men want change. They long for a society where they have healthier relationships with the women in their lives, as well as with each other.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 15: Dragan Bozanic – Serbia

Dragan Bozanic PhotoDragan Bozanic works for the Provincial Secretariat for Economy, Employment, and Gender Equality of the Serbian government as an advisor to help government institutions improve their responses to violence against women. In the last four years, he has coordinated, together with his colleagues, the implementation of the Strategy for Protection Against Domestic Violence and Other Forms of Gender-Based Violence in Vojvodina. The focus of his work is capacity building of line institutions to deliver integrated and efficient responses to violence against women, as well as raising awareness on the unacceptability of violence. Bozanic also works within local communities to strengthen ties and understand their own gender inequality issues.

Anti-VAW Male Role Model 16: Alan Morrison – United Kingdom and Bangladesh

alan morrisonBritish consul Alan Morrison splits his time between the United Kingdom and Bangladesh, fighting the deep-rooted institution of forced marriage. Morrison stays in contact with law enforcement and schools of all ages in order to be contacted with information regarding missing British-born Bangladeshi girls that may have been stranded in Bangladesh. His job is to locate and speak to every missing girl to give them the opportunity to leave with him. For the girls who choose to do so, Morrison provides them with complete protection during their flight home and afterwards, helps them reclaim their lives in the UK, to return to education, and have a future that means something to them.