Pixel Project Selection 2013 – 16 Striking Anti-Violence Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

Give Peace a ChanceIn this age of global interconnection through social networking and digital media, cause-focused campaigns have become powerful tools to raise awareness, educate the public, and bring millions of people together to effect change.  Even with campaigns developed to be “on the ground,” they are marketed, tweeted, blogged, posted, liked, linked and shared to such an extent it can create tidal waves of movement and change.

Yet despite this movement, this global sharing, this reaching of virtual hands around the world and within communities, many activists still face considerable obstacles to ending violence against women (VAW).  We still face: denial that violence against women exists or is an important issue; cultural taboos that prevent open and honest discussion; viewpoints that VAW is a “women’s issue instead of a human issue;” and hostility from men’s rights activists and extremists who seek to keep women “in their place.”

So today, in honour of all VAW activists, nonprofits, and grassroots groups that 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, in no particular order. That many of them include men is an encouraging sign that the issue of VAW is becoming a human rights issue, not just a women’s issue.

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.

This year’s selection includes campaigns from 11 countries and take a wide variety of actions ranging from creating statement quilts to setting up a hairstylist training academy. 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.

Introduction by Regina Yau; Research and summaries by Jennifer Gallienne; Edited by Carol Olson and Regina Yau


Creative VAW Campaign 1: Survivor’s Monument Quilt – USA

In February 2013, FORCE gained attention for a temporary monument in the National Mall’s reflective pool, which was a giant poem reading, “I Can’t Forget What Happened But No One Else Remembers.”

The Monument Project is a call to create a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse. In summer of 2014, FORCE will blanket the mall with a GIANT quilt made of survivors’ stories. The crowd-sourced quilt will also double as a picnic blanket, inviting the public to sit, eat, and talk. An online version of the Monument Quilt also exists and is a public platform where experiences of survivors can be shared, respected, and honored. Survivors can submit their stories at themonumentproject.org

Creative VAW Campaign 2: UN Women’s Freedom from Violence Photo Competition – Global 

Through the two-month long photo competition that ran from 9 December 2012 to 10 February 2013, UN Women encouraged young people to show the world what freedom from violence against women meant to them. As part of the UN Secretary General’s Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls campaign, millions were encouraged to discuss and prevent violence against women through social media and on ground activation. “The photo competition has achieved its objective of building a mass momentum among the online community and awakened them to the ground realities on situation of women in the society. It has also given them pointers on what needs to be done,” said Yogesh Jadhav, a top 10 runner up.

powerful-ads-use-real-google-searches-to-show-L-xR8BtECreative VAW Campaign 3: Powerful Ads Use Real Google Searches to Show the Scope – Global

A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013, the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping to outright denial of women’s rights. “When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices.

Creative VAW Campaign 4: Tackling Violence Against Women with a Neighbourhood Watch Groups and a Hair Salon – Guatemala

In the past decade, nearly 5,000 women and young girls have been murdered and sexually assaulted in Guatemala. In Bárcenas, there are no street lights or reliable police protection. In response to the murders, the Women Workers’ Committee has created neighborhood watch groups. MADRE is providing the group with flashlights and whistles to distribute to women as an additional safety measure. MADRE and the Women Workers Committee will also build a hair salon in Bárcenas. Here, women can find a way to escape violence and poverty. The hair salon will provide job training in hair styling and help with job placement. It will also provide training in domestic violence intervention strategies, allowing newly-trained hair stylists to become counselors for their clients.

download (1)Creative VAW Campaign 5: Stop Telling Women to Smile Project Tackles Street Harassment with Art – USA 

Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The work addresses gender-based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces. The drawn portraits, which Fazlalizadeh designed to be plastered on public walls, include captions that are intended to speak directly to offenders of street harassment.

Creative VAW Campaign 6: Women’s initiative launches We Will Ride Bicycles campaign – Egypt

An Egyptian women’s initiative has launched a campaign entitled “We Will Ride Bicycles” to confront sexual harassment in the streets and public transportation. The activists behind the campaign said they chose the theme of riding bicycles to promote women and girls’ rights to run errands through cycling without being afraid of attracting negative reaction in the streets.

Creative VAW Campaign 7: Hackathon find IT based solutions aimed at preventing and reporting violence against women- Nepal and South Asia  

In response to the brutal Delhi Gang Rape, the World Bank joined forces with a Nepalese firm, Young Innovations, and the Computer Association of Nepal to host a Hackathon in Nepal on June 16 to find IT-based solutions. Over 100 youth joined the one-day session to design innovative applications aimed at preventing and reporting violence against women.

Creative VAW Campaign 8 – “Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign – Canada

Sexual Assault Voices of Calgary (SAV Calgary) re-launched the ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ campaign in April 2013 with new posters, which focus on the offenders of sexual assault, rather than the victims. The posters, aimed at males between 18 and 25, have a simple message: Sex without consent is sexual assault. Police also trained front-line bar staff to identify people who may prey upon women vulnerable to alcohol and drugs, and officers assigned in Vancouver’s entertainment district were told to focus on predatory males who may be targeting intoxicated women. The campaign, first conceived by Sexual Assault Victims of Edmonton (SAVE) in 2010, stresses that the offender is responsible for changing their behaviours. The previous campaign reduced sexual assaults by 10%.
The No More Abuse campaign hopes to help those who are enduring abuse in silence. (Photo: King Khalid Foundation)

Photo: King Khalid Foundation

Creative VAW Campaign 9: No More Abuse Poster Campaign- Saudi Arabia 

Saudi Arabia has launched its first major campaign against  domestic violence . The ads in the “No More Abuse” campaign show a woman in a dark veil with one black eye. The English version reads “some things can’t be covered.” The Arabic version, according to Foreign Policy’s David Kenner, translates roughly as “the tip of the iceberg.” A Web site for the campaign includes a report on reducing domestic violence and emergency resources for victims.

Creative VAW Campaign 10: Silence Is Not Golden Media Campaign- Croatia

Open Media Group in Croatia created, developed, and implemented a media campaign bringing awareness to violence against women. The media campaign consisted of four TV clips on the subjects of domestic violence, date rape, and trafficking, while the fourth TV clip shows that all three have the same root and are gender-based. The slogan of the campaign is “Silence is not gold” (as opposed to proverb “silence is gold”) and the TV clips were broadcasted on Croatian Television and RTL Croatia. Both televisions provided free media time, and, in eight months, the campaign lasted the value of broadcasting time is over approx. 2,3 mil. EUR. For this campaign OMG was awarded by ERSTE foundation (in Vienna) for the best European campaign.



Creative VAW Campaign 11: Reclaiming Robin Thicke’s chart topper – USA

UCLA’s student-run sexual assault prevention campaign, 7000 In Solidarity, gets its name from the estimated number of students at the university who will encounter sexual violence. The group encourages students to take a solidarity pledge to promise they’ll practice consent, intervene in situations where they see someone’s else’s consent being violated, and support survivors of sexual violence.To raise awareness about consent among the student body, 7000 In Solidarity created a graphic in response to “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke’s popular pop song that has sparked criticism for promoting rape culture.

Creative VAW Campaign 12: YES! Yes Equals Sex, anything else is rape – Ireland

YES! is a positive media campaign aiming to start a conversation on sexual consent. YES! works to get young people practising safe and consensual sex with good communication and respect.  YES! collaborates work with Student’s Unions and other groups to establish locally-focused, individually-tailored campaigns to encourage consent culture and empower young people to stop rape and sexual assault.

Creative VAW Campaign 13: Spoons for Stopping Forced Marriages – United Kingdom

Karma Nirvana, a charity which runs a helpline for victims of forced marriages, has been encouraging teenage South Asian girls who fear they are being taken abroad to enter into a forced marriage to hide a spoon or any other metal object in their underwear to set off the metal detector at the airport and avoid the flight at the last minute. Karma Nirvana founder, Jasvinder Sanghera, said, “When they go through security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they’re being forced to marry. We’ve had people ring and say that it’s helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you – but they won’t be aware you have done it. It’s a safe way.”

Creative VAW Campaign 14: Noor: Shedding Light on Women’s Security Concerns – Libya 

The Voice of Libyan Women launched Noor: Shedding Light on Women’s Security Concerns in Libya. They utilised social media with #NoorLibya when the campaign launched on Friday, 5th of July (see press release). They deliberately chose the holy day of Friday, only days before the holy month of Ramadan, to launch the campaign, as it is a time which they believe the message is strengthened. In the Fall, they began seminars aimed at addressing women’s security issues throughout Libyan workplaces, schools, universities, and mosques, targeting audiences of both men and women, young and old.

Optimized-Andrew-e1369819511180Creative VAW Campaign 15: AWARE’s ‘We Can!’ campaign – Singapore

We Can! is a global campaign that has touched over 3.9 million individuals worldwide who have pledged not to commit or tolerate violence against women. Singapore is the 16th country to join the movement.

We Can! Singapore took off at the beginning of 2013. With the tagline ‘Change starts with me’, the campaign hopes to mobilise over 1,000 individual ‘Change Makers’ – ambassadors of gender equality and non-violence – through art, performance, sports, community networks, and new media.

Creative VAW Campaign 16: Campaign forces Facebook to stop rape, sex abuse posts, and more- Global

In May 2013, Women, Action & the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and feminist author/activist Soraya Chemaly launched a campaign to call on Facebook to take concrete, effective action to end gender-based hate speech on its site. Since then, participants have sent over 60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails. Over 100 women’s movement and social justice organisations (including The Pixel Project) signed an open letter to Facebook and the organisers encouraged users of Facebook to send messages to its advertisers encouraging them to boycott Facebook until it addressed these concerns. Over seven days, men and women around the world sent more than 60,000 tweets using the hashtag #FBrape, and 5,000 e-mails to targeted advertisers, 16 of whom withdrew their advertising. Facebook has since pledged to evaluate and update policies, guidelines, and practices relating to speech and pictures that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

The Pixel Project Selection 2012: 16 Resources About Wartime Violence Against Women

Twelve years ago, The UN Security Council enacted resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.  This resolution is designed to put a global spotlight on the role of women in armed conflict, calling for recognition that women are as much a part of international peace as other genders.  It also highlighted the disproportionate impact of war and armed conflict on women.

Still today, millions of women around the world continue to be impacted by and bear a brunt of armed conflicts and wars.  Women continue to be targeted for sexual violence and other interpersonal violence.  As families are often separated during conflicts and wars, women are then particularly vulnerable to interpersonal violence and rape.  Concurrent with violence is lack of access to food, water, healthcare, and shelter.

Sexual Violence is a war crime, and while progress has moved forward incrementally, much progress is yet to be made.   International humanitarian law as enforced through the Geneva Conventions provides for the protection of women in wartime, including armed conflicts.   However, while States have ratified the Geneva Conventions, not all governments ensure that the law is implemented or enforced.   Violators may not equally face punishment, if any punishment is made. Continue reading

16 Resources About War-time Violence Against Women

The Bulgarian Martyresses by Konstantin Makovsky (1877). Atrocities of bashibazouks in Bulgaria in Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

Violence is an inescapable and terrible manifestation of war and militarism with the worst of the violence being atrocities against civilians being committed in the name of intimidating the enemy to win the war. From the social acceptance of rape as part of war in ancient Greece to the Chinese and Korean comfort women of World War II. From the mass rapes of Bosnia Herzegovina and the Congo, to the forced virginity checks of female protestors in Egypt, women and girls have borne the brunt of many of these crimes against humanity.

In the face of this long-entrenched practice of using violence against women as an intimidation strategy and a sign of military might, we need to follow the lead of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, Leymah Gbowee who led the women of Liberia to Monrovia’s town hall to demand of then-President Charles Taylor: “We the women of Liberia will no more allow ourselves to be raped, abused, misused, maimed and killed,” she shouted. “Our children and grandchildren will not be used as killing machines and sex slaves!”

Many will say that it is impossible to achieve world peace but that does not mean we should stop trying on the account of it being possibly futile. More than ever, this is the demand we must collectively make of those who would wage war for power, domination and money. Continue reading