How Countries and Communities are Taking on Gender-Based Violence. 12/9/2016

Published by WORLDBANK

The stat is appalling: 1 in 3 women worldwide have or will experience intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Although it may take the form of domestic violence, gender-based violence is not merely a personal or family matter. Associated with certain societies' social norms and many other risk factors,
such violence leads to severe social and economic consequences that can
contribute to ongoing poverty in developing and developed countries

Because violence affects everyone, it takes us all—from individuals to
communities, and from cities to countries—to tackle the pandemic of
violence against our women and girls.

On Day 15 of the global #16Days campaign,
let’s take a look at a few examples of how community groups, civil
society organizations, and national governments around the world are
making informed efforts to prevent and respond to various forms of
gender-based violence.

1. Transforming the conversation about acid attacks through comic books in India and Colombi 

As part of the World Bank’s WEvolve Global Initiative, the captivating comic book “Priya’s Mirror”
uses storytelling and augmented reality to address gender-based
violence. The comic brings attention to the problem of victim-blaming
and stigma that acid attack and rape survivors face in India, Colombia,
and other countries. It features India’s first female superhero who is a
rape survivor that joins forces with other acid attack survivors to
overcome stigma in their community. The characters in the comic were
inspired by survivors such as Laxmi Saa who have become advocates on
this issue. Laxmi, co-founder of Stop Acid Attacks
in New Delhi, continues to be an inspiration by opening a chain of
cafes owned and run by acid attack survivors. These creative outlets are
one method of preventative strategies to spread awareness and serves as
an important building block to stop gender-based violence.

2. Engaging communities on violence prevention in Honduras

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Meet Ilsa Sánchez, a 27-year-old survivor of sexual abuse from Honduras,
and hear how she redefines herself as a mother and a woman with the
support of the Violence Prevention Center (CEPREV). She faced repeated
deception by those around her that led to sexual abuse and pregnancy at
the age of 11. By participating in CEPREV workshops, Ilsa was able to
lift herself up to become “a woman of value and self-esteem.” As part of
the World Bank’s Safer Municipalities Project,
CEPREV is the first violence prevention project in Honduras using
community-based intervention methodologies that had been used in Nicaragua.
This initiative features a series of workshops that address the causes
and consequences of violence, and aims at transforming the authoritarian
family model engrained in the Honduran society into democratic family
relations. CEPREV drives a psychosocial intervention in three
communities affected by violence, and puts into place different forms of
the approach among teachers, the police, community leaders and / or
religious groups, government officials, and civil society.

3. Promoting legislation against sexual harassment in education worldwide

Sexual harassment robs far too many girls in school
of the chance to study in a safe environment. Using data on laws and
regulations, countries and cities are able to recognize how government
policies limit women’s full economic participation. Unfortunately, the
track record indicates that better laws are still needed worldwide to
tackle sexual harassment in education. As the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law
data shows, of 173 economies monitored by the report, only 30% have
such laws in place. There is a need for comprehensive and effective laws
that not only punish the perpetrators, but also offer redress to the

Examples of such laws include Sri Lanka’s Act No. 20, adopted in 1998,
which not only prohibits and punishes sexual harassment in education
with imprisonment, but also establishes compensation for victims. 

Another good example is Bolivia’s 2013 law that establishes penalties
for the perpetrators as well as the educational personnel who fail to
take action. In December 2014, Mozambique enacted a new penal code
including protections against sexual harassment in education and
punishing violators with a fine. The same year, Egypt also reformed its
legislation, criminalizing sexual harassment in employment, education,
and public spaces.

How does violence against women and girls affect us all? And what’s
being done in your community, city or country to address this issue?
Watch a video to learn more, and share your thoughts and experience by
posting a comment below.