Half of the world has internet access now. However, less developed countries still behind. The offline population is female, elderly, less educated, poorer, and lives in rural areas.
Technology can be used as a tool in the fight to end violence against women. The internet, mobile phones, and social media can be used to bring awareness to issues around VAW. A tool that can bring education and an opportunity through which you can tell a life-changing story.
Today, Women’s rights activists use the internet, mobile phones, and other technologies to strengthen their campaigns and advocacy, expand their networks, prevent violations, and support the healing of survivors.
Narayani from Nepal who chooses to heal by sharing her story promised herself to speak on behalf of a woman who faces injustice and teaches her future child to make noise even the world is against them.
Sherna from Trinidad and Tobago, a tenacious advocate for survivors of gender-based violence, encourages women to take their rightful place as decision-makers. She uses technology and digital platform to raise her voice for a change.
I believe, people within their families, communities, and cultures can end violence against women (VAW).
Know these actionable ideas on how you can be part of ending Gender-based Violence:
1. Know the Law on Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children
The law allows women and their children to secure barangay (in the Philippines, a small territorial and administrative district forming the most local level of government) protection order and/or temporary or permanent protection order from the courts. They can also file an independent civil action for damages and criminal action for the violation of the anti-VAWC Act.
Read this existing law for Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children RA Act 9262 and Magna Carta of Women RA 9710).
2. Know where to seek help
You can personally file a protection order on behalf of the victim if you know someone who is experiencing abuse.
If necessary, the victim needs to find a safe place to live temporarily to avoid further abuse. You can seek shelter with a relative or a friend.
The Magna Carta of Women provides an establishment of VAW Desk in every barangay VAW Help Desk. Philippine National Police has a lead unit that handles violence against women and children PNP Women and Children Protection Center
3. Know the signs if someone is being abused (sexual, physical, emotional, or verbal)
These signs are an indication that a person is being abused. It is important that you talk to your friend or family member calmly so they can open about their situations.
People who are being abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Go along with everything their partner says and does
- Check-in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
Warning signs of physical violence. People who are being physically abused may:
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
Warning signs of isolation. People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends
- Rarely go out in public without their partner
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
The psychological warning signs of abuse. People who are being abused may:
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
4. Know how Social Norms harm women and girls. One of the reasons why violence at home increases is because of social norms where society thinks are just normal.
Do you experience this in your community?
- Women must be submissive to male family members in all aspects of her life
- Men are expected to exercise coercive control
- Men have the right to discipline women for “incorrect’ behavior
- Women cannot deny their male partner sex
- Sexual harassment is normal
- Women experience violence because they are dressed ‘provocatively’
- All women should become mothers
- Girls are valued as wives not as individuals
- Heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation that is acceptable
- Divorced women have less value
An effective tool to change social norms are “community discussions,” where members of the same group identify local harmful practices and the norms that sustain them.
5. Know a campaign, donate to local organizations and share your story, be part of a voice
- Share your story on World Pulse is an independent women-led social network for social change
- ENOUGH CAMPAIGN is a worldwide campaign that has sparked a movement against violence towards women and girls, to address negative social norms in their specific contexts.
- Hope for Abused and Battered a non-profit organization that provides supporting services which promote emotional resilience to people battered by life, regardless of age, sexual orientation, race and political or religious affiliation, in their search for ways to overcome the fears and conflicts and separation that accompanies personal crisis.
- Saahas Saahas ("courage" in Hindi) is a web-based and mobile app, and chatbot (Facebook / Telegram) that helps survivors access support and informational resources. It comprises a directory of support across 196 countries, a database of guidance notes on understanding gender-based violence and ways to respond to them, and information on legal and medical services one may avail following an incident of violence.
- 16DaysCampaign.Org The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence against women is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute. “16 Days,” as it has become known, was launched and continues to be coordinated by the Center for the Women’s Global Leadership.
- Women Inspiration Development Center an NGO that works with women and girls an initiative designed to create a safe place for Nigerian women and girls in challenging life circumstances to envision and create new possibilities for their lives, families and communities.
- CPTCSA a non-profit, non government child focused institution working towards a safe world for children free from sexual abuse and exploitation.
- Child Protection Network The Child Protection Network Foundation or CPN is a non-government organization with expertise on the prevention and treatment of child abuse. CPN’s work centers on increasing the accessibility of services for abused children in the Philippines.
6. Know how to listen and show empathy. It is daunting to share a story when you are abused. It takes courage. When a victim shares a story, listen, and don’t provide a solution immediately. Calm down and don’t react. Be understanding and supportive. Gain the trust of the person. Reassure that they can trust you, so they will not feel fear.