Regardless of the campaign context, theme and strategy, any campaign on VAW must be grounded in the understanding that violence against women and girls (VAW) is a human rights violation rooted in, and contributing to power imbalances between women and men. This means that condoning or ignoring VAW will encourage impunity, along with further inequalities between men and women, and persistent discrimination against women and girls.
Careful analysis of the social dynamics that inform the roles of women and men in the campaign context is necessary to understand which gender inequalities need to be addressed so as to tackle the root causes of violence. Multiple discrimination issues, e.g. related to age, physical ability, or descent, need to be acknowledged and addressed. Please refer to the sections Adopting a Human Rights-Based Approach and Ensuring Gender Responsiveness in Programming Essentials.
It is not necessary for all participants in the campaign to be fluent in gender and human rights terminology, but all campaigners should realize and subscribe to the fact that VAW is not a private matter, a sacrosanct tradition, a normal part of warfare or an ordinary burden that women must accept to bear.
Research on campaign issues may reveal that women also perpetrate violence against women: for example, in sex trafficking, in genital mutilation or cutting rites on girls, or by failing to report sexual abuse of girls perpetrated by relatives. Gender analysis helps to break down the dimensions of such cases, to show that they are not just isolated, individual criminal acts, but systemic of the overall positioning of women in subordinate roles in society. Campaigners on VAW must be aware of structural violence, i.e. women’s and girls’ oppression embedded in many aspects of life in society. See Causes, protective and risk factors in Programming Essentials.
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