IWTC Women's GlobalNet #329
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide

MEDIA AS AN ADVOCACY TOOL TO TACKLE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

 

December 13 2007
Natalie Raaber

 

Despite the recognition by the international community that violence against women is a serious and fundamental problem, gender-based violence, including violence against women, remains a pervasive and insidious crisis.  Now in its 17th year, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign mobilized thousands worldwide to fight for the end of gender-based violence and violence against women. This year’s theme, “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women,” was enacted through various forms of activism.  Events abounded globally: from rallies and marches to letter writing and radio spots, activists engaged in a variety of efforts and worked through a multitude of mediums.  This GlobalNet will focus on one particular medium, the media, positing it as a powerful advocacy tool to fight gender- based violence. 

 

Here is a global snapshot of the some of the events that took place:

- A LETTER A DAY: An advocacy letter was dispatched to one UN Security Council member each day for the 16 days of the campaign.  Sent by the PeaceWomen Project, these letters called for the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. 

To read more about this activism effort, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/news/1325News/issue95.html

 

- First-Hand Accounts of Gender-based Violence: Women across Southern Africa discussed their experiences with gender violence in first-hand accounts.  These accounts were compiled and launched as a book in Johannesburg on 25 November at the Take Back the Night Campaign.  Produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service, the accounts discussed topics ranging from gender violence and the law to children, HIV and AIDS. Additionally, some of the women recorded parts of their stories for radio, speaking about their experiences and offering advice to others in similar situations. 

For more information, see: http://www.genderlinks.org.za/item.php?i_id=185

 

- Popular Radio Drama on Sexual & Gender-Based Violence in Uganda: Women from conflict-affected communities in Uganda have come together to collaborate on developing radio scripts based on their work and experiences with sexual and gender-based violence. This write-shop has been organized by the International Women’s Tribune Centre and the scripts that emerge from it will be produced and broadcast as a 12-part series on local radio stations throughout Uganda. This radio drama series is meant to stimulate community-level discussions about sexual and gender-based violence and highlight the international and national rights and protections that women have against it.

 

- Community Radio Broadcasts: From November 25 to December 10th, community radio producers from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean highlighted the effort of women and men working to end gender-based violence.  The multilingual broadcast campaign, organized by the Women's International Network of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC-WIN), included documentaries, interviews, debates, poetry and music. 

Check out more about the campaign at: www.amarc.org/16days

 

- Rural Women Speak Out:  Beginning with Labasa, Fiji on December 5th, and continuing in the towns of Ba, Nadi and Nausori before Christmas, femLINKpacific will be engaging with women in rural communities, discussing their thoughts on and experiences with conflict and conflict transformation.  Historically overlooked in consultation efforts, rural women will be given a voice and the opportunity to make their experiences visible.  For more information, visit: http://www.femlinkpacific.org.fj/

 

- Free Call to Helplines from Cell Phones: South-African helplines, such as the Stop Gender Violence Helpline and the AIDS Helpline are a free call from landlines but continue to incur a cost from mobile phones.  There are 30 million mobile phone users, 45% of whom are women, in South Africa.   Many of these individuals lack access to a landline or their access is limited or monitored. Women'sNet, Gender Links and Nisaa joined LifeLine Southern Africa in calling on South African cellphone companies like Cell-C, Vodacom, Virgin Mobile and MTN to make national helplines a free call from mobile phones.  This will allow women who would otherwise not be able to afford a mobile call to these helplines (or can not easily access a landline) to freely access information, emotional support, referrals and counseling in a timely manner. 

For more information on this campaign, visit: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/make-the-stop-gender-violence-and-aids-helplines-a-free-call-from-cellphones.

 

- Text Messaging to Speak Out: Speak Out! Stand Out! is a text message campaign organized to collect text messages that call for an end to violence against women.  Individuals and organizations were encouraged to participate in multiple ways, by, for example, sending a short message or slogan on the theme of the campaign, sending news on events being held for the 16 Days of Activism and registering cell phones to receive the collected information.  Organized by the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) in collaboration with Womensnet, South Africa and APC-Africa-Women, the campaign collected text messages and sent them to registered mobile phones in an effort to speak out against violence against women. 

You can view the text messages on the Take Back the Tech campaign website at: http://www.takebackthetech.net/blogathon/wougnet.

More information on the Speak Out! Stand Out! campaign can be found here: http://www.wougnet.org/Alerts/speakoutgenderviolence.

 

- Regional Cyber Dialogues: Seven regional cyber dialogues, discussing a variety of topics, including trafficking, gender violence and local government, unpaid care work, gender violence and disability, young women and gender-based violence and safety in schools were organized and facilitated by Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA).  Dialogues were facilitated in local languages throughout the 16 Days Campaign. 

Please visit GEMSA for more information:  http://www.gemsa.org.za/page.php?p_id=329

 

- Blogs! Podcasts!: OpenDemocracy produced podcasts and a multi-voice blog to call for an end to violence against women. Themes included: security, masculinities and the state, rape and impunity, healthy bodies, coercion and control and women as trade. 

For more information, please visit: http://opendemocracy.net/blog/5050/

 

- Sign A Virtual Album:  Sign a virtual album to show your support to end gender based violence.  Signatures are being collected here: http://www.saynotoviolence.org.

UNIFEM’s internet campaign runs through March 8, 2008, International Women’s Day.  To learn more about UNIFEM’s Say No to Violence Against Women! Campaign visit: http://www.unifem.org/campaigns/vaw/

 

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