Saturday, March 9, 2013

Voices Against Violence

Our aim is to go from a whisper of resistance to a shout of outrage 

As I continue to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women, I am shocked by the statistics that are repeatedly shared by conference presenters.  
  • 70 % of women experience violence in their lifetime
  • 50 % of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16
  • There are 64 million child brides in the world today
  • 140 million girls have undergone the process of female genital mutilation
Therefore it is no wonder that many NGO's are working towards implementing programs to raise awareness and educate youth to help eradicate violence against women.  A great example of these programs was shared at the conference session entitled, "Stop the Violence: Girls at the Frontline of Prevention."  This session was hosted by UN Women who have been working in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to develop a educational program called Voices Against Violence.

Voices Against Violence is a non formal educational curriculum that aims to create safe spaces for dialogue about the issue of violence against women.  Although the curriculum engages children as young as five years old, the intent of the program is to work within local communities and with local partners to identify successful practices, and eradicate violence against women.  Within these spaces, community members will be taught how to talk about violence, identify root causes and develop intervention skills.  Furthermore, this coeducational program intends to empower leadership among both young men and women to build their knowledge and skills so that the next generation will be gender violence free.

This is obviously an ambitious project and will require some significant partnerships in order to make this dream a reality.  Thankfully, the Girl Guides Association has already partnered with the Boy Scouts, the Young Men and Womens' Christian Association, and the International Awards Organization to help launch this project.  With over one hundred million members in these organizations, we can already begin to hear the shouts of outrage that will help us to change the world.

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