Yesterday was International Women’s Day, yet more than a day is required in order to address violence against women. The statistics are alarming–according to the Avon Foundation for Women, one in three women worldwide experience violence in their lifetime, and in the U.S., a woman is assaulted every nine seconds. Around the world, services for victims are often vastly underfunded or unavailable, and in many countries, laws to protect women do not exist or are not enforced.
I have found this topic incredibly difficult to discuss. On the one hand, it is clear that the widespread use of violence curtails the freedom and rights of women across the globe. On the other hand, where do we start looking for solutions? Some tell women to just leave an abusive home, others want to tackle poverty which some argue leads to an increase in violence, while others think the images of manhood and womanhood represented in the media encourage violence. Having witnessed domestic violence first hand, I can tell you that these discussions are great to have but how can we turn these ideas into action? We also face the challenge that violence does not look the same or is called the same name across the globe.
That’s why I am excited that Avon and Vital Voices have a week of discussions surrounding violence against women and that Avon has created a variety of programs across the country to address this issue. They are celebrating the lives of women while incorporating different perspectives–like how men can stop violence against women–and Avon has expanded its international support of local communities fighting violence in addition to some awesome initiatives at home.
I’ll be blogging about these discussions and programs for the rest of the week and hope you will share your thoughts. How do you think we can stop violence against women?
**Full disclousure: I am being compensated by Avon to write about International Women’s Day and related programs.