Mobilizing Communities to Tackle GBV
Mobilizing Communities to Tackle Gender-Based Violence
By: Luma Younis
July 14th, 2023
It is no secret that gender-based violence has been on the rise in recent years and has become extremely disturbing to women and girls of all ages. Women have reported not feeling safe in their own communities, while practicing their everyday activities. The International Association of Women Judges has strived for many years to bring about change makers to the forefront and highlight efforts by community members around the world who have made extraordinary contributions to better the lives of girls and women in their communities and around the world.
The International Association of Women Judges was a participant in a webinar that took place on July 12, 2023, where SafeCity App and the Red Dot foundation presented their findings regarding Gender-based violence in India and different parts of the world. ElsaMarie DSilva the founder of The Red Dot Foundation stated, “1 in 3 women will suffer physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime”. DSilva launched the SafeCity App as a result of the sexual violence she saw and experienced in her own community, this effort was then transferred over to different parts of the world such as the US, Jordan, Brazil, Kenya, The Netherlands and many more countries who have taken the vow to end gender-based violence in their communities. The SafeCity App has managed to make it easy for users to categorize what sexual harassment is by including the types of sexual harassments women have experienced such as: Indecent exposure, taking pictures, catcalling, commenting, rape, sexual invites, stalking and touching while in public spaces. These categories have helped women understand that their experiences are in fact harassment.
Many women do not talk about the sexual harassment and violence that they experience, with the SafeCity App it makes it possible for women to report sexual violence in their communities without fear of repercussions. Women are urged to report their experiences, and by doing so, they are becoming part of the efforts to contribute to ending gender-based violence. The data that is collected by SafeCity App allows policy makers to grasp the detrimental experiences of sexual violence experienced by women. This data is then used to make policy regarding certain laws that have governed sexual violence. The data collected by SafeCity App is shared with religious leaders, organizations, and other stakeholders in order to bring about awareness of the issue at hand and highlight the actual experiences of women. Although the App and its founders strive to bring about awareness of gender-based violence experienced by women in their everyday lives, there are also topics that the founders have highlighted. These topics include child marriage, as well as the concept of honor that a woman and a girl carry. The concept of honor is experienced by many women in India and different parts of the MENA region, where honor is highly regarded as a sacred entity that a girl must keep and cherish. The breaking of honor or losing honor could bring about shame to the woman and her family. Losing one’s honor could have dreadful consequences that could at times lead to death.