It is estimated that 35 percent of women globally have experienced gender-based violence. The negative effects go beyond being just physical. Women can be impacted mentally, reproductive health can decline, and families can suffer economically and emotionally – unfortunately the list is long. But together, we can help end this atrocity. Today begins the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which aims to raise awareness of and end gender-based violence in all its forms. The focus of this year’s campaign is, ‘Leave no one behind.’ Below are four stories of World Vision’s work to end violence against women for good through empowerment, advocacy, and lifting people up so communities can move forward, together.
Mangal Lal, pictured with family, is a member of the Men Care Group. To tackle gender-based violence, including early marriage, it is necessary to include men in conversations addressing such violence. Because of this, World Vision started the Men Care Group. This group gives men a place to gather and to improve their understanding of how gender inequality impacts relationships between men and women. Feba, Gender and Development Coordinator for World Vision India, says, “Men, being the head of the family, play a significant role in the community, and hence it is important for them to understand gender disparity. The Men Care Group is important because it helps men understand themselves, their spouses, and children, specifically their daughters. They confessed that many of their practices, like child marriage, are followed as tradition.” Mangay Lay shares, “World Vision came. They saw the darkness we were living in. They asked us to come to the light, and that light is…creating a healthy environment where we care for our families and community and where our children, especially girls, can study; not to come under the pressure of society, which is ignorant, but to rise above and to empower others.” ©2014 World Vision/ photo by Annila Harris
World Vision helped women in Colomi, Bolivia start a knitting business by providing knitting machines and training the women to market the clothes they make. They learned new skills, growing not just income to help care for their children, but confidence and respect as well. “Before women were not respected here. And even suffered physical violence. Women weren’t even allowed to speak before. Men have learned to respect women now,” says Elias Salinas Morales, president of the knitting group. The group uses the money they earn to buy school supplies for their children, food, and medicine. © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Eugene Lee
Beri, 16 (center), used to be depressed, but now she is a shining star in her community. Ezequiel ADP, in the Dominican Republic where World Vision has been working since 1997, is made up of Dominican families of Haitian ancestry, many of whom have worked in the sugar industry for generations. Ninety percent of these families live below the poverty line. In the Dominican Republic, every 48 hours, a woman is killed due to domestic violence. To tackle the challenges of the area, World Vision works through the churches to create awareness about teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and gender equity. Bari says, “I only felt better when the tears would come out.” But things changed when she met a kind Peace Corps volunteer and became involved with World Vision. Today, she is deeply involved in school activities and her church where she teaches Bible school for children. “My happiness is children,” she says. © 2012 World Vision/ photo by Abby Stalsbroten
Sharezer Glaze Dilao, a World Vision Women and Young Child Space facilitator, holds a sleepy baby during a World Vision facilitated session about first aid in emergencies in the Philippines. More than 1,300 women have taken part in hour-long sessions held three times a week that offer mothers with young children a safe space to learn about the importance of breastfeeding and child nutrition, receive psychosocial support, talk about gender-based violence and learn how to address emergency health issues. © 2014 World Vision/ photo by Mark Nonkes
Photo: “I love my daddy. He listens to me and brings me treats. He is my friend,” says Mahima, Mangay Lal’s 11-year-old daughter. ©2014 World Vision/ photo by Annila Harris