Guest blog post: Moving Beyond Fear - Prioritising safety for women and girls must be a global priority.

Posted on December 02, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Deirdre Campbell 5

By Deirdre Campbell, Co-ordinator, Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence

The Irish Consortium of Gender Based Violence (ICGBV) is an Irish based alliance of International human rights, humanitarian and development organisations, including International NGOs, Irish Aid and The Irish Defence Forces. Established in 2005 as a response to reports of ongoing and systematic sexual violence in the Darfur Region of Sudan, we work together to increase knowledge and understanding of gender-based violence and ensure high quality programming and policy responses.  We also build leadership to support our shared vision of a world free from gender-based violence. We strive to work together to tackle to root causes of gender-based violence that both cause and maintain this gendered crime, across both humanitarian and development contexts. 

Violating Human Rights

Gender-based violence is a human rights violation and a serious obstacle to women’s progress in all areas of life.   We know that around the world, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.   In Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo it has been estimated that as many as 48 women are raped every hour.  More than 700 million women alive today were married as children.   As long as we are faced with these statistics we will strive to end this heinous violation of women and girls human rights.

 The Rippling Impact of Gender Based Violence

Gender-based violence is directed in the first instance at women and girls.  However, its consequences ripple outwards affecting all levels of society including family, community and nation state. At individual level survivors face long term physical, sexual, reproductive, emotional and psychological impacts, as well economic impacts. At family level the impacts create psychological, emotional and health issues often resulting in the breakdown of the family unit, the isolation and stigmatisation of women and children, and increasing poverty. At community level the impacts result in high levels of fear, stigmatisation and the loss of productive members of community, all creating an increased vulnerability and decreased resilience. Finally at the level of the nation state, the impacts are felt across, economic, political, and legislative spheres.

Moving Beyond Fear

We know that we can never achieve the shared global goals of gender equality, sustainable peace and sustainable development without addressing gender-based violence. We strive for a world where women and girls who have been victimised are supported and protected, not isolated and stigmatised. 

We believe in a world where being a woman or girl in a time of conflict does not mean the inevitability of rape, forced impregnation or sexual slavery. A world where young girls are afforded their rightful place in education and do not have to resist early and forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation or forced prostitution.  A world where no woman fears living in her own home, due to violence and abuse.   A world beyond fear for women and girls.

Our Moving Beyond Fear 16 Days Campaign

Today, Tuesday 2nd December 2014, the ICGBV are holding our annual conference ‘Moving Beyond Fear: Prioritising Safety for Women and Girls’.  We will host a range of speakers from across the world whose knowledge and expertise on gender based violence is unparalleled.  Speakers include Fiona Sampson of the 160 Girls Project, Claudia Paz Y Paz, the former Attorney General for Guatemala and Tom Meagher, whose personal experiences have moved him to become a leading voice in addressing men’s violence against women.   You can follow the conference using the hashtag #movingbeyondfear.

#MovingBeyondFear Online Campaign. 

Each day of the 16 Days campaign we have been sharing a message from one of our members and other key commentators on gender based violence.  Follow us on Twitter (@ICGBV & #movingbeyondfear) and email to receive conference updates as well as our latest news and views.

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