There is no excuse for violence against women and there is no excuse for ignoring it.
This is the rallying cry of the campaign from the World YWCA. “This is your fault; you’ve dishonoured the whole family!” The NoXcuses campaign questions the validity of similar sentences commonly used when a violent act is committed. Oftentimes, both parties involved in such an act don’t realise that no excuse is acceptable as violence is a violation of women’s fundamental human rights.
What is the WWV?
The YWCA Week without Violence is an annual global campaign to stop violence in all its forms. Throughout the week activities focus on raising awareness, promoting attitude change and enabling individuals and organisations to begin positive actions towards ending violence in their communities. Every year during the third week of October, YWCAs from all over the world promote and encourage a Week without Violence – a week-long series of community events promoting diverse approaches to creating a world free of violence. The YWCA Week without Violence encourages communities to think and act towards a world without violence.
For decades, the World YWCA movement has taken action in communities, schools, workplaces and public forums to raise awareness of violence against women, its widespread existence, and its impact on families and societies. Around the world, the YWCA is well-known for providing safe spaces for women and girls experiencing violence and empowering women socially and economically to exercise their right to freedom from violence. The WWV has the following objectives:
- Mobilise local communities to condemn violence in all its forms and promote peaceful resolution of conflict.
- Raise awareness about violence all the different forms that violence can take against women and girls.
- Generate collective action to influence local, national and international policy and law to effectively end violence against women and girls.
- Promote support services and remedies for survivors of violence, including safe housing, health, legal and counselling services and targeted education initiatives to ensure victims are treated with dignity and respect.
Suggested Actions and Activities
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
- Educate yourself on the culture of VAW, i.e. what are the different forms that violence can take
- Educate yourself on gender stereotypes and harmful traditional practices that perpetuate VAW
- Know your rights and educate yourself on laws that exist and that protect women from violence
- Hold governments accountable – Push your local politicians/representatives/decision makers for more legal protection
- Help push the implementation of legislation against violence, as well as the full implementation of UNSCR 1325
- Educate yourself on current events and laws that are being voted
- Raise awareness within your community on these issues
- Contact your local YWCA for events to get involved in and/or organise
- Help provide comprehensive support to survivors of violence by volunteering at shelters, safes houses and rehabilitation programmes
- Contribute to redefining masculinity and the role of men/boys in society by breaking down gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality
IF YOU KNOW A WOMAN WHO IS IN A SITUATION OF PHYSICAL, SEXUAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL VIOLENCE:
- Talk to her, show her that you recognise what’s happening without pressuring her, if she does not want to talk to you, try to find someone she might want to talk to (a friend, sister, local YWCA, etc)
- Inform her on her rights and encourage her to call emergency numbers and give her the address of Associations where she can seek advice and shelter.
- Encourage her to see a doctor if she has experienced physical or sexual violence so that it is documented
- Where possible, encourage her to seek help from the local authorities.
Download the Week Without Violence 2015 Toolkit here