Vienna Femicide Team

Interview with Angela Me, UNODC, about focus on perpetrators in fight against femicide | Femicide Team

March 1, 2019 — Studies, Analyses, Reports
Summary:

Angela Me explains why UNODC’s new global homicide report on the gender-related killing of women and girls includes a chapter on perpetrators. She calls for enhanced research and data collection to better understand men who are perpetrators of violence -- what is behind the drivers of killing a partner or a daughter.

This interview has been published in the Femicide Volume 11 on Cyber Crimes Against Women. By Helena Hemblade, Vienna Femicide Team

Author(s) / Source: Vienna Femicide Team

 

Angela Me is Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch at UNODC and has been working at the UN for over 20 years. She holds a Phd in statistics from the University of Padua, Italy, and before joining the UNODC, she worked for several years in the UN Statistics Division and the UN Commission for Europe. Me has authored and overseen numerous publications on a range of topics from population, gender, disability, migration to drugs and crime.

Hemblade: What are the main challenges in collecting data on the killing of women and girls? And how does this translate to being able to analyse trends on a global level?

Me: There are two main challenges: first is the capacity of the recording in general; some countries are lacking behind in terms of the structure that they have in place to record crimes. Sometimes it‘s just manual reporting and by the time this arrives to a centralized national level, the information gets lost or is not precise. In rural or remote areas of some counties, crime is simply not reported and not recorded. In other countries, the killing of women is not reported or recorded because this is not considered a crime.

The second challenge is that even when you have a system in place for recording a crime, you may not have enough specification and granularity to distinguish the type of homicide. How many people are killed and with which method is not sufficient to understand the type of violence that caused the homicide and how to prevent it. To try to understand the way homicide affects women, it is important to have data disaggregated not only by the sex of victims and the age but also by the perpetrator, the reason and the context. Although we know that the majority of women are killed by their partners or family members, we need to have a precise picture. Another challenge is comparability because each country may define different disaggregating variables.

For example, some countries in Latin America have established femicide as a specific offence but data based on this is not comparable; what is defined as femicide in one country is not the same as a femicide in another country. So when you try to put together the data for regional and global analysis, there is an issue of comparability.

Hemblade: Why is the International Classification of Crime important?

Me: This links well with how we can address the above challenges. The classification is a tool that can help each country to work with the granularity that I was talking about earlier. The classification gives a framework that qualifies and disaggregates the crime in a way that can help in understanding the reasons behind it. This is very important because it helps to isolate the crime, for example, committed by a partner, family member in the context of a gender bias. The framework also helps with comparability. If all countries adopt the classification, we can definitely put together solid, comparable figures at a regional and global level.

Hemblade: In UNODC’s new global homicide report on the gender-related killing of women and girls, there is a chapter on perpetrators. Why was it important to include this?

Me: It is important to prevent the crime. There‘s been a lot of advancement in terms of research on violence against women (VAW), which is very much welcome. Twenty years ago when the international community started discussing the mandate on VAW data and statistics, many countries used to say that this was not an area for official statistics.

We’ve come a long way and today many countries have embedded VAW surveys in their national statistical systems. This is great, but I think that now we need to move to the next step and enhance research and data collection to understand men who are perpetrators of violence. In order to understand what is behind the drivers of killing a partner or a daughter, we need to work with men.

There‘s no other way. I think women have done a lot in terms of empowering themselves through hard work and sacrifices. But empowering yourself in a culture where nobody wants you to do so is very difficult. To create better enabling environments, we need to work with men, because it is only with them that we can have sustainable changes. We need to undertake research to understand what are the impediments for eliminating VAW and enabling female empowerment.

Hemblade: Do you have any research on perpetrator prevention programmes?

Me: When producing the report on gender related killings of women and girls, we tried to look at successful policies because we believed we had to provide the knowledge about the problem and also good practices to resolve the problem. But this undertaking proved to be quite difficult because we could not find many examples where scientific evidence could support the success of these kind of policies or programmes.

There’s been very little progress in reducing the number of women killed by their partner or family member despite a lot of action from member states. Many member states have changed legislations or have created specific legislations on VAW, but the global number of killings has been stable if not increasing.

We now need to work in two streams. One with the long-term objective of changing cultural stereotypes, which requires working with boys and girls in school and family settings to break gender stereotypes. The objective is not give prescriptive cultural models for boys and girls but to promote the idea that male and female need equal opportunities to play the role they want to play in the society without impositions on pre-defined roles.

In the short term, we need to work to protect the women who are at risk of violence and to make sure that there‘s no impunity. Progress has been made. In the past honour killings, for example, were tolerated by some criminal justice systems. We need to continue to make sure that the criminal justice has a proper response to the crime.

It’s important to teach both boys and girls to look for signs of abuse in their own relationships and their friends’ relationships so that they know how to intervene when it happens to them or people they know.

Women have paid a huge price in empowering themselves if you think of the many private and public battles. Women have defined different roles for themselves. But if we want to create a truly equal society, men need to go through the same transformation and establish an idea of manhood that rejects violence and the idea that men have to dominate on women. Much of the violence against women today is related to the dominant role that men play in society.

Hemblade: What are the major gaps in prevention and criminal justice of gender-related killings of females specifically in the context of intimate partner and family member victims?

Me: There are cultural gaps and weak prevention. Although many countries have made great efforts in protecting women providing, for example, shelters and phone lines in the last 20 years, it is not enough. Not enough is being done to give strength to women to leave violent relationships - that is the most difficult part. Women need to see this as a real option.

We need to help and empower women to first identify violent relationships, to understand what is healthy and acceptable. This should be done from a young age. In too many cases, women report violence to the authorities, even several times, but no action is taken. So it‘s also about training the criminal justice system and law enforcement to understand the critical issues and not to undermine the urgency and to act straight away.

Women need a “safe haven” - not dissimilar to the idea of refuges in conflict zones. We need to create a safe space for women so that they can leave a violent relationship with economic means, protection for the children and feeling that a different future is possible. Women are often in a difficult situation because they‘re not economically independent and We must also acknowledge that this happens on a large scale and it isn’t something that happens randomly. The killings of women by partners or family members often come after a long-term pattern of violence so these killings are preventable.

Hemblade: In the next ten years, what are you hoping to achieve in terms of collecting data?

Me: Well, first of all, I hope the UN can count on more and more countries to provide data on gender-related killings of women and girls. So hopefully in the next 10 years we have enough data to make more in depth comparisons on social economic factors and better understand how killings are carried out, the history of violence and the context of the relationship. Lastly, I hope that in 10 years we can have a global analysis that explain better men's behaviour and what drives them to become violent to the point of killing women.

You can find the UNODC Global Homicide Report 2018 here: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/GSH2018/GSH18_Gender-r... women_and_girls.pdf

#APRAN Studies, Analyses, Reports

Interview with Angela Me, UNODC, about focus on perpetrators in fight against femicide | Femicide Team

March 1, 2019
#femicide, #data, #data collection, #statistics, #UNODC, #perpetrator, #men

Executive Summary

Angela Me explains why UNODC’s new global homicide report on the gender-related killing of women and girls includes a chapter on perpetrators. She calls for enhanced research and data collection to better understand men who are perpetrators of violence -- what is behind the drivers of killing a partner or a daughter.

This interview has been published in the Femicide Volume 11 on Cyber Crimes Against Women. By Helena Hemblade, Vienna Femicide Team

Vienna Femicide Team

 

Angela Me is Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch at UNODC and has been working at the UN for over 20 years. She holds a Phd in statistics from the University of Padua, Italy, and before joining the UNODC, she worked for several years in the UN Statistics Division and the UN Commission for Europe. Me has authored and overseen numerous publications on a range of topics from population, gender, disability, migration to drugs and crime.

Hemblade: What are the main challenges in collecting data on the killing of women and girls? And how does this translate to being able to analyse trends on a global level?

Me: There are two main challenges: first is the capacity of the recording in general; some countries are lacking behind in terms of the structure that they have in place to record crimes. Sometimes it‘s just manual reporting and by the time this arrives to a centralized national level, the information gets lost or is not precise. In rural or remote areas of some counties, crime is simply not reported and not recorded. In other countries, the killing of women is not reported or recorded because this is not considered a crime.

The second challenge is that even when you have a system in place for recording a crime, you may not have enough specification and granularity to distinguish the type of homicide. How many people are killed and with which method is not sufficient to understand the type of violence that caused the homicide and how to prevent it. To try to understand the way homicide affects women, it is important to have data disaggregated not only by the sex of victims and the age but also by the perpetrator, the reason and the context. Although we know that the majority of women are killed by their partners or family members, we need to have a precise picture. Another challenge is comparability because each country may define different disaggregating variables.

For example, some countries in Latin America have established femicide as a specific offence but data based on this is not comparable; what is defined as femicide in one country is not the same as a femicide in another country. So when you try to put together the data for regional and global analysis, there is an issue of comparability.

Hemblade: Why is the International Classification of Crime important?

Me: This links well with how we can address the above challenges. The classification is a tool that can help each country to work with the granularity that I was talking about earlier. The classification gives a framework that qualifies and disaggregates the crime in a way that can help in understanding the reasons behind it. This is very important because it helps to isolate the crime, for example, committed by a partner, family member in the context of a gender bias. The framework also helps with comparability. If all countries adopt the classification, we can definitely put together solid, comparable figures at a regional and global level.

Hemblade: In UNODC’s new global homicide report on the gender-related killing of women and girls, there is a chapter on perpetrators. Why was it important to include this?

Me: It is important to prevent the crime. There‘s been a lot of advancement in terms of research on violence against women (VAW), which is very much welcome. Twenty years ago when the international community started discussing the mandate on VAW data and statistics, many countries used to say that this was not an area for official statistics.

We’ve come a long way and today many countries have embedded VAW surveys in their national statistical systems. This is great, but I think that now we need to move to the next step and enhance research and data collection to understand men who are perpetrators of violence. In order to understand what is behind the drivers of killing a partner or a daughter, we need to work with men.

There‘s no other way. I think women have done a lot in terms of empowering themselves through hard work and sacrifices. But empowering yourself in a culture where nobody wants you to do so is very difficult. To create better enabling environments, we need to work with men, because it is only with them that we can have sustainable changes. We need to undertake research to understand what are the impediments for eliminating VAW and enabling female empowerment.

Hemblade: Do you have any research on perpetrator prevention programmes?

Me: When producing the report on gender related killings of women and girls, we tried to look at successful policies because we believed we had to provide the knowledge about the problem and also good practices to resolve the problem. But this undertaking proved to be quite difficult because we could not find many examples where scientific evidence could support the success of these kind of policies or programmes.

There’s been very little progress in reducing the number of women killed by their partner or family member despite a lot of action from member states. Many member states have changed legislations or have created specific legislations on VAW, but the global number of killings has been stable if not increasing.

We now need to work in two streams. One with the long-term objective of changing cultural stereotypes, which requires working with boys and girls in school and family settings to break gender stereotypes. The objective is not give prescriptive cultural models for boys and girls but to promote the idea that male and female need equal opportunities to play the role they want to play in the society without impositions on pre-defined roles.

In the short term, we need to work to protect the women who are at risk of violence and to make sure that there‘s no impunity. Progress has been made. In the past honour killings, for example, were tolerated by some criminal justice systems. We need to continue to make sure that the criminal justice has a proper response to the crime.

It’s important to teach both boys and girls to look for signs of abuse in their own relationships and their friends’ relationships so that they know how to intervene when it happens to them or people they know.

Women have paid a huge price in empowering themselves if you think of the many private and public battles. Women have defined different roles for themselves. But if we want to create a truly equal society, men need to go through the same transformation and establish an idea of manhood that rejects violence and the idea that men have to dominate on women. Much of the violence against women today is related to the dominant role that men play in society.

Hemblade: What are the major gaps in prevention and criminal justice of gender-related killings of females specifically in the context of intimate partner and family member victims?

Me: There are cultural gaps and weak prevention. Although many countries have made great efforts in protecting women providing, for example, shelters and phone lines in the last 20 years, it is not enough. Not enough is being done to give strength to women to leave violent relationships - that is the most difficult part. Women need to see this as a real option.

We need to help and empower women to first identify violent relationships, to understand what is healthy and acceptable. This should be done from a young age. In too many cases, women report violence to the authorities, even several times, but no action is taken. So it‘s also about training the criminal justice system and law enforcement to understand the critical issues and not to undermine the urgency and to act straight away.

Women need a “safe haven” - not dissimilar to the idea of refuges in conflict zones. We need to create a safe space for women so that they can leave a violent relationship with economic means, protection for the children and feeling that a different future is possible. Women are often in a difficult situation because they‘re not economically independent and We must also acknowledge that this happens on a large scale and it isn’t something that happens randomly. The killings of women by partners or family members often come after a long-term pattern of violence so these killings are preventable.

Hemblade: In the next ten years, what are you hoping to achieve in terms of collecting data?

Me: Well, first of all, I hope the UN can count on more and more countries to provide data on gender-related killings of women and girls. So hopefully in the next 10 years we have enough data to make more in depth comparisons on social economic factors and better understand how killings are carried out, the history of violence and the context of the relationship. Lastly, I hope that in 10 years we can have a global analysis that explain better men's behaviour and what drives them to become violent to the point of killing women.

You can find the UNODC Global Homicide Report 2018 here: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/GSH2018/GSH18_Gender-r... women_and_girls.pdf

Global → femicide

Femicide Volume 1: A Global Issue that Demands Action | ACUNS Vienna

May 1, 2013 — Studies, Analyses, Reports
Summary:

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Vienna Liaison Office of ACUNS organized a one-day symposium on femicide in the United Nations (UN) Office in Vienna. Member State representatives, social scientists, NGO representatives, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about femicide, explain its meaning and causes, and presented examples of best practice in fighting femicide.

Author(s) / Source: Vienna Femicide Team

 

Femicide is the ultimate form of violence against women and girls and takes multiple forms. Its many causes are rooted in the historically unequal power relations between men and women and in systemic gender-based discrimination. For a case to be considered femicide there must be an implied intention to carry out the murder and a demonstrated connection between the crime and the female gender of the victim.1 So far, data on femicide have been highly unreliable and the estimated numbers of women who have been victims of femicides vary accordingly. Femicides take place in every country of the world. The greatest concern related to femicide is that these murders continue to be accepted, tolerated or justified – with impunity as the norm.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Vienna Liaison Office of ACUNS organized a one-day symposium on femicide in the United Nations (UN) Office in Vienna. (1) Member State representatives, social scientists, NGO representatives, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about femicide, explain its meaning and causes, and presented examples of best practice in fighting femicide.

This publication is the result of this symposium and comprises the speeches and presentations of the various experts of the symposium. They discussed the issue of femicide from different perspectives, addressed the problems related to femicide including impunity and proposed comprehensive ways to fight this crime efficiently. In addition to the speeches this publication contains further information about the major forms of femicide. These short articles give an overview of the various crimes, including a description of the extent of the respective form of femicide and best practice examples to fight this crime. The list of examples is by no means exhaustive but all should be considered murder under the law. In September 2012 an important step was taken in El-Salvador to elaborate a “Protocol for the investigation and documentation of extreme violence against women”, which can be found in this publication.

This publication also contains the first UN document to focus on gender-based killings, the 2012 report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, to the Human Rights Council. In response to the presentation of this report sixty four states issued a statement that member states “must exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators”.
The aim of this publication is to inform practitioners, Member State representatives, NGO workers, legislators, prosecutors and any other relevant actors who can contribute to putting an end to femicide. With this information about the diverse campaigns, we hope that efforts can be combined and strengthened to end this hideous crime once and for all.

Claire Laurent and Michael Platzer
ACUNS Vienna Liason Office

1 The symposium was organized with the kind support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs; the Permanent Missions to the UN Office at Vienna of Austria, Argentina, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Small Arms Survey and the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women.

#APRAN Studies, Analyses, Reports

Femicide Volume 1: A Global Issue that Demands Action | ACUNS Vienna

May 1, 2013
#femicide, #definition, #symposium, #declaration

Executive Summary

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Vienna Liaison Office of ACUNS organized a one-day symposium on femicide in the United Nations (UN) Office in Vienna. Member State representatives, social scientists, NGO representatives, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about femicide, explain its meaning and causes, and presented examples of best practice in fighting femicide.

Vienna Femicide Team

 

Femicide is the ultimate form of violence against women and girls and takes multiple forms. Its many causes are rooted in the historically unequal power relations between men and women and in systemic gender-based discrimination. For a case to be considered femicide there must be an implied intention to carry out the murder and a demonstrated connection between the crime and the female gender of the victim.1 So far, data on femicide have been highly unreliable and the estimated numbers of women who have been victims of femicides vary accordingly. Femicides take place in every country of the world. The greatest concern related to femicide is that these murders continue to be accepted, tolerated or justified – with impunity as the norm.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Vienna Liaison Office of ACUNS organized a one-day symposium on femicide in the United Nations (UN) Office in Vienna. (1) Member State representatives, social scientists, NGO representatives, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about femicide, explain its meaning and causes, and presented examples of best practice in fighting femicide.

This publication is the result of this symposium and comprises the speeches and presentations of the various experts of the symposium. They discussed the issue of femicide from different perspectives, addressed the problems related to femicide including impunity and proposed comprehensive ways to fight this crime efficiently. In addition to the speeches this publication contains further information about the major forms of femicide. These short articles give an overview of the various crimes, including a description of the extent of the respective form of femicide and best practice examples to fight this crime. The list of examples is by no means exhaustive but all should be considered murder under the law. In September 2012 an important step was taken in El-Salvador to elaborate a “Protocol for the investigation and documentation of extreme violence against women”, which can be found in this publication.

This publication also contains the first UN document to focus on gender-based killings, the 2012 report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, to the Human Rights Council. In response to the presentation of this report sixty four states issued a statement that member states “must exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators”.
The aim of this publication is to inform practitioners, Member State representatives, NGO workers, legislators, prosecutors and any other relevant actors who can contribute to putting an end to femicide. With this information about the diverse campaigns, we hope that efforts can be combined and strengthened to end this hideous crime once and for all.

Claire Laurent and Michael Platzer
ACUNS Vienna Liason Office

1 The symposium was organized with the kind support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs; the Permanent Missions to the UN Office at Vienna of Austria, Argentina, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Small Arms Survey and the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women.

Global → VAW

Major campaigns against VAW and femicide | Vienna Femicide Team

September 1, 2018 — Grassroots, Advocacy, Campaigns
Summary:

Helena Gabriel, member of the Vienna Femicide Team, provides a list of the most inspirational and effective campaigns against femicide, their purposes, outcomes and strategies.

Author(s) / Source: Vienna Femicide Team

 

This article has been published in Femicide Volume X.

CAMPAIGNS AGAINST FEMICIDE

The existence of the practice of femicide is widely accepted, laws against it have been implemented and policies fighting gender-related killings have been established – on paper a lot has changed since Diana E. H. Russell introduced the term femicide for the first time during the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in 1976.

Nevertheless, the famous findings of Jacqueline Campbell are still valid, “all women are at risk of femicide” and the fear of becoming a victim of gender-related killing accompanies a large number of women day by day. Globally the number of gender-motivated killings is rising. Further, in many regions discriminatory societal systems intensify due to war, extremism or humanitarian crisises such as extreme poverty. In many societies women are still automatically of lower value than men. Hence, all legal efforts to end femicides and violence against women have not yet fully reached the social level, where gender-related killings are actually happening. Femicide, the most extreme case of gender-based violence, can thus be seen as a "barometer" in terms of testing the attitudes of a whole nation towards violence against women.

This is where the importance of educational campaigns and civil society movements has to be outlined.

Over years social engagements have been the driving force of a growing political will and legal adjustments to end violence against women and also the cornerstone of the empowerment of women and girls in combating and eliminating violence against themselves. They work hard to end the societal and medial invisibility of violence against women, which is often aggravated by a hierarchy of the dead.

Further, joint rebellion has led to a broader recognition of the actual extent of this worrying subject and with that to a stronger conciousness of the costs and consequences of gender-motivated violence or killings for not only women but also men. Thus, many educational campaigns follow a strategy of fighting root causes instead of single symtoms as femicide can only be antagonized with the extermination of all kinds of gender discrimination, social, political and legal misogyny as well as structures of male dominance.

The world has seen a wave of powerful protest against gender-related killings. Millions of women and men all over the world have contributed and sacrificed a lot in order to end violence against women. Others must join these challenging efforts in order to make the content of the booklet at hand history instead of reality. The following paragraphs are dedicated to the most inspirational and effective campaigns against femicide, their purposes, outcomes and strategies.

Orange the World
Every year UN Women and its partners around the world mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10th December (International Human Rights Day) using the colour orange as a visible signature. Worldwide important buildings and monuments are oranged during that specific period of time in order to set a visible sign to end violence against women. The orange lighting of important buildings is accompanied by an educational campaign and diverse informational events around the world.
Further information can be found on www.unwomen.org.

Ni Una Menos
#NiUnaMenos which translates to #NotOneLess symbolizes a highly effective Argentinean campaign against gender-based violence. The movement arose from the fact that In Argentina every 30 hours a woman is murdered simply because she is a woman. Starting with the awareness raising of a few journalists, activists and artists the campaign developed into a collective outcry demanding the end of femicide in Argentina. Thousands of people joined hundreds of organizations throughout the whole country. On June 3rd 2015 #NiUnaMenos reached its peak, when 200,000 people protested on the Plaza del Congreso in Buenos Aires, due to the number of recent and extremely brutal cases of gender-motivated killings.
Further information can be found on www.niunamenos.com.ar.

Red Shoes movement
Zapatos Rojos or Red Shoes is an artistic installation setting a sign against gender-based killings in Mexico by the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet. The so-called “silent protest” consisted of 33 red or red-painted shoes, which were arranged like a protest march of absent women, women who became victims of gender-related killings and never received justice. The first project of this kind was realized in May 2015 in Ciudad Juarez, a border city between Mexico and the United States, where the number of gender-related murders is disproportionately high. Public attention towards Zapatos Rojos was high. Soon imitators around the world intensified the outreach of this attempt to raise awareness of the societal costs of the practice of femicide.

White Ribbon Campaign
Violence against women is rooted in gender inequalities that, to a certain extent, still exist in all societies around this world. The White Ribbon Campaign is one attempt to change this, following a completely new approach. The White Ribbon Campaign is a collective outcry of men and boys to end violence against women. Men who are wearing the White Ribbon officially declare their rejection of violence against women and promise to stand up against it. The campaign was initiated in Canada in 1991 and has expanded its sphere of action ever since. Men are part of the solution and cannot be excluded from the fight against gender-based violence or killings. Further information can, inter-alia, be found on www.eige.europa.eu.

UNiTE to End Violence against Women
UNiTE was launched in 2008. Since then it has aimed to raise public as well as political awareness of the prevention and elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. The aim of this campaign is to mobilize individuals as well as communities, governments and international organizations to join forces in order to enable change. UNiTE unites all actors within the fight against gender-based violence and its most severe form, namely, femicide.
Further information can be found on www.un.org/en/women/endviolence.

Blue Heart Campaign
“Have a heart for victims of human trafficking” is the principle of the Blue Heart Campaign, an initiative that makes aware of a crime that shames us all. Millions of people become victims of human trafficking, a modern form of slavery, every year. In order to raise awareness on this issue the UNODC has created this campaign, which is open to all those who want to participate and wear the Blue Heart to set a visible sign against human trafficking.
Further information can be found on www.unodc.org/BlueHeart.

About the author

Helena Gabriel is a passionate human right activist with a strong focus on women’s rights. During her work in this field ending violence against women has become a matter close to her heart. Currently she engages at the UN Women National Committee Austria, where she works on the Orange the World campaign and ACUNS Vienna Liaison, where she just recently became the managing editor of FEMICIDE, the resource book at hand.

#APRAN Grassroots, Advocacy, Campaigns

Major campaigns against VAW and femicide | Vienna Femicide Team

September 1, 2018
#campaigns, #EU, #femicide, #VAW, #Ni Una Menos, #Argentine, #Mexico, #Canada, #UNODC

Executive Summary

Helena Gabriel, member of the Vienna Femicide Team, provides a list of the most inspirational and effective campaigns against femicide, their purposes, outcomes and strategies.

Helena Gabriel — Vienna Femicide Team

 

This article has been published in Femicide Volume X.

CAMPAIGNS AGAINST FEMICIDE

The existence of the practice of femicide is widely accepted, laws against it have been implemented and policies fighting gender-related killings have been established – on paper a lot has changed since Diana E. H. Russell introduced the term femicide for the first time during the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in 1976.

Nevertheless, the famous findings of Jacqueline Campbell are still valid, “all women are at risk of femicide” and the fear of becoming a victim of gender-related killing accompanies a large number of women day by day. Globally the number of gender-motivated killings is rising. Further, in many regions discriminatory societal systems intensify due to war, extremism or humanitarian crisises such as extreme poverty. In many societies women are still automatically of lower value than men. Hence, all legal efforts to end femicides and violence against women have not yet fully reached the social level, where gender-related killings are actually happening. Femicide, the most extreme case of gender-based violence, can thus be seen as a "barometer" in terms of testing the attitudes of a whole nation towards violence against women.

This is where the importance of educational campaigns and civil society movements has to be outlined.

Over years social engagements have been the driving force of a growing political will and legal adjustments to end violence against women and also the cornerstone of the empowerment of women and girls in combating and eliminating violence against themselves. They work hard to end the societal and medial invisibility of violence against women, which is often aggravated by a hierarchy of the dead.

Further, joint rebellion has led to a broader recognition of the actual extent of this worrying subject and with that to a stronger conciousness of the costs and consequences of gender-motivated violence or killings for not only women but also men. Thus, many educational campaigns follow a strategy of fighting root causes instead of single symtoms as femicide can only be antagonized with the extermination of all kinds of gender discrimination, social, political and legal misogyny as well as structures of male dominance.

The world has seen a wave of powerful protest against gender-related killings. Millions of women and men all over the world have contributed and sacrificed a lot in order to end violence against women. Others must join these challenging efforts in order to make the content of the booklet at hand history instead of reality. The following paragraphs are dedicated to the most inspirational and effective campaigns against femicide, their purposes, outcomes and strategies.

Orange the World
Every year UN Women and its partners around the world mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10th December (International Human Rights Day) using the colour orange as a visible signature. Worldwide important buildings and monuments are oranged during that specific period of time in order to set a visible sign to end violence against women. The orange lighting of important buildings is accompanied by an educational campaign and diverse informational events around the world.
Further information can be found on www.unwomen.org.

Ni Una Menos
#NiUnaMenos which translates to #NotOneLess symbolizes a highly effective Argentinean campaign against gender-based violence. The movement arose from the fact that In Argentina every 30 hours a woman is murdered simply because she is a woman. Starting with the awareness raising of a few journalists, activists and artists the campaign developed into a collective outcry demanding the end of femicide in Argentina. Thousands of people joined hundreds of organizations throughout the whole country. On June 3rd 2015 #NiUnaMenos reached its peak, when 200,000 people protested on the Plaza del Congreso in Buenos Aires, due to the number of recent and extremely brutal cases of gender-motivated killings.
Further information can be found on www.niunamenos.com.ar.

Red Shoes movement
Zapatos Rojos or Red Shoes is an artistic installation setting a sign against gender-based killings in Mexico by the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet. The so-called “silent protest” consisted of 33 red or red-painted shoes, which were arranged like a protest march of absent women, women who became victims of gender-related killings and never received justice. The first project of this kind was realized in May 2015 in Ciudad Juarez, a border city between Mexico and the United States, where the number of gender-related murders is disproportionately high. Public attention towards Zapatos Rojos was high. Soon imitators around the world intensified the outreach of this attempt to raise awareness of the societal costs of the practice of femicide.

White Ribbon Campaign
Violence against women is rooted in gender inequalities that, to a certain extent, still exist in all societies around this world. The White Ribbon Campaign is one attempt to change this, following a completely new approach. The White Ribbon Campaign is a collective outcry of men and boys to end violence against women. Men who are wearing the White Ribbon officially declare their rejection of violence against women and promise to stand up against it. The campaign was initiated in Canada in 1991 and has expanded its sphere of action ever since. Men are part of the solution and cannot be excluded from the fight against gender-based violence or killings. Further information can, inter-alia, be found on www.eige.europa.eu.

UNiTE to End Violence against Women
UNiTE was launched in 2008. Since then it has aimed to raise public as well as political awareness of the prevention and elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. The aim of this campaign is to mobilize individuals as well as communities, governments and international organizations to join forces in order to enable change. UNiTE unites all actors within the fight against gender-based violence and its most severe form, namely, femicide.
Further information can be found on www.un.org/en/women/endviolence.

Blue Heart Campaign
“Have a heart for victims of human trafficking” is the principle of the Blue Heart Campaign, an initiative that makes aware of a crime that shames us all. Millions of people become victims of human trafficking, a modern form of slavery, every year. In order to raise awareness on this issue the UNODC has created this campaign, which is open to all those who want to participate and wear the Blue Heart to set a visible sign against human trafficking.
Further information can be found on www.unodc.org/BlueHeart.

About the author

Helena Gabriel is a passionate human right activist with a strong focus on women’s rights. During her work in this field ending violence against women has become a matter close to her heart. Currently she engages at the UN Women National Committee Austria, where she works on the Orange the World campaign and ACUNS Vienna Liaison, where she just recently became the managing editor of FEMICIDE, the resource book at hand.