Raising Awareness — Demanding Equality

Tragically, the World Health Organization estimates that one in three women will face physical, mental or sexual abuse in their lifetimes.

Working to change this awful statistic, International Medical Corps joined the global community in raising awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign that spans November 25 through December 10.

Significant strides have been made in raising awareness of GBV since the first 16 Days campaign in 1991. But much work remains to be done. This has been highlighted in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many women into confined, stressful spaces with their abusers and cut off crucial services to women and girls whose lives may depend on them.

Micah Williams, our Global Gender-based Violence Advisor, described GBV during this pandemic as the “invisible emergency inside the emergency.”

That’s why, despite the challenging conditions, our teams have worked hard to adapt our GBV services and ensure that they remain open and accessible to anyone who needs them. In Ethiopia, our GBV teams are providing group psychosocial support and skill-building sessions for survivors at our women and girl-friendly spaces. In Lebanon, our GBV teams have worked creatively to continue providing services online and in-person with extra precautionary measures in place.

In Nigeria, our women-friendly spaces, where women can chat, participate in skill-building activities and access gender-based violence support services, have remained open and even helped to protect their communities from COVID-19.

With lockdowns in place and mass gatherings being avoided across the world, many of our teams have not been able to mark 16 Days with the marches and community singing and dancing as they’ve done in years prior. But that didn’t stop our Pakistan team from marking the important occasion.

The team kicked off the campaign by holding a series of community activities where they discussed how everyone can work together to end violence against women and girls.

These activities continued throughout the campaign, with our team holding interactive sessions with community leaders and volunteers in villages that host displaced communities. Among the volunteers, meet the awesome Jamil ⬇️.

In these sessions, our team worked alongside community leaders and volunteers to raise awareness about GBV in all its forms by discussing harmful stereotypes, attitudes and much more.

The team also held art activity sessions that aimed to amplify the stories of survivors by illustrating their strength, resilience and courage.

These 16 Days activities are by no means rare for our Pakistan team — they’re committed to raising awareness of and working to end GBV every day. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in the north-west of the country, our teams conduct awareness-raising sessions on gender roles, discussing how traditional stereotypes are harmful not only to women but to all of society. Awareness-raising sessions include specially tailored discussions with teenagers to help prevent the formation of attitudes and behaviors that may be harmful to women and girls later in life. Our team is also working with multiple healthcare facilities to integrate GBV healthcare, both mental and physical, into their services to make them as accessible as possible for GBV survivors.

Though this year’s 16 Days has ended, we’ll continue to work as hard as ever, 365 days a year, to tackle GBV in all of its forms. And you can join us in those efforts. Click the button below to sign up for emails and learn how together, we can make the world a better place for us all.

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International Med. Corps

International Med. Corps

International Medical Corps relieves the suffering of those impacted by conflict, natural disaster and disease by delivering medical relief and training.