New Tactics: Violence Against Women and Moving Towards Legal Reform | The Center for Victims of Torture

New Tactics: Violence Against Women and Moving Towards Legal Reform

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Domestic violence. Child marriage. Sex slavery. Indefinite servitude. These are a few of the pervasive forms of violence women around the world experience. Women in these situations almost never seek help, let alone report it to the police. Because of the lack of safe mechanisms and weak laws, less than 40 percent of women who face violence seek any help, according to UN Women.

While global movements on preventing violence against women have fought for progress for many decades and in many countries where women’s empowerment is still an ongoing struggle, without moving towards legal reform—governments not only fail their obligations to human rights commitments to women but they aren’t being held accountable in strengthening laws that provide justice for women. Many women continue to be re-victimized through a system that fails to protect them. The majority of women are core caretakers of their families, and violence hinders their well-being and deters their participation in society. Taking the necessary steps to push for legal reform can effectively provide the means to creating stronger systems to address violence against women.

This week, CVT’s New Tactics in Human Rights program is hosting an online conversation on “Violence against Women: Advocating for Legal Reform,” led by expert advocates with a wealth of diverse knowledge in the field of preventing violence against women. Conversation leaders include ARROW (The Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women), Grecia Lozano of Centro de Derechos de Mujeres/Women’s Rights Centre; Shelly Carlson, Amy Lauricella and Cheryl Thomas of Global Rights for Women; Shelby Quast and Jacqui Hunt of Equality Now; Ivy Josiah of Women’s Aid Organization, and Christine M. Evans of Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

New Tactics set the tone by framing questions for participants on effective strategies and tools that advocates have used. An engaging online discussion kicked off with some of these key takeaways so far:

  • Legal reform must be identified and informed by survivors and the communities they live in
  • Compelling communication strategies that implement advocacy are vital in amplifying legal reform
  • Documentation of survivor stories by service providers is crucial to gathering data about the realities women face
  • Holding countries accountable to international commitments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals is part of driving accountability
  • Empowering survivors and front-line service providers as leading advocates is imperative in the path towards legal reform
  • A comprehensive approach to legal reform needs to be supported by community leaders who can shift cultural perspectives  
  • Young advocates should be supported as they play a key role in lifting and amplifying the issues
  •  Civil Society organizations and case studies provide insight into evidence-based support in many diverse contexts

By strengthening laws that will provide safe and accessible mechanisms for women to report violence and seek justice, governments are strategically positioning themselves to better understand and value the human rights of women and send the signal that violence against women is unacceptable everywhere.

Join the "Violence against Women: Advocating for Legal Reform" online conversation, which runs through September 30th. Learn more about CVT's New Tactics in Human Rights program. 

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