Up to 60% of women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Whether in the form of domestic violence perpetrated by an intimate partner, mass rape used as a weapon of war, or criminalization of reproductive rights, violence against women (VAW) remains one of the most pervasive violations of human rights across borders, cultures, and economic classes.
In the past three decades, much progress has been made in developing international legal frameworks to define, prevent, and prosecute VAW (see, for example, CEDAW, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889).
But there's still a long way to go. Last week, as I attended different events organized alongside the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, I heard three words over and over again: implementation, enforcement, and accountability.
So on this International Women's Day, we're highlighting some of the videos that are helping bridge this gap by exposing, documenting, and strengthening the call for an end to violence against women and girls - please share other your own examples in the comments field below!
1) One Million Signatures Campaign - In Iranian courts, the testimony of two women carries the same legal weight as the testimony of one man and women are not offered equal legal rights when it comes to marriage, divorce, and compensation. This activist-led campaign aims at mobilizing support to fight discriminatory laws against women in Iran:
2) The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo - shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006, this video was screened to UN representatives to push for a special session at the Security Council on women, peace and security. Resolution 1820 was one of the outcomes of that session.
3) The Girl Effect - produced by Nike Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, BRAC, CARE and others, this short animated video highlights importance of educating and prioritizing girls:
4) Think About it - Ipas.org's campaign in Brazil that used video to force people to think about what it really means to criminalize abortion:
5) Is this democracy? A Nigerian activist on one of the panels I attended told me about this one - in November of 2008, a Nigerian woman named Uzoma Okere was assaulted by Navy officers on a street in Lagos. The attack was captured on video and, 13 months later, Nigerian courts delivered what many are considering a landmark judgement in favor of Okere, sending a strong message that violence against women will no longer be tolerated. Read more on the case in the Nigerian Curiosity blog and on allAfrica: At Last, Justice for Uzoma Okere.
6) Women in Haiti - this latest video by ActionAid highlights the heightened insecurity facing women in Haiti after the January earthquake.
7) Every woman has a story, and every story can create change - see how WITNESS partners are working to end VAW by focusing on the disappearances of women and girls in Mexico; on discrimination against minority women in Yemen; and on political violence against women in Zimbabwe:
* UNIFEM - United Nations Development Fund for Women
* SAY NO - UNITE: End Violence Against Women
* Man Up Campaign - A Global initiative to engage youth in preventing VAW
**A huge thanks to Rose Anderson and Violeta Krasnic for the amazing research used in this post!