Eliminating Violence Against Women

  Worldwide, at least one in three women are victims of violence. It is the most pervasive human rights violation on earth - present in every country, every culture, every religion, every class.

Violence against women and girls is both a global and local societal ill—global because its perpetrators and victims are in every corner of the world, and local because its forms differ from one place to the next depending on specific cultural, political and socio-economic circumstances.

Whatever the form of abuse (domestic violence, violence in conflict situations, etc.) and the analysis of its causes, the defining feature of this violence is the perpetrators’ goal of controlling women and girls. This control entails the imposition of certain gender roles on females, restrictions on women’s and girls’ physical movements and even efforts to own their bodies as property. Although the perpetrators of this violence are generally men, women may be complicit in sustaining and fortifying male dominance in all aspects of life.

In fact, a vicious circle is at work: women and girls are easy targets of violence because men assume the gate-keeper role vis-à-vis cultural and religious values, resisting new ideas that may subvert their authority and privilege. For those women and girls who reject gender-based abuse as a normal part of everyday life, there are few avenues of redress that are not littered with political and economic obstacles.

Women’s Learning Partnership addresses the ongoing challenges posed to women by violence at the family, workplace, and societal levels through our training program, which is aimed at empowering women with the ability, skills, and tools to be agents in their own lives. Our trainings are conducted with women who confront violence on a daily basis including refugee women in Zimbabwe, victims of trafficking and domestic violence in Kazakhstan and Malaysia, women affected by HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, and women living in conflict and post conflict situations in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine.

WLP also supports multi-year, research intensive campaigns that advocate at the national level for the legal right at the national to be free from violence as well as implementation of these legal rights.

Victories Over Violence: The Practitioner’s Manual to Ensuring Safety for Women and Girls is WLP’s training manual to raise awareness in communities of the rights of women and girls to live free from violence, of the extent of violence and the short- and long-term harm done not only to victims but also to the society at large. The manual is also aimed to educate professionals and enable them to acquire a body of expert knowledge as well as a gendered perspective to apply to the tasks of preventing violence against women and addressing its impact on victims, perpetrators and society as a whole.

In WLP’s 35-minute long 2012 film, From Fear to Freedom: Ending Violence Against Women leading experts and activists from across the globe discuss the root causes of gender-based violence, share strategies to combat it, and provide inspiring accounts of the important milestones already achieved through the international women’s movement.

 In Afghanistan, a nation plagued by insecurity, girls are not free to attend school in many parts of the country and women continue to experience various forms of violence, social restrictions, and constraints to free and full participation. In Palestine, violence and rising poverty disrupt everyday life and create an environment of fear. In Egypt and Morocco, expanding fundamentalism threatens women’s rights groups. In Iran, the strengthening of religious radicalism and enforcement of extremist interpretations of Islamic Shari’a law have severely restricted women’s legal rights. In Zimbabwe, the government routinely arrests and tortures women's rights activists as part of its crackdown on the opposition.

WLP has also translated and published two innovative resources and advocacy tools from the Global South on violence against women. The first is a book on the One Million Signatures campaign in Iran that documents the advocacy strategies used in closed societies. The second, Guide to Equality in the Family in the Maghreb, is a unique advocacy tool for the reform of family law in Muslim-majority societies. The Guide presents the current state of the family law, and then proposes religious, human rights, sociological, and domestic legal arguments for reform, well-supported by relevant data.

Finally, WLP supports the participation of diverse speakers in cross-regional panels that it organizes, and in international conversations and dialogues. In November 2012, WLP issued a statement to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, calling on the UN and its member states to

  • Recognise the increasing violations to the rights of women and increasing manifestations on gender-based violence;
  • Publicly condemn any state or non-state entity perpetrating or contributing to these forms of violence;
  • Ensure that international instruments are binding, adhered to, and sanctionable in cases of violation;
  • Recognise and support the efforts of the women’s movement in denouncing and challenging the combined impact of extremism, militarism, and fundamentalism, which is resulting in the curbing of the human rights of women and girls worldwide.
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On Thursday March 17 at the New School; leaders, government officials, and activists came together for the 60th Session of the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women in New York, Women’s Learning Partnership and the Gender Studies Program at The New School convened a discussion on the relationship between family law reform and combating gender-based violence. This event marked the launch of a new WLP initiative on family law reform supported by the International Development Resource Center.
November 23, 2015 | 16 Days, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, Human Rights, Stop Violence Against Women, Fear to Freedom, Human Rights: The Unfinished Journey, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Victories over Violence, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, Zimbabwe
Take a stand! Join WLP in the worldwide campaign to end gender-based violence.On November 25, 2015, Women's Learning Partnership joins the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University, along with over 5,478 organizations and other participants from 187 countries and territories, in the launch of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. The 2015 Campaign theme, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All, highlights the increase of violent attacks against women and girls who claim their right to education, and the continued barriers to women's and girls' education across the globe. You can find more information on our WLP Partner Activities Calendar and on the CWGL 16 Days Campaign home page.
July 2, 2015 | Advocacy, Africa, Human Rights, penal code, Stop Violence Against Women, Victories over Violence, Morocco
In response to the recent arrest of two Moroccan women for violating “public modesty” laws by wearing short skirts, WLP ‎Morocco‬/Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) along with other women's rights organizations convened a protest on Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Rabat. Read more here (Arabic). ADFM also issued the below statement to demand that the Moroccan government take necessary measures to protect women’s personal choice of clothing.
May 26, 2015 | abortion, Human Rights, Middle East, Stop Violence Against Women, women's health, Morocco
In a public statement released May 25, 2015, WLP Morocco/L’Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) expressed their “deep disappointment” concerning recently passed abortion legislation.
S:SSO to Sakai