Victories over Violence: Ensuring Safety for Women and Girls - A Practitioner's Manual

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.

Authors: Mahnaz Afkhami, Haleh Vaziri

Whatever the form of abuse and the analysis of its causes, the defining feature of violence against women 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.

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Victories over Violence: Ensuring Safety for Women and Girls is a practitioners' manual, comprised of 16 sessions which unfold in a progression—moving from violence at home or in the private sphere, to the community or public space, to the transnational and international arenas. Case studies in each session are drawn from actual events and feature stories set in societies as diverse as Haiti, Malaysia, Nepal, and the United States. This enables the facilitator and participants to explore the linkages between violence in these three realms—the private, public and global—while underscoring the point that gender-based human rights violations are ubiquitous and defy cultural, economic, ethnic, political, religious and other divisions.

Within each session, the case study serves to spark conversation about the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls, the choices that victims make to survive and re-build their lives, as well as the measures practitioners take in addressing these human rights violations. Following the case studies are “questions for discussion,” and all but the last two sessions feature learning exercises.

The resulting dialogue allows the participants to identify and prioritize their concerns and to recognize obstacles as they strive to prevent violence and to vindicate the human rights of those victimized by it.

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