Preventing Structural Violence
Over the last decade activists in the MENA/Asia region have noticed a serious spike in new and alarming forms of violence against women largely related to conflict, extremism and political upheavals. Some observers believe that societal tolerance for violence as a result of recent political developments, revolutions and upheavals has increased. For example, sexual violence in conflict as witnessed in Syria, mob sexual attacks against women in Egypt, the emergence of Jihadi brides from Tunisia, the increase in sexual exploitation of women and girls as was the case with Yazidi women captured by ISIS, or the lynching and stoning of women in public spaces due to charges of blasphemy or sexuality, indicate that violence against women is being exhibited and carried out in a more public and collective manner. These trends are different than past decades where the effort to curtail violence was focused largely on private forms of violence perpetuated through lack of legal protections and culture.
While women’s movements have to think creatively and strategically about addressing new and emerging forms of violence, they are also tackling long-standing forms of violence, which continue to exist in these contexts.
ICAN partners work to transform social systems and societal norms, which perpetuate inequality. They are committed to addressing the underlying causes of violence and have been offering innovative solutions to some of the most critical social problems in their contexts. Some examples of programs implemented by ICAN partners include: awareness raising programs designed to impact public discourse and change societal behavior, provision of training, community mobilization, economic empowerment programs, legal reform, promotion of women’s social and political participation and advocacy.
“We have to work collectively to maintain the space of civil society, the gains of women’s movements and gains of women with respect to rights”
ICAN supports innovative approaches of partners in addressing violence against women and its root causes through the following efforts:
- Provision of small grants: We provide small grants to partners who innovatively work to tackle gender-based violence and its root causes.
- South-South exchange and collaboration: We facilitate opportunities for practitioners and women’s movement activists to learn from one another, collaborate and share innovative strategies in addressing and preventing gender based violence. These opportunities can be in person opportunities or online spaces where information about efforts can be shared.
- Analysis and Advocacy: ICAN and its partners provide analysis on emerging trends or issues of importance, through policy papers, op-eds and media interviews, with the aim of impacting policy globally and locally.