Dear Members, Dear Colleagues
On the 25th of November, 22, the UN Women will launch the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women followed by16 days of activism that will culminate on 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
During these16 Days, the UN Women is encouraging everyone to get involved: survivors, activists, women’s organizations and feminist movements to collaborate and unite to empower survivors, reduce and prevent violence against women and girls.
10 ways to end violence against women recommended by UN Women.
1. Speak up, speak out
Violence against women is pervasive, but it’s not inevitable—unless we stay silent.
Let survivors and activists know you stand with them. Amplify their voices and stories. Create spaces for dialogue, both in person and online. Use #OrangeTheWorld, #16Days and #PushForward to start your own conversation about gender-based violence.
2. Know the issue—and the signs
Mental health professionals need to know what to look for and learn how to senstively enquire about violence in all their patient encounters.
3. Call out sexual harassment in all its forms.
4. Challenge beliefs on masculinity because toxic masculinity drives violence. Ask for violent behaviors among your male patients and address them.
5. Fund women’s organizations as investing in women’s movements matters. Become members of societies such as IAWMH to advocate and become leaders in your
6. Call for better responses and services
This means that shelters, hotlines, counseling and all support for survivors of gender-based violence need to be available for those in need, even during crises, conflict and emergencies. Offer training in Trauma informed care to counsellors.
7. Demand more data
Relevant data collection is key to implementing successful prevention measures and providing survivors with the right support. And yet the collection of sex-disaggregated and other crucial gender data remains a low priority for governments.
8. Push for stronger laws
We are still 21 years away from comprehensive laws banning violence against women to be in place globally. The world needs stronger protection mechanisms to prevent and eliminate violence, harassment, threats, intimidation, and discrimination against women human rights defenders and women’s rights advocates and activists.
9. Support women’s leadership
Women's voices need to be heard and they should be involved at every level of decision-making and policy development. Call for women’s increased representation in leadership, and for heightened protections for women in positions of power. Take matters into your own hands—become the woman leader you want to see in the world.
10. Build solidarity with other movements
We’re stronger when we work together.
Mental health professionals can offer leadership in many ways. I appeal to our members to try and do atleast one thing during the next 16 days to eliminate violence against women.
Use our social media handles with #iawmhorangetheworld
Prabha S. Chandra MD, FRCPE, FRCPsych, FAMS