Skip to main content

Day 3: United State of Women Summit

Gender Based Violence

Thursday, the final day of the ‪#‎Gender360Summit‬, was about how to prevent gender based violence (GBV) on adolescents and the challenges in doing that. It was stated that violence against women and girls was ultimate abuse of power is one of the most heinous and prevalent human rights abuses.
Some drivers of gender based violence:
1. Patriarchy, resulting in practices such as female foeticide and infanticide
2. Gender norms: needing to preserve culture and tradition with dehumanizing norms such as early marriage, female genital mutilation
3. Masculine norms of behavior: dominance and control
There was a talk about violence against children in schools and how this could be changed by changing the way we speak about schools: RaisingVoices
There was a lot of discussion about how to bring adolescents to the table to design, run, evaluate and improve their programs. I found this hard to imagine doing well in a context where adolescent girls are hidden away in homes. I still have questions about this and this seemed the most loved concept of the day.

The Horrors of Bride price

Violence against adolescents is scary. Adolescent girls have to go against age and gender norms to say no, and they often don't know the can if the perpetrator is known to them. Adolescent boys get abused too, and this violence is primarily physical violence through the hands of teachers, peers and caregivers. Adolescent girls, on the other hand, face sexual violence often by their romantic partners. Other forms of violence against adolescent girls were honor killings, dowry deaths, bride price, female genital mutilation and forced, early marriage.
I didn't know much about bride price and why it would cause abuse, but an example was given that was heart wrenching. A 14 year old girl is said to have been bought for 15 cows from her uncle. The husband raped and physically assaulted her for a month before she finally ran away. When aid workers spoke to her recently, she reported that both the uncle and the husband were in jail. But not for the reasons one would think obvious. The uncle was in jail because he couldn't repay the 15 cows to the husband, since the bride had run away and their contract was void. The husband was in jail because he was unable to pay 2 cows to the uncle - which was the fine for hitting his new bride.
I was saddened to hear that violence against adolescent girls has increased dramatically after the drought because of bride price.
1. Men rape girls so that they will be forcefully married as justice
2. Fathers and uncles sell girls at younger and younger ages to gain access to cattle
3. Girls are abducted if they can't be afforded

Empowerment and Self defense classes for girls

A Kenyan organization, Ujaama, has used an empowerment and self defense 6 week course to tackle gender based violence and have seen a 60% reduction in violence against girls. A program that has proven effective, the director answered 2 important questions:
Q. Is this putting the burden on the girls, and isn't that making it harder for them?
A: Most of the girls who used the self defense techniques only needed to resort to the assertive verbal techniques that say no assertively, so it seems like the empowerment is a key component. Also, in many cases the girls hadn't known that what had happened to them had been rape and it was NOT ok. Especially if the perpetrator was someone known to them, they assumed that it wasn't anything they could do anything about. They just didn't know if it was stoppable when their step-father wanted sexual favors. So, just empowering them with the fact that it wasn't ok and they could say no was a big part of the training.
It was also important for girls to know patterns that often lead to sexual assault - a teacher who gives and seeks special attention in secrecy, boyfriend who needs to be in control etc.
Q: Do the girls feel worse and self-blame if they've attended the training and couldn't prevent the assault?
A: In this study, they saw that reporting had increased in the study group - even when they couldn't stop the assault, the reported the assault, instead of wanting to hide it. This seems to indicate that the direction is good. Also, the language used in the training was key to not have self-blame happen incase the assault wasn't preventable by the girl.


Popular posts from this blog

A job's been left behind

So, for those of you who don't know, after working there for 9.5 years, I quit Google in Feb 2020 and have just hit my 2 months off-work anniversary! An excited me, the first Tuesday I was off work - after having woken up without an alarm at 5:30am!  I quit the full time software engineering job so that I could move closer towards working in the education and/or women's empowerment space - two areas I've been working on, on the side, for the last 19 years. I've always known that I wanted to work on these issues full time at some point in life. But why did it take me so long? One of the problems was that I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do in that space (I still don't, I've done a bit of many things I'm very interested in over the years) but I thought I needed to know an exact plan of action before I could quit the known career. I had to learn over the last many months at my job that I had to free myself from the giant that was occupying al

A meandering post about a bunch of stuff and a date I can't quite forget

 We got a brand new 2021 all electric Nissan Leaf a few weeks ago. We are in the future now.  For those of you who know me, this must come as a surprise! All my adult life, I've been against buying new vehicles and I've tried to convince everyone who cares to listen, to never fall in that trap. But, this car comes as a privilege for the new Nissan employee in the household. The hubby's employee benefits is to be able to lease new vehicles and get reimbursed for it! He jumped at the opportunity of being able to drive an all electric, brand new car - which, given how his fate changed after meeting me, was not to be. Until he became a Nissan employee, that is... So, that's how we, the owners of a 2004 Accord and a 2006 Mazda 3, end up with a 2021 Leaf! My first thought, after he read about this perk was that we could use an aux cable! None of our cars have ever had an aux input port. We've tried to use the aux -> radio frequency converter rather unsuccessfully. But,

... The Second Day

Incidents on the second day of being a child again. *** It's true that grownups like nice weather too, but they only think and ponder over it while we, it seems, drink it in. Grownups too, like a bright morning, but for us, it is frozen wine - it's as if we were made drunk by it. When I was a grownup and I saw snow, I already anticipated the slush. I felt the damp overshoes and wondered whether there would be enough coal for the winter. And joy, it was there too, but sprinkled somehow with ashes, dusty and grey. But now, there are thousands of sparks inside me. It's as if someone sprinkled diamond dust in my soul and along the ground. *** It's a stern punishment - the corner. I'm weak; sitting in the seat bothered me; I leanded back; I couldn't sit straight. Now I have to stand. *** It's a pity that the wonderful game was spoiled so. Wonderful?! How meager is man's language. But then, what can you say? *** How many windows are we allo