You don’t have to plan a dedicated prevention project or campaign to start taking action to prevent violence against women. Below are some small actions anyone can take to address the drivers of violence against women in their own lives.
Challenge the condoning of violence against women
Pledge to never commit or condone acts of violence.
Educate yourself about violence against women. If someone you know is behaving in a controlling manner towards their girlfriend or partner for example, telling her who she can and can’t hang out with, checking up on her all the time, or criticising how she dresses, talk to her and see if she’s ok. Being jealous and controlling is not a sign of love or commitment, it’s a sign of violence.
If you hear someone blaming a victim of sexual assault by asking: ‘What was she wearing?’ or ‘Was she drunk?’ tell them that those kinds of questions contribute to a society that excuses and condones violence against women and are forms of victim blaming.
Avoid buying music that glorifies sexual violence and the objectification of women and girls.
Talk to the people in your life about your commitment to preventing violence against women and encourage them to say ‘yes’ to gender equality.
Applaud others who speak out against violence and oppression.
Promote women’s independence and decision making in public and relationships
Support female candidates for public office and positions of responsibility.
If you are in a leadership position in your workplace, promote more women into senior management positions or onto boards.
Advocate for the need for paid parental leave in your workplace.
Advocate on social media about women’s reproductive freedom.
Model equality at home and in your own relationship — make sure your child sees you sharing jobs at home equally.
Foster positive personal identities and challenge gender stereotypes and roles
Question gender roles and assumptions.
Refuse to let TV, movies, music or other people define what it means to be a man or woman for you.
Show your children both male and female role models who are succeeding in non-traditional careers.
Try not to reinforce gender stereotypes when you talk to your child about things around them — ask yourself, would I say the same thing to her if she was a boy, or to him if he was a girl?
Praise women and girls for something other than the way they look and praise men and boys for showing care and concern for others.
Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations between and among women and men, girls and boys
Teach kids that respect is the minimum in a relationship, and lead by example — make sure your children see you talking through problems in an open and respectful way.
If you see or hear something sexist — whether it’s an ad or something a friend has said — say so. You’re probably not the only one who thinks it’s wrong. Get comfortable with speaking out against things that are sexist or degrading.
Don’t excuse disrespect towards women in male dominated environments — such as at sporting events.