International Safe Cities Day
To mark International Safe Cities Day and as part of our Safe Cities Campaign, ActionAid held Working to End Gender Based Violence, a roundtable discussion on the issues of gender based violence faced by women across the world on 19th May.
Women’s Rights in Palestine
Raghda Daboub, Women’s Rights Coordinator for ActionAid Palestine spoke about the experience of Palestinian women who are suffering from double oppression. Women are the most adversely affected by war and 40% of women in Gaza have been exposed to gender based violence, harassment, rape, a lack of sanitation facilities or inadequate food supplies.
As Raghda remarked, “Women’s rights become invisible amongst the conflict”. In order to bring women’s rights back into the spotlight ActionAid Palestine is working with women at the grassroots level to empower them to take leadership roles to improve the public services in their communities.
Women’s Rights in Vietnam
Do Hanh Chi, Women’s Rights and Education Advisor for ActionAid Vietnam discussed the influence of the International Safe Cities Campaign in Vietnam.
Due to its expanding economy, Vietnam is undergoing rapid urbanisation. A study conducted by ActionAid Vietnam revealed that 87% of women surveyed had experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public place. These results revealed that Vietnam’s cities were not safe places, especially for women and girls, and prompted ActionAid Vietnam to join the global movement for Safe Cities for Women. In 2014 they used the data from their survey to request the local government in Ho Chi Minh City take action to combat the issue of public violence against women. This request was a success and the authorities decided to install CCTV on all public buses. These cameras act to safeguard against sexual harassment, improving the safety of women and girls.
Women’s Rights in Ireland
Jennifer Gavin from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre gave an Irish perspective on gender based violence. In four out of five cases of sexual abuse in Ireland, the person is known to the victim. To address this issue, the DRCC’s AskConsent campaign seeks to start a conversation about what consent means, to eliminate, confusion, grey areas and blurred lines and reduce the number of negative and unwanted sexual experiences.
The speakers had a clear message – while Gender Based Violence may take different forms, it is a global issue that affects us all. As long as it is tolerated, gender based violence will continue to happen in our homes, and on our streets. It is the responsibility of all of us as citizens to speak out, hold our governments accountable and expect our cities to be safe places for women and girls.