Tackling violence against women in the USA
Violence against women is an epidemic. Globally, one-third of all women—that’s 1.3 billion women—experience violence in their lives. In the United States, 1 in 3 women experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Among survivors of rape, 4 out of 10 women report that they were 18 years or younger when they were first attacked. To eradicate violence against women, we must disrupt cultures that undervalue women and consider violence against women as normal.
In the US, one promising pathway is to address, head on, teen dating violence. In high-risk urban neighbourhoods, 1 in 4 high school students reports date-related abuse and/or sexual victimisation; tragically, much dating violence is not reported. To date, most violence prevention programmes have focused on high school-aged youths, which is helpful but not enough to bring about the change we seek. Every adult knows from experience that we must reach middle school students and support them to adopt more gender-equitable attitudes before they move on to high school.
It is time to change the national conversation on violence against women and girls in the US. For the past ten years, ICRW has tested and rigorously evaluated the Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) programme, having delivered it to over 40,000 girls and boys across nearly 450 schools in India, Vietnam and Bangladesh. We have seen tremendous impact on how middle school youths can learn to think differently about gender and violence, and we are now ready to bring the GEMS model to the US.
ICRW is seeking partners to bring GEMS to American public schools serving youths aged 12 to 14 years living in high-risk communities. We want to work with municipal authorities and educators to address issues of intolerance, inequality and violence through classroom instruction and student-led advocacy campaigns.
What help is needed
- Introduce ICRW to high-level municipal authorities and schools in New York, Baltimore and Washington, DC
- Fund ICRW and its partners to adapt and pilot GEMS for public school systems in these cities
- Secure pro bono support from a media company to document the GEMS in the US journey
- Receive pro bono legal advice in helping us set up MOUs with municipalities sponsoring the programme in schools