Ending Gender-Based Violence is Critical: Breakthrough India’s Pan-Asia Summit

NEW DELHI, March 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Breakthrough India’s Pan-Asia Summit ‘Reframe’ kick-started today with an insightful discussion on what it will entail to end Gender-Based Violence in the next 10 years. The 3-day Pan-Asia summit ‘Reframe’ has brought together non-profit organizations, industry experts, thought leaders and media to discuss ways to create a future without Gender-based Violence. The summit aims to develop specific areas of advocacy for concrete guidance on prevention and redressal of Gender-based Violence and Gender Based Discrimination (GBD).

Breakthrough has been working on addressing violence & discrimination against women and girls for over 2 decades by focusing on transformation of patriarchal norms and narratives across India. The organization enables young change makers to transform themselves and others by building their leadership in making violence unacceptable.

Sohini Bhattacharya, in her welcome address, said, “The aim of this regional summit is to co-create a future agenda in the Asian context, including setting priorities, sharing of strategies for achieving and measuring progress on preventing GenderBased Violence and Discrimination. Leveraging the opportunity provided to us with the launch of Generation Equality Forum, in 2020, advancing a shared agenda on Genderbased Violence specifically for Asia is important for two reasons. While national level advocacy is important to move national level commitments aligned to SDG goal 5, regional coalitions and partnerships play a central role to align efforts and resources at a regional level. It also enables strengthening the roll-out and implementation of a multi-sectoral response to urgently address gender-based violence; with a particular focus on women and girls in all their diversities across this vast and diverse region.”

The surge of violence has disproportionately affected those who were already most likely to experience GBV – those facing intersecting and compounding oppressions on the basis of gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation and other characteristics. Adolescent girls, in particular, have faced a range of issues that are likely to increase their risk of facing GBV across their lifetimes, including being pulled out of school, being refused access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, and being forced to marry early, which are all risk factors for later GBV. Ten million more girls are at risk of becoming child brides by 2030.

Wangshu Lian, an LGBTI activist with Common Language and Chinese Lala Alliance, said, “Building agency and leadership are two critical components at the heart of combatting Gender-Based Violence. Feminist civil society organizations supporting marginalized communities should be empowered with agency and technical know-how to tackle Gender-Based Violence. Additionally, funding needs to be prioritized for these organizations to drive social change.”

“The experiences of the last two years during the pandemic have worsened long-standing gender discriminations. But I think there is recognition that gender-based violence is a pandemic too – even though they keep referring to it as the shadow pandemic. But there is recognition that COVID-19 has increased the vulnerability of women, girls and LBTQ+ people to violence and abuse. Some violence has moved out of physical spaces into online ones, with increased reported in cyberstalking, bullying and sexual harassment. Equally, the GBV that women, including transgender persons and girls are facing appears to be more severe and sustained, perhaps reflecting the intensity of lockdowns and increased difficulty in escaping abuse,” added Ms. Bhattacharya.

Sarah Knibbs, Deputy Regional Director, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in her address remarked, “We really need bold actions to make progress towards gender equality and to see those gains in everyone’s life. Globally, data suggests that 1 in 3 women experiences violence. The best way to end Gender-Based Violence is to prevent it from happening by addressing the root and structural causes of it. Working with youth is the best path for sustained progress towards gender equality in eradicating gender-based violence.”

An Oxfam International analysis in 70 countries over 40 years has found that the most vital and consistent factor driving policy change has been feminist activism. Feminist movements and organizations have changed the way we think about GBV, drawing attention to the issue and stirring hearts and minds globally, while also deepening our understanding of its root causes and the interventions that are most effective in addressing it. Such organizations has been facing tremendous pressures from authoritarian regimes and regulations world over.”

Zharin Zhafrael – Co Director – Musawah, said, “Organizing a structural movement is key to addressing Gender-Based Violence. GBV needs to be tackled at all levels to build a gender-equal society. Egalitarian law and favourable family conditions are critical for economic empowerment of women in the Arab world.”

World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional estimates suggest that South Asia and South-East Asia regions have the highest rate of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the world, at 43 percent and 33 percent respectively. Four South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal in order of prevalence) feature among the top fifteen countries with the highest national prevalence of physical intimate partner violence as reported by the Demographic and Health Surveys. The summit is particularly significant in this context and will pave way for a gender-equal world.

Meera Devi – Bureau Chief, Khabar Lahariya – Chambal Media, said, “The voices of women and those from marginalized communities should reach the government. More often than not, their voices are silenced and they are left without any help. Making their voices heard is one way of empowering them. And this will help us significantly in addressing Gender-Based Violence.


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