The numbers are staggering. We all already know this. One in four women will become a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. One in three women experience gender-based violence. It is long past time that we change this — and you can help create a culture where gender-based violence is no longer a reality. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, join YWCA from October 16 to 20 for Week Without Violence and make a difference.
YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. That’s why for more than 20 years, we have set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence. Week Without Violence is part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls with the World YWCA.
We believe that everyone deserves to be safe and free from violence. Unfortunately, not all survivors of violence are given the same access to resources and support. Some violence is ignored altogether. So, as we work to end gender-based violence, it is crucial that we address the unique challenges many women and girls may face, including racial inequity, immigration status, housing, or health concerns. To learn more, here are some useful fact sheets:
Statement from YWCA USA CEO Alejandra Y. Castillo, via our official press release:
“The statistics are staggering. Women of all backgrounds and identities experience gender based violence. But some face more difficulty than others in finding the support they need. Women of color experience higher rates of violence and have a harder time accessing needed resources. Poverty, lack of safe and affordable housing, health concerns, racial inequality or immigration status and long-standing inequality in public policies and social safety nets can compound an already traumatic experience for many women and girls, especially those of color or marginalized identities.
“YWCA works every day to address the challenges faced by survivors. As the largest provider of domestic violence services in the country, YWCA providesa broad range of services to support victims of gender based violence, including emergency shelter and housing for women and families, crisis hotlines, counseling, and court assistance.
“Until a world without violence exists, we will work to ensure that survivors of violence have access to the resources they need to get and stay safe and to heal. But, there is more we all need to do. I invite you to join us for Week Without Violence by attending an event in your community, educating others, and advocating to your elected officials for legislation and public policies that help reduce violence and keep survivors safe. We must all commit to eradicating sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, trafficking in women and girls, and dating violence. Join us from October 16 to 20 as we hold events, share information and personal stories, advocate, and more. Our mission is bold: to end gender-based violence. Together we can make that happen!”
The good news is that when communities pull together to support survivors, real change is possible. Week Without Violence is a great way for individuals, communities, and organizations to get involved and to work to end gender-based violence.
You can participate in Week Without Violence on your own or with a group (your company, organization, place of worship, etc.) by registering an event. Registering gives you access to a digital toolkit to help you plan your event. The toolkit contains educational resources, promotional materials, and a social media toolkit.
Want to get involved, but not sure how to participate? Here are just a few ideas!
- Use the fact sheets and materials from the toolkit to hold a dialogue about gender-based violence in your community. Discuss how you can create better supports for survivors of violence. Create a plan of action.
- Hold a panel discussion with local leaders, advocates, experts, and other stakeholders.
- Organize an awareness event such as a march, film screening, or art exhibit.
- Create space for survivors to share their experiences. This could be a creative event such as an open mic or it could be a more structured time of sharing.
- Invite local elected officials to make a proclamation to end gender-based violence at a local press event. Then encourage them to create policies that support survivors.
- Hold an event in partnership with or to support organizations in your community that provide gender-based violence services.
- Share what you’ve learned on social media and help others build their understanding too! Use the hashtag #WWV17 to get connected, and tag us at @YWCAUSA.
- Find an event near you and attend!
We look forward to working with you to end gender-based violence this October and all year long. Everyone can play a part, so we encourage EVERYONE to join us on this mission! Gender-based violence is a huge issue, but together, we can make a huge impact. Let’s do this.