Preventing domestic violence and violence against children

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PUBLIC AWARENESS ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

This project aims at raising public awareness on gender-based violence and violence against children through preventive evidence-based education and distribution of campaign materials in mechanisms which target communities think useful. We are looking forward to working with individuals, community-based organizations, refugee-led organizations, churches, schools, health clinics, civil society and international partners to change the harmful norms that perpetuate sexual violence and exploitation of children and adolescents in the refugee settlements and host communities. RFC is establishing best practices for engaging parents and guardians directly in the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence through promoting nonviolent attitudes and behaviors related to gender.

Gender-based violence and violence against children have had harmful impact on the life and development of thousands of women, children and adolescent girls in our community. Gender-based violence and violence against children have been treated as family issues, not as social public issues. Many cases have gone unreported. Many women, adolescent girls and children accept them as normal parts of their life. Consequently, many victims do not want to reveal the details of their ordeal to outsiders and assistance for victims is inadequate as outsiders are reluctant to become involved. Many victims do not ask for assistance or prosecute offenders. As to results of the latest survey about serious issues affecting adolescent girls and children into our community, a hundred percent of 120 adolescent girls and children interviewed reported: “We are already facing multiple and tremendous difficulties including insults, bullying, harassment, isolation, hitting, pushing, hair pulling, marital rape, deprivation of sleep, sexual abuse on children, burning, stabbing with a knife, poisoning, forcing a younger girl to have oral sex, shouting, humiliating in front of children and forced child marriage. These threats cause poor self-esteem and feelings of shame and lead us to more emotional distress, suicide attempts, substance use, and risky sexual behavior”.

“Violence against children touches virtually every community - from rich and poor to urban and rural. It’s a human rights and public health problem of vast proportions, which leads to severe short-and long-term health, economic and social consequences. Growing evidence shows, however, that a multi-sector, coordinated response reduces violence against children and helps keep children safe from harm.” Together for Girls (http://www.togetherforgirls.org/key-data-toolkit/)

Violence against children is widespread in the refugee people and their host communities. Research shows that 3 out of 5 children have been exposed to physical violence by their peers, parents or guardians anywhere at least once in their lifetime. These figures show the scale of the problem and need for immediate action. Fear of not being believed or supported by family, community or wider society. Religious and cultural pressures, such as notions of shame and family honor or dishonor; expectations to “suffer in silence” or accept violence as normal. Social ostracism as an outcast, reprisals and further violence or harassment. Social and racial isolation. Lack of English or language problems. Ignorance of rights and services. Fear and experiences of sexual discrimination. Fear of and experiences of racial harassment or discrimination. Inadequate services or responses from organizations, including failure to intervene and protect victims in the name of cultural sensitivity. Fear that organizations are corrupt and unsympathetic, based on experiences in their homelands. Homelessness. Mental health (including post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, self-harm and other conditions - suicide statistics suggest that women in minority communities are more likely to turn to suicide and self-harm than leave abusive situations). All of the above leaves adolescent girls and children exposed to high levels of sexual violence, domestic violence, transactional sex and sexual exploitation and abuse with little chance to seek justice. In the light of the developments mentioned above, combating against all forms of violence but particularly violence against children is an important awareness area for everyone, which confront this kind of incidents at first hand.

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