Violence against women and girls impacts the lives of millions of people and their families in communities all around the world. With the breakdown of community structures and the trauma created by displacement, this kind of violence can be even more challenging for populations affected by armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies. Women and children are the most vulnerable to exploitation, violence, and abuse just by virtue of their perceived gender roles and status. Sexual violence is also well known as a strategy of war, but other forms of gender-based violence include domestic violence (intimate partner violence), forced and early marriage, sexual exploitation, and female genital mutilation.
Preventing and Responding
Protection is the term we use to include all of the services we provide to prevent violence against women, children and others at-risk of abuse and the support we offer when violence does occur.
Prevention is just one step in the process of combatting gender-based violence, but it’s a step where we can involve the entire community in creating solutions. Through building community awareness of violence and strengthening women’s own leadership and capacity to help others, we can make a big impact in reducing violence. Men can also make a huge difference in changing attitudes about violence, so we engage men and boys to help them better understand the effects of violence and to give them the tools to be a voice against violence. We believe that we are strongest when working alongside communities ensuring that at-risk groups have the resources they need to feel empowered and protected.
We also provide confidential, survivor-centered responses in the immediate aftermath of violence. The health consequences of GBV can be particularly serious. Survivors may suffer sexually transmitted infections, reproductive injuries, and a wide range of other physical injuries – even death. Psychological, emotional and social consequences can be equally severe. We help women, girls and other victims of violence access the critical health care they need and we offer psycho-social counseling to help them deal with and recover from the trauma they experienced.
Part of healing can be getting justice for the crimes committed against you, so, when possible, we help women with legal assistance. Pursuing new economic opportunities can also be critical in helping survivors of violence heal and grow, and economic independence can help prevent future abuse. We provide skills training and support for survivors to create a livelihood of their own.
ARC currently assists survivors of GBV and works to prevent acts of gender-based violence in: