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Goals, Messages, and Strategies

The ultimate goal of the Campaign is to end all forms of culturally-justified violence against women and girls.

Our Objectives:

  • Exposing and confronting all forms and manifestations of CVAW wherever and whenever they occur.
  • Rejecting those ‘cultural’ and ‘religious’ justifications which condone impunity and minimize the severity of crimes committed against women and girls.
  • Supporting the demand for justice on behalf of victims and survivors of CVAW through advocacy and campaigning and building of partnerships with the women’s movements and other sectors of civil societies in support of their causes.
  • Raising awareness on gender-based discrimination as the root cause of CVAW and promoting initiatives toward women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Our Key Messages:

  • Culturally-justified violence against women and all its manifestations cannot be condoned or tolerated, whenever and wherever they occur.

While recognising that culture and religion can be empowering for, and central to, both individual and collective identities, the focus of our Campaign is on the misuse of culture and religion to control women and girls, especially their bodies, their sexuality, their choice of who to love, who to marry, how to express themselves, and what to believe, as well as the exercise of their own free will. They are also enforced within or outside the remit of law to sanction impunity for perpetrators and silencing dissenters. Both State and non-state actors are increasingly using culture to ‘justify’ carrying out violence against women. When these acts are given legitimacy, whether at the international or regional levels, it promotes the idea that there is an inherent cultural right to execute violence amongst certain communities. This is patently unacceptable and must be rejected. When such conservative forces claim ownership over an ‘authentic’ interpretation of culture, tradition and/or religion, women are not only told to accept violence, they are denied the fulfillment of their potential as equal and active contributors to the development and production of culture.

  • Human rights are universal, indivisible, and inalienable to each and every person

States are accountable to their existing obligations under international law to prevent, investigate, punish and redress all acts of violence against women, whether in peacetime or armed conflict, regardless of whether the perpetrators are State or non-State actors. We are calling for the repeal of all national-level laws that facilitate or condone harmful acts against women for alleged sexual and moral transgressions as a critical step without which women subject to gender-based violence have little or no legal recourse.

  • Ending discrimination against women is the ultimate solution to culturally-justified violence against women

Patriarchal interpretations of cultural norms and traditions including religious texts in many societies which promote a mind-set which claims women’s bodies and sexuality as the prerogative of her male family and/or community members still abound. Women who do not conform to prescribed norms, especially those related to her sexuality, are ostracised and and subjected to brutal, cruel and sadistic reprisals by members of her own family and community. The Campaign actively promotes the importance of evolving more gender-equitable, rights-based value systems.

Strategy and Activities:

1. Establish the VNC Campaign presence at the national and local levels.

    We have joined forces and have established a network of ‘sister campaigns’ in Indonesia including in Aceh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Iran who are at the forefront of raising the visibility of CVAW as a human rights concern through their campaigning.

2. Engage with the UN human rights system. 

    Positive developments in the United Nations during the past few years in terms of increasing recognition of gender-based violence against women as a human rights violation have made the UN human rights system an important arena for pressing on State responsibility to eradicate CVAW and foster international solidarity with individuals and States committed towards this end.

3. Forge partnerships with all progressive individuals and forces who believe and share our vision of gender equality and women’s empowerment based on fundamental human rights principles. Secure effective action to stop CVAW at the community level by engaging with local authorities and members of the communities.

    Campaigning for gender equality and women’s empowerment must be informed by a solid understanding of the realities confronting the women that it aims to represent. Efforts to raise the visibility of their issues must be seen as relevant to their context, be embraced by the women themselves, and must support local initiatives aimed at bringing about positive change in women’s lives. Guided by bottom-up and participatory approaches in community mobilization, we are expanding our allies and continuing dialogues with those working from a shared platform to end gender-based violence justified in the name of ‘culture’.

4. Respond, intervene and act on behalf of the individuals or groups of individuals who have been violated or to prevent such violations to take place against those at risk through our rapid response system.

    The Campaign website www.violenceisnotourculture.org serves as the platform for the campaign to issue Urgent Action alerts, press releases, compile news and editorials, document cases of violence against women, and distribute resources.

 

    * * * To learn about volunteer opportunities, ways to get involved, or to sign up to our listserve for Action Alerts and updates, write to info@violenceisnotourculture.org  * * *