Solely relying on the police and other law enforcement institutions to prevent gender-based violence is shortsighted and naive. The responsibility lies with civil society, and it needs to start with education.
People are the most impressionable when they’re young, specifically the age ranges of 12 – 18 and 19 – 24. Based on this, it’s crucial to educate the youth on gender-based violence and its roots from a young age, both in school and at home. Part of this is to create an environment that explicitly supports “gender-equal, respectful, non-violent culture with gender aware pedagogy”.
This can be presented in a number of ways, from implementing workshops for children, parents and teachers, to holding open discussions that address gender bias, stereotypes, gender norms and how the patriarchy is still rampant.
No Means No Worldwide, a rape prevention organisation, is pioneering this agenda across the world. The group have created a system called IMpower, which has been evaluated by leading academic institutions. The premise of this system is to empower girls and boys with a range of skills to prevent gender-based and sexual violence. Girls are taught mental, verbal and physical skills to prevent sexual assault, and boys learn resiliency skills, challenge rape culture, and practice consent and bystander intervention skills. No Means No Worldwide’s research has shown “an average 50% decrease in the incidence of sexual assault for girls taught Impower”.
There are so many resources, programmes and information to utilise, it’s just about taking the time to do the research and to do the work. It is also incredibly important for individuals to report any instance of Gender-Based Violence to authorities whenever possible.
Spottem is free for download on Android and iOS devices.