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Self Care What’s Power Got To Do With It (4)

According to the Belem do Pará Convention, violence against women can be understood as any action or conduct that causes death, harm or physical, sexual or psychological suffering to women, both in the public and private spheres[2].

Aligned to the convention, the United Nations has identified violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW) as critical global human rights and public health challenges that impede development. Violence and its consequences affect children, adolescents, and women across their lifetimes. Overlapping forms of oppression and discrimination – based on gender, ethnicity, class, migratory or disability status, among others – amplify vulnerabilities to violence.

Fòs Feminista, together with partner organizations and brave and committed volunteers, have co-created an intersectional feminist approach to promote reproductive justice for women, girls and people of diverse gender identities. This work extends to all regions of the Global South and seeks to have an advocacy presence in the main decision-making spaces at the global, regional and national levels.

We know that sexual violence is widespread and that causes serious short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for women, girls and adolescents around the world[3] and that it worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic[4]. We also know that violence against women can be prevented because it arises from the education and affective relationships between people.

Fos Feminista’s work towards enhanced gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and those who have other gender identities in Latin America and the Caribbean focuses on initiatives raising awareness of their rights, expanding their access to contraceptives and other essential products, and preventing violence in their lives. To further our goals, we have identified evidence-based interventions that demonstrate sustainable changes over time such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education, an approach based on a framework of rights that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to decide on and enjoy their sexuality (physical and emotionally), individually and in their relationships[5].

By focusing on strengthened prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV) in alignment with a theory of change which underlies all the actions, we have identified four key domains of change in which gender power structures operate: 1) Transforming individual beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors; 2) Strengthening sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) primary prevention at individual, relational, community, and institutional levels to transform cultural norms and practices; 3) Increase access to services and resources, specially the health response to SGBV for women, girls, and those who have other gender identities; and 4) Influencing laws and policies to promote increased government commitment and accountability to prevent and respond effectively to SGBV[6].

We believe that to achieve sustainable progress on gender equality and prevention of VAW and VAC, change must occur in all four domains and the agency of women, girls, and those with other gender identities must be promoted throughout. We also enable the positive engagement of men and boys as allies in the promotion of gender equality across all areas of our intervention.

All women and girls deserve lives free from violence. We must continue joining efforts to combat this human rights violation. That is why we invite all of you to engage with and contribute to a feminist present and future where women, girls and gender-diverse people thrive everywhere and have the opportunity to live fully free of violence.

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Website: https://fosfeminista.org/

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[1] In 2021, we launched Fòs Feminista as a new model for international feminist action and solidarity on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice (SRHRJ). A new Alliance to meet the moment, with a vision to the future and partners who reach the most marginalized women, girls, and gender-diverse people, bringing care and services to communities, innovating to overcome barriers, expanding options in restrictive contexts, and providing care in humanitarian emergencies.

[2] https://belemdopara.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/texto-de-la-convencio…

[3] The World Health Organization repots that violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human right: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

[4] The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: https://www.actioncanadashr.org/rfts/global-impact-covid-19-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights

[5] The Rights from the Start project uses feminist and human rights-based approaches to promote and advance comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health and rights: https://www.actioncanadashr.org/rfts/resources

[6] Fos Feminista Annual Report 2021: https://fosfeminista.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Fo%CC%80sFeminista_AnnualReport_11-4.17.pdf

Written by  Fòs Feminista’s Team [1]

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