WITNESS Announces Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence

Posted on September 19, 2010 by Yvette Alberdingk Thijm

Update: Watch the LIVE announcement of our commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative via the livestream on our website. We’re very pleased that actress and activist Maggie Gyllenhaal will be joining us for this important event.

I’m pleased to share with you that this Tuesday, September 21st, at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), we will announce our commitment to ending gender-based violence. WITNESS will partner with the network Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (Women’s Initiatives) to train 50 of its member groups to use video to document violence against women and girls living in armed conflict and under repressive governments. (To find out more about CGI, read this interview with their Director of Commitments, Marilia Bezerra.) 

Why the focus on women and girls? Right now there is an epidemic in the world and it is called violence against women. Violence on the basis of gender is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms. (We discuss more background to the issue in this post by our Program Director Sam Gregory and former colleague Violeta Krasnic.) Ensuring women can exercise their rights is beneficial not just for women themselves but also for their communities: women are an essential force in the fight against global poverty, violence and extremism.

At CGI Empowering Girls and Women is one of this year’s Action Areas.  Joining CGI and grassroots organizations around the world, WITNESS believes that visual storytelling will strengthen a movement for change that is already underway. Christiane Amanpour put it this way at our annual benefit last November:

Throughout my career as a journalist, whether reporting from Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran, I cannot tell you how many times people ask me “Is it really that bad? Did that really happen to that woman?” And the truth is, yes. That’s why the concept of bearing witness, through images, through video documentation is incredibly important so that these women’s stories are not pushed to the margins.

Empowering women to bring their stories to decision-makers and supporters is a commitment we have made repeatedly and successfully over the years in partnership with human rights organizations around the world as shown in this video:

What’s new in our partnership with Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice is that we hope that the brave stories of many women, across multiple countries, will collectively catalyze decision makers to take action on violence against women and to create lasting change.

Video has the unique power to move people into action, and in the next 3 years, WITNESS is committing to making sure that women’s voices will be seen and heard where it matters. A woman with a video camera in her hands is a powerful voice. Join us in supporting this campaign!

If you’re on Twitter, you can stay current with all of our news from CGI by following us at @witnessorg and using / searching the hashtag #cgi2010

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Amy April 15, 2012 at 4:37 am

    I think Internet is empowering people and is playing vital role to keep people aware of their rights. There are more helpful resources available know to Stop Violence than ten years ago..

  2. Jina May 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict has a section specifically dedicated to women and children in armed conflict: http://www.watchlist.org

  3. Gloria Wells February 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I am a Native Woman from the Little Shell Band of Chippewas in Montana. I along with two others have been the victims of extreme violence in Lewistown Montana. I survived, they did not. Susan Jones, my cousin died of blunt force trauma to the face, Mary Garlic was found floating in Spring Creek. The local Sheriffs department stated "no foul play was suspected." I am currently producing a video of our stories, along with newspaper articles police reports, I would like very much to become a member of your organization. I have been invited to be a guest speaker at a conference for Women Against Violence, in Carlisle Penn., at Dickinson College the 26th of March. I am prayerful we can video the conference and add it to the information needed to make change for Indian Women in Montana. I am currently a non-traditional student at Montana State University.

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  5. Matisse October 27, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Here is video of the commitment at #CGI2010 as announced by musician, activist and long-time WITNESS supporter Anjelique Kidjo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edrvc74TAR0

  6. Gary Markwick October 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

    We must act now on all discrimination and change this primitive world that we live in.

    We can all do this, even it is by our thoughts and awareness at first, as what we send out from the goodness of hearts into the world will spread.

  7. Matisse October 1, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Rahim Kanani just wrote an in depth interview with Yvette about WITNESS and our CGI commitment on the Huffington Post's Impact page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rahim-kanani/cgi-20


  8. Matisse September 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Another great ally organization, Internews Network, with a CGI commitment announced this week http://www.internews.org/CGI/2010/default.shtm. Not focused on women's rights specifically but on the use of new media and emerging technology for more effective reporting on an communication around humanitarian crises!

  9. Abillat Hicham September 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm


    je suis un jeune marocain je veux être avec vous dans ce travaille qui est très important pour tout le monde . s.v.p répondu moi

  10. Matisse September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Our ally and board member Mallika Dutt spoke eloquently about the urgent need to stop violence against women, at the opening plenary yesterday. You can watch her remarks in this video: http://www.necn.com/09/21/10/Mallika-Dutt-seeks-t

  11. Anna September 20, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hi. May international participants from Caucasus-Georgia participate and join this campaign?

    • Yvette September 21, 2010 at 6:28 am

      Anna, Thank you for your interest in the campaign to end gender-based violence in armed conflict situation. At this beginning stage of the campaign we are working with partners in African countries, however we recognize this is an issue affecting women across the globe and we need to mobilize communities and key decision-makers worldwide.

      You can can get involved in several ways:
      – share videos from the campaign posted on our website or our Youtube channel
      – connect with our partner, Women's Initiatives, and their member network in order to share experiences from your region
      stay updated on the campaign by joining the WITNESS e-newsletter list
      – And if you are interested in creating videos documenting violence against women in your community or region, check out our training resources to help you make the most of your visual storytelling for change

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