Resourced Women Change the World
“Women's empowerment and their full participation based on equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development, and peace,” Barack Obama, “Within the United States, we are taking steps to support working families, encourage women and girls to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and provide additional opportunities for women entrepreneurs.” (UNWOMEN, n.d.)
In 2006, the U.S. was third in the world for economic gender equality. In 2016 it had fallen to 26th (ROTHY'S, 2018).There is a huge movement among women to empower one another, secure equal rights, challenge gender narratives, and establish a brighter future for our daughters. Women empowerment has caught pace around the globe with women helping each other grow.
Why focus on women? Women play a vital role in sustainable development. The 1995 Beijing Declaration and the 1992 Rio Declaration recognized that empowering women was key to sustainable development, yet discriminatory gender practices continue to be a key driver of poverty (Lefton, 2013). Putting an end to extreme poverty requires providing opportunities, especially for women through education, nutrition, and health.
The UN General Assembly introduced Millenium Development Goals in September 2001 to prepare a roadmap on how to eradicate poverty. There is MDG 3 which aims at promoting gender equality and empowering women, and MDG 5 which pledges efforts to improve maternal healthcare. These two goals touching on women are yet to be fulfilled decades later, though great strides have been taken.
For the Millenium Development Goal 3, the average gap in primary education is closing; however, there is not much progress in secondary and tertiary education. Women's employment outside the agricultural sector has increased from 30% to 40% from the 1990s to 2010 (Lefton, 2013). Women still make up less than 21% of parliamentarians worldwide. As much as there's some progress made, we still have a long way to go before reaching gender equality and eradicating poverty among women.
Progress towards the fulfillment of MDG 5 to reduce maternal mortality has also not been met. The target will not be met during the set timeline. The prevalence of contraceptives has also increased globally but remains very low among the poorest and uneducated communities. Adolescent or teenage pregnancy rates have also gone down albeit slowly due to high poverty rates and a lack of education.
Factors such as violence against women are also key obstacles to women's empowerment. Elimination of all forms of violence is integral to sustainable development. No country in the world can proudly proclaim that its women live freely without fear of any form of violence. As long as women face violence, discrimination, and hate, all the efforts to eradicate poverty, and achieve equality and democracy will not succeed.
For societies to thrive, women must have access to education, healthcare, and technology to give them the power to act freely and exercise their rights and the ability to fulfill their potential. When more women work, economies grow, and developing global markets for goods and services are expanded. When women are living safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can reach their full potential. They can contribute their broad array of skills to the workforce and can raise happier and healthier children if and when they choose to have any.
ReferencesLefton, R. (2013, March 11). Gender Equality. Retrieved from American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/article/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment-are-key-to-addressing-global-poverty/
ROTHY'S. (2018, November 2). 15 ways to empower women. Retrieved from ROTHY'S: https://rothys.com/blogs/the-loop/15-ways-to-empower-women
UNWOMEN. (n.d.). The United States of America to work towards a world where every woman and girl can enjoy their rights and freedoms. Retrieved from UN WOMEN: https://www.unwomen.org/en/get-involved/step-it-up/commitments/usa
How to Resource Women
“A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman,” Melinda Gates (Kidadl, 2021). Female empowerment is all about equipping women and allowing women to make all the decisions related to their life. This includes raising women’s status through education, career, literacy, training, and other aspects of life. Female empowerment is defined as promoting a woman’s self-worth and their ability to do things based on their own choices and their right to influence social change for themselves and others (Kidadl, 2021).
The combined voice of women is powerful and it can uplift all communities globally. In the United States, women comprise almost 47% of the workforce, control up to 80% of consumer spending and own more than half of the investable assets in the country (Ferasat, 2019). Globally, women have been dealt the short end of the stick across most sectors and facets of life, from leadership to salary equality to basic human rights. Women are the solution to the problems affecting them, and they can take steps to uplift each other to attain gender equality.
1. Support girls and women in crisisWomen and girls in war zones or unstable areas are at the highest risk of abuse, child labor, trafficking, child marriage, and other offenses. These women and girls can be protected by equipping skilled, local staff to offer training, education, counseling, medical care, small business loans, and other programs that reach women and girls as well as boys to end cycles of gender-based violence (WorldVision, 2020).
2. Mentor a girl Girls growing up in the United States and in other countries are held back by poverty, teenage unplanned pregnancies, drug and substance abuse, and teen violence. These girls could really use a mentor to guide them in the right direction and give them hope for a better future. Through peer-to-peer mentorship, girls learn to be confident leaders from a tender age. As the girls and their mentors build a supportive network, they learn valuable skills in a safe environment with peers who understand the difficulties and challenges they face (Girltalk, 2022).
3. Sponsorship at workIt has been said that the biggest decisions about your career are often made when you are not in the room (Ferasat, 2019). A sponsor goes beyond traditional, social, emotional, and personal growth and advocates on your behalf at the workplace. It takes a lot for a woman to be noticed at the workplace, even after meeting expectations and getting the work done. Sponsors are always fighting for you, in spaces where you can’t put in a good word for yourself.
Sponsors may also offer the much-needed career coaching and guidance that can help one in making informed decisions at the place of work.
4. Invest in womenInvestors have impact funds to power social and economic change by advancing women globally. Women-owned businesses are then able to get loans to grow their businesses. When these women-owned businesses grow, they create new opportunities and more profits for women worldwide, leading to financial growth and a more robust economy. Studies show that women reinvest 90% of their income back into their families and communities. Investing in a woman translates to investing in the whole community; when women thrive, we all thrive.
5. Stand up for womenWe all need to speak up and speak out whenever we witness injustices against women in our societies. Supporting each other helps everyone advance at work, start businesses, buy dream homes, reach big life goals and achieve even more. Advancing women in our communities and workplaces is important both for attaining gender equality and also for meeting a wide range of international development goals. Empowered women empower other women, which starts a chain reaction of empowerment.
The government needs to work hard to change the existing position of women and achieve gender equality, which will have a positive spillover effect on the sustainable development of the country.
Ferasat, K. (2019, March 12). The Secret To Women's Empowerment Is Women. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeslacouncil/2019/03/12/the-secret-to-womens-empowerment-is-women/?sh=58e4bd811291
Girltalk. (2022). GIRL TALK CREATES CONFIDENT LEADERS. Retrieved from Girl Talk: https://mygirltalk.org/
Kidadl. (2021, November 18). 100 Best Female Empowerment Quotes To Inspire You. Retrieved from Kidadl: https://kidadl.com/quotes/best-female-empowerment-quotes-to-inspire-you
WorldVision. (2020, October 8). 7 ways to empower women and girls. Retrieved from World Vision: https://www.worldvision.org/gender-equality-news-stories/seven-ways-empower-women-girls
The History of Earth Day
“I am the Earth, and the Earth is me. Each blade of grass, Each honey tree, each bit of mud, And stick and stone is blood and muscle, skin and bone” – Jane Yolen (Poetry Foundation, 1995).
Every year on the 22nd of April, the world comes together to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Up to 1970, as America was growing its industries, belching out smoke and sludge was a sign of prosperity. Air pollution was common and Americans were oblivious of the consequences of pollution to the environment and their health (EarthDay, 2022).
Our earth is a very wonderful place, but it needs our help to thrive. Senator Gaylord Nelson started Earth Day to enforce legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment. The first earth day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, which still exists today, and some of our most important environmental laws being passed such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
Earth Day is all about educating people about conservation, protesting against climate change and global warming, and encouraging volunteering for the good of the planet (Wurzburger, 2021). The Earth Day 2022 Theme is Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?
It is time to choose both a prosperous and sustainable future and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children. Unless we start acting now, climate change will deeply damage economies, increase scarcity, drain profits and job prospects, and impact us all (EarthDay, 2022).
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Through regulations, incentives, and public/private partnerships, governments hold the keys to transforming and building the green economy. Governments must also incentivize their citizens, businesses, and institutions to build a resilient future. What each of us does, and how we do it, has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems. We have the power to lobby for and support businesses that take active steps to protect our environment through their practices and climate-friendly investments and to bring those who aren’t back to the earth that sustains their very being.
EarthDay. (2022). THE HISTORY OF EARTH DAY. Retrieved from Earth Day: https://www.earthday.org/history/
Poetry Foundation. (1995). Earth Day. Retrieved from Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54673/earth-day
Wurzburger, A. (2021, April 22). What Is Earth Day and Why Do We Celebrate? Retrieved from People: https://people.com/human-interest/what-is-earth-day-and-why-do-we-celebrate/
Happy Passover! Passover History
As the days brighten and spring kicks into full swing, Jews all over the world are celebrating one of their most important observances, Passover. Passover is celebrated annually commemorating the anniversary of the Jews’ miraculous Exodus from Egyptian slavery, as told in the Bible (Chabad, 2022).
The story of Passover can be found in the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. Found in the Torah, the Passover story tells of the Israelites’ slavery, deliverance, and escape (“the Exodus”) from Egypt. The story begins with Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and arrived in Egypt as a poor, powerless servant. Joseph was favored by God, was very wise, and could interpret dreams. This made him rise to be a trusted advisor to the Egyptian kings. He rose in power and fame and his family eventually joined him in Egypt as well as many other Israelites. There they prospered and multiplied for many generations.
A new King ‘Pharaoh’ came into power in Egypt. He did not remember how helpful Joseph had been and was threatened by the number of Israelites who had now occupied Egypt. He was afraid that they would one day rise against him so he treated them harshly, forcing them to work as slaves in terrible conditions. The Israelites persevered and continued to multiply regardless.
Pharaoh was still dismayed by the fortitude of the Israelites and passed an even harsher decree that all sons born to Israelite women should be killed at birth. When an Israelite woman, Yocheved, had a baby boy, she feared for his life and placed the baby in a wicker basket and placed him floating on the River Nile. Pharaos’ daughter who was at the river, came across the baby and took him home. All this was witnessed by Miriam, Yocheved’s daughter.
The baby was named Moses, ‘drawn from the water’, and he grew up in the palace. As he grew up, he learned of the plight of his people and once killed a taskmaster who was beating an Israelite slave. On realizing what he had done, he fled to the land of Midian, where he married a Midianite woman, Tzipporah, and became a shepherd (REFORM JUDAISM, 2022).
One day as Moses was tending to his flock, he came upon a burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire. God spoke to Moses and told him that with the help of his brother Aaron, they would free the Israelites from the shackles of slavery in Egypt.
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and demanded that he “Let my people go,”. Pharaoh refused and instead made the Israelites work even harder. God then told Moses that, as proof of God’s power, the Egyptians would suffer a series of plagues until Pharaoh agreed to let the Jews go.
During the last plague, God killed the firstborn of each Egyptian family, but “passed over” the houses of the Israelites who had marked their doors with lamb’s blood, leaving their children unharmed. Following this last plague, Pharaoh relented and let the Jews go. The Israelites hastily left Egypt and did not have time to let their bread rise, leading to the holiday’s tradition of eating unleavened bread, matzah.
After the Jews left, Pharaoh regretted his decision and his army chased the Israelites to the Red Sea. God told Moses to stretch his staff over the sea, and, in perhaps the greatest miracle in all of the Jewish tradition, the waters parted, allowing the Jews to cross on dry land (REFORM JUDAISM, 2022).
Modern Passover celebrations try to commemorate the Biblical events. The seder, which is the ritual meal that is the centerpiece of Passover celebrations, incorporates foods that represent elements of the story. Bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery, roasted shank bone represents the sacrificial lamb, and an egg represents new life. Vegetables are dipped into saltwater representing the tears of the enslaved Israelites.
During a traditional seder, participants eat unleavened bread, or matzoh, three times, and drink wine four times. They read from a Haggadah, a guide to the rite, hear the story of Passover, and answer four questions about the purpose of their meal. Children get involved, too, and search for an afikomen, a piece of broken matzoh, that has been hidden in the home (BLAKEMORE, 2020).
Passover celebrations last one week in Israel and 8 days in other parts of the world. Passover celebration is important as it advocates for strength, hope, and triumph over adversity and anti-Semitism.
BLAKEMORE, E. (2020, April 7). A brief history of Passover, which honors resilience amid adversity. Retrieved from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/history-passover-honors-resilience-amid-adversity#:~:text=The%20story%20of%20Passover%20can,newly%20born%20Jewish%20son%20murdered.
Passover. Retrieved from CHABAD.ORG: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/default_cdo/jewish/Passover.htm
REFORM JUDAISM. (2022). Passover: History. Retrieved from REFORM JUDAISM: https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/passover/passover-history
Happy Easter! Easter History
Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” S.D. Gordon (Rissel, 2015). Easter has always been a joyous season where the earth is reborn in a swell of new life awash with the vibrant colors of nature and renewed spiritual energy. Easter is originally a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Most major holidays have some connection to the changing of seasons. Spring is marked by the coming back to life of plants and trees that have been dormant for winter, as well as the birth of new life in the animal world. Given this symbolism of new life and rebirth, it was only natural to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at this time of the year (Landau, 2017).
The holiday begins with Lent, a forty-day period marked by fasting, sacrifice and prayer, and ends with the holy week. The Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday which is the celebration of the last supper of Jesus with his disciples, Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, and Easter Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead (HISTORY, 2022). Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox. The spring equinox is a day where the amount of dark and the amount of daylight is exactly identical, so you can tell that you're emerging from winter because the daylight and the dark have come back into balance.
Easter gets its name from a pagan goddess, Eostre, from Anglo-Saxon England who was described by St. Bede the Venerable (Travers, 2017). Other historians maintain that Easter is derived from in albis, a Latin phrase that's plural for ‘alba’, or “dawn," that became eostarum in Old High German, a precursor to the English language of today (HISTORY, 2022).
Christians celebrate Easter because they believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. They celebrate the victory of life over death with the resurrection of Jesus. “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him” (Romans 6:9) (Lifestyle, 2021). Easter represents a "historical" Christian festival, which the Bible also reports about in detail.
During the Middle Ages, people would decorate eggs and eat them as a treat following mass on Easter Sunday after fasting through Lent. The custom of decorating hard-boiled eggs or blown eggs is still a very popular folk custom. Rabbits and hares are also associated with fertility and were symbols linked to the goddess Eostre.
The Easter bunny is the Easter symbol for excellence. The egg has always been a symbol of fertility and rebirth in many cultures. Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. Children look for hidden decorated eggs and when the hunt is over, prizes may be given for the largest number of eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, and for the most eggs of a specific colour.
Easter is a time of renewed faith and new beginnings. "Whoever knows Easter cannot despair," Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said in dark times (Lignoma, 2021).
ReferencesHISTORY. (2022, April 7). Easter 2022. Retrieved from HISTORY: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter
Landau, B. (2017, April 12). Why Easter is called Easter, and other little-known facts about the holiday. Retrieved from THE CONVERSATION: https://theconversation.com/why-easter-is-called-easter-and-other-little-known-facts-about-the-holiday-75025#:~:text=The%20naming%20of%20the%20celebration,seventh%20and%20early%20eighth%20century.
Lifestyle. (2021, April 3). Easter 2021: Date, history, importance and significance. Retrieved from The Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/date-history-importance-significance7255299/
Lignoma. (2021). Why do we celebrate Easter - the meaning and traditions of Easter simply explained. Retrieved from Lignoma: https://www.lignoma.com/en/magazine/why-do-we-celebrate-easter-the-meaning-and-traditions-of-easter/
Rissel, B. (2015, April 4). One Writers Way. Retrieved from Wordpress: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/easter-spells-out-beauty-the-rare-beauty-of-new-life-s-d-gordon/
Travers, P. (2017, April 15). Origin of Easter: From pagan festivals and Christianity to bunnies and chocolate eggs. Retrieved from ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134
“Together we can help both men and women [all sexes too] stand up for their rights and support them to become the best version of themselves for tomorrow.” Seemal Saeed, Human Rights Activist, Pakistan (MENCARE, 2015). Prevention surely is better than cure.
Prevention plays a central role in the efforts to eradicate the root causes of gender-based violence in society. Ending Gender-Based Violence is everyone's business. Nothing good ever comes out of volence; if we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve that through violence, and if we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone. There are several ways where we can make a difference, safely and impactfully.
Listen to and believe survivorsThe first step in breaking the cycle of abuse is when the person who has been violated shares their story. It takes a lot for people who have gone through violence to speak out, and when they do, they need a safe space to let it all out. When discussing cases of sexual violence, a person’s sobriety, clothes, and sexuality are irrelevant.
Change attitudes and stereotypesGender stereotypes are the beliefs that people have about the characteristics of what it means to be male, female, intersex, agender or transgender (C.L. Martin, 2001). Stereotypes change and vary with cultures over time. These expectations are often related to the roles that people with any of these sexes fulfill in the culture. For example, in binary cultures, gender stereotypes cast men as more agentic and women as more communal (supportive, caring, warm, and emotional). These binaries can limit our personal expressions of our genders.
It is possible to shift gender norms in a more equitable direction. Promoting community-based interventions and training encourages society to reflect on and shift their perceptions of inequality. Changing the attitudes that make gender-based violence possible means empowering people through education, health, and livelihood opportunities.
Sexual violence against people who identify as men is treated differently than that committed against people who identify as women in most societies and is largely unrecognized by international law. We need to call out GBV for what it is regardless of the gender involved.
Know the data and demand more of itGender-based violence is rarely discussed, and data at a local or regional level is often not available or is incomplete. Many people who have experienced GBV choose not to report incidents, and certain forms of violence may not be punishable by law.
To effectively combat gender-based violence, we need to understand the problem. Relevant data collection is key to implementing successful prevention measures and providing survivors with the right support (UNWOMEN, 2022). Data on GBV enables organizations and countries to make informed decisions on where and how to target funding and other support. Perpetrator data and information on the times and locations of incidents of violence can inform prevention efforts and enable more specific advocacy for policy change (UNFPA, 2013). Proper use of this data can have a positive impact on the survivors; it will show them that they are not alone and give them the courage to speak out so that they can get help.
Train the next generation and learn from themGender stereotypes start from a very young age. Start conversations about the imposition of gender roles early on, and challenge the traditional features and characteristics assigned to people based on their genders (male, female, transgender, agender, etc) even on matters of sexuality (UNWOMEN, 2022). Point out and call out the stereotypes that children encounter and let them know that it is okay to be different. Encourage a culture of acceptance; let them know that it is okay to chart our paths in the roles that one takes up in society, in the choice of a partner, and one's sexuality.
Train the upcoming generation about consent, bodily autonomy, and personal accountability and also listen to what they have to say about their experiences of the world. By empowering young people with information and education and room to be themselves we can greatly improve our future.
C.L. Martin, L. D. (2001). Gender related development. From International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/gender-stereotypes
MENCARE. (2015, November 20). During 16 Days, MenCare shares 16 ways fathers can act against gender-based violence. From MENCARE: https://men-care.org/2015/11/20/join-mencare-during-the-16-days-of-activism-against-gender-based-violence/
UNFPA. (2013, February 21). The role of data in addressing violence against women. From UNFPA : https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdf/finalUNFPA_CSW_Book_20130221_Data.pdf
UNHCR. (2021). Gender-based violence. From UNHCR: https://www.unhcr.org/gender-based-violence.html
UNWOMEN. (2022, November 17). ake action: 10 ways you can help end violence against women, even during a pandemic. From UNWOMEN: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/11/compilation-take-action-to-help-end-violence-against-women
Gender-Based Violence is any act done on or to a person against their will as a result of gender norms, and unequal power relationships. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life (Ott, 2021). Women are disproportionately affected by GBV. That’s why there’s a lot of focus on ending the vice.
“Men who kill women do not suddenly kill women, they work up to killing women.” Caroline Criado Perez (Gupta, 2021)
GBV can manifest in many different forms, whether it is early and forced marriages, rape, trafficking of persons, sexual violence, femicide, and honor killings. Victims of violence, especially women of color face many barriers to accessing resources and safety. These barriers range from: fear of criminal justice systems; the lack of a financial safety net; religious and cultural barriers; fear of deportation; lack of awareness or knowledge of the legal system; lack of adequate childcare services; lack of low-cost housing options, and skepticism of social service institutions (YWCA, 2017).
Sexism and MisogynyKerwin Kofi Charles, professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, and his colleagues find that sexism affects women through two channels: one is their preferences that are shaped by where they grow up, and the other is the sexism they experience in the place they choose to live as adults (Charles, 2018).
Sexism prevails in a society where its people believe women’s capacities are inferior to men or where people think that families are hurt when women work, and men and women should adhere to strict roles in society. These unfortunate norms exist within women themselves and are largely influenced by where and how a woman was raised. An example of such a background norm is a girl who grows up within a culture that prizes men as leaders and women as playing only supportive roles to male leaders.
Misogyny is defined as the hatred of women. Fifty years after Ruth Bader Ginsberg worked to secure constitutional equality for women, misogyny is still alive and well in the American system. If we are taught to hate or devalue an entire group of people, we’ll make incorrect assumptions and unfair judgments about the group and the individuals in it.
During the Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, Kamala Harris was often talked over and rudely interrupted repeatedly by her male counterparts. While men also rudely interrupted one another, norms for females often require female candidates to embrace service towards others over themselves. Thus, to redirect the flow of conversation, Harris has to find a way to do so while also maintaining likeability to men. Some of the societal expecations for women result in women being more election- and risk-averse than men. Women can be discouraged by barriers that men do not face, including constant positioning to serve men, sexist media coverage, intrusive questions about their life choices, overt sexual harassment, online misogynist abuse, or accusations of lying (Poloni-Staudinger, 2020).
StalkingStalking is when someone repeatedly harasses or threatens someone else, causing fear or safety concerns. It is a crime that can touch anyone regardless of gender, age, race, or sexual orientation.
About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes, and nearly 54% of female victims and 41% of male victims experienced stalking before the age of 25 (CDC, 2021). Stalking tactics include: unwanted phone calls, watching, following, or tracking a victim, sneaking into the victim’s home or car, doing things to scare the victim or let them know the perpetrator had been there, and leaving strange or potentially threatening items for the victim to find. It is a very scary and uncomfortable situation to find yourself in.
Stalking is a crime in all the states in the USA but less than one-third of the fifty states classify stalking as a felony if it’s a first offense. This leaves stalking victims without protections afforded to victims of other violent crimes (NCADV, 2017). Stalking is often an indicator of other forms of violence and is linked to femicide.
The most prevalent form of stalking involves previous personal or romantic relationships between the stalker and the victim. The stalker may try to renew the relationship and when the victim spurns these unwelcome advances, the stalker often turns to intimidation.
Stalking takes its toll emotionally, psychologically, and even financially. The victims suffer higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction compared to the general population.
Breaking the Cycle of Gender-Based Violence
People who are being stalked may fear talking to others. It is extremely important to keep dialogue open with your friends, families, colleagues, and children and to help them talk about any subtle discomforts they are experiencing with members of different genders. It is important to listen closely to the people in your lives and their body signals and places where they are not talking. It is important to engage in dialogue that helps you learn what messaging and ideas they are internalizing about themselves and their gender so you can begin to process those messages with them and interrupt unhealthy messaging.
If you struggle with healthy beliefs about your own gender, it is so important to see a therapist who can help you understand where you have experienced past or present gender-based violation. The more you can identify where others did not protect you and where they should have protected you, the better you will be able to protect your children and others in your communities.
Smaller discomforts are especially important to keep tabs on. Getting really honest about what is happening by asking direct questions is essential. Knowing and sharing with anyone experiencing any kind of violation what is appropriate behavior is essential. Making sure they know they can tell you anything is also important. If they or someone they know is being sexually harassed and/or stalked, showing them how to be an advocate for themselves or that person by going to the authorities is essential.
CDC. (2021, January 8). Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it. From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/prevent-stalking/index.html
Charles, K. K. (2018, August 1). The Effects of Sexism on American Women: The Role of Norms vs. Discrimination. From Becker Friedman Institute: https://bfi.uchicago.edu/insight/research-summary/the-effects-of-sexism-on-american-women-the-role-of-norms-vs-discrimination/
Gupta, A. H. (2021, March 25). Misogyny Fuels Violence Against Women. Should It Be a Hate Crime? From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/us/misogyny-violence-against-women-hate-crime.html
NCADV. (2017, January 30). Quick Guide to Stalking: 16 Important Statistics, and What You Can Do About It. From NCADV: https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-to-stalking-16-important-statistics-and-what-you-can-do-about-it
Ott, M. (2021, June 4). Gender-based Violence. From WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: https://www.womenforwomen.org/blogs/series-what-does-mean-gender-based-violence?src=%20GGGS202https://www.womenforwomen.org/blogs/series-what-does-mean-gender-based-violence?src=GGEV224A&ms=cpc_google_awarness&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign
Paquette, D. (2016, August 25). More than half of US men think sexism is over. From WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/more-than-half-of-men-in-the-us-think-sexism-is-over/
Poloni-Staudinger, L. M. (2020, October 20). Because misogyny is still alive. From WHY SOCIAL SCIENCE: https://www.whysocialscience.com/blog/2020/10/20/because-misogyny-is-still-alive-and-well-and-women-still-dont-rule-equally-to-men
YWCA. (2017, September). GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE FACTS. From YWCA: https://www.ywca.org/wp-content/uploads/WWV-GBV-Fact-Sheet-Final.pdf
Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.