Consign violence against women and girls, ‘to the history books’: UN chief
Additionally, this violence continues hamper equality, development, peace and the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights – preventing the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to leave no one behind.
16 days of activism
The International Day also kicks off the UNiTE campaign, an initiative of 16 days of activism that runs from 25 November to 10 December and concludes on International Human Rights Day.
This campaign aims to prevent and eliminate VAWG, calling for global action to increase awareness, promote advocacy and create opportunities to discuss challenges and solutions.
This year, UNITE will mobilize all society globally to stand in solidarity with women’s rights activists and to support feminist movements to resist any rollback on women’s rights.
Assembly President visits abuse survivors’ centre
Meanwhile, General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi visited the Manhattan Family Justice Center, where local leaders and community-based organizations assisting survivors of domestic and gender-based violence told him that because every survivor is unique, judgement-free solutions must be too.
“These issues are complicated. There are families, children involved. People will reach out for help multiple times, they might want to understand their options, connect with family, because these are life-changing decisions,” said Commissioner Cecile Noel, from the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence.
She noted that on average, it takes seven attempts to leave a domestic violence relationship.
“Put what you own in a plastic bag and leave. That’s basically what we’re asking them to do”.
Partnering for good
The Manhattan Family Justice Center, one of five in New York City, connects survivors and their children with organizations that provide case management, economic empowerment, counseling, civil legal, and criminal legal assistance.
To get a first-hand look at how services are provided and tease out how the Assembly could support those efforts, Mr. Kőrösi spoke with representatives of the Arab American Support Center, Safe Horizon, Sanctuary for Families, and the Urban Resource Institute.
“We are here to find out the good news from your work that can be brought to the UN and through the UN, to the entire world,” said Mr. Kőrösi, who was accompanied by his wife Edit Móra.
“There is no one size fits all solution”, reiterated Michael Polenberg, from Safe Horizon.
Lauren Schuster from the Urban Resource Institute highlighted the importance of including survivors in solutions, saying, “we cannot deicide for them what their journey looks like”.
The discussion also touched on trust building, domestic and gender-based violence education, and the emotional learning among children as well as helping youth think differently about their behaviors.
Earlier that day, two bills were signed – one focusing on low-barrier grant and supportive services to help survivors maintain housing.
NYC has 54 shelters for survivors of domestic or gender-based violence, which cater to some 4,000 families – separate from the city’s homeless population, which surpassed 60,200 in September.
“Many of the survivors are employed. They cannot continue to do that living off a mother’s couch or out of hosing. And often with children in tow”, said Commissioner Noel.
Mr. Kőrösi asked participants to share their experiences with Member States, adding that he would also like to invite a group of survivors and their children to the UN.