2019 FELLOWSHIP THEME
Lifting the silence | Shifting the power: Ending gender-based violence together
不再沉默 | 扭轉權力失衡: 携手叫停性別暴力 (Chinese translation below)
On December 10th, 2018, International Human Rights Day, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. One of the most common human rights violations around the world occurs behind the closed doors of our homes, in the corridors of our schools and offices and in the virtual spaces of social media. It is an epidemic that cuts across borders and manifests itself physically, sexually, psychologically and economically.
According to UN Women, globally, more than one in three women experiences gender-based violence. 47% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner or family members, compared to less than 6% of men. In Hong Kong, the NGO Rainlilly found that one in seven women had experienced sexual violence. UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that Hong Kong, along with Japan, has the world’s highest rate of female homicide victims, at 52.9%. The health, financial and social costs of gender-based violence go beyond just those directly affected by it, causing insecurity, instability and loss of productivity in communities.
Gender-based violence is violence that occurs because of normative role expectations associated with gender. Those affected by it are overwhelmingly women and girls, but it can also occur among people of other genders, including men and boys. It persists not just because of individual actions and perceptions, but also because of systemic gender inequalities. In Hong Kong, as much or even more than in other places in the world, it has gone largely unaddressed because of a culture of silence, permissiveness and denial. But #TimesUp because people are starting to speak out.
With courage, resilience and dignity, victims and survivors, of so many different backgrounds, have raised their voices to say #MeToo, sharing their painful stories. In the past couple of years, what was invisible has begun to be noticed and believed, providing healing and hope for accountability and change. These testimonies have lifted the silence and raised public awareness enough to shift the conversation, but there is much to do to shift the power imbalances so we can all thrive in a gender-equal world. Such a society is one where people of all genders, at all stages and facets of life, are treated with respect, dignity and the care they deserve, where they are not subject to violence in any form and where everyone can flourish.
This is why we at Resolve are dedicating our second social justice fellowship on the crucial issue of how we can address and eliminate gender-based violence, following up from our inaugural cohort on racial equality and inclusion. In the coming weeks, we will be opening up applications for our 2019 annual fellowship, bringing together 20 promising community leaders who wish to take their commitment to gender equality to another level of engagement and turn this momentum into actions for long-lasting impact.
We will be looking for passionate and determined people from all walks of life, no matter their gender, whether they have been directly affected by gender-based violence or seek to be an ally in the movement for gender equality, to be a fellow in our program. We give particular focus to supporting people from marginalized and underrepresented communities. Through our program, we seek to provide our fellows with the inspiration, resources, network, know-how and confidence and specific opportunities to boldly push for inclusive social change.
We will be giving particular focus in the fellowship on examining power dynamics as one of the root causes of gender-based violence; how it manifests itself among different population groups; the scope and limits of laws and policies in Hong Kong; and the part that men can play to be key agents of change for gender equality. We will foster reflection among the fellows on their role in bringing about inclusive and long-lasting impact at both individual and society levels. We will give great attention to self-care and handling backlash, particularly for self-advocates or those who engage in social justice work on gender-based violence.
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