UN Women USA Gulf Coast Launches Strides Against Violence Campaign

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Pictured: Kuda Mariam, a domestic violence survivor, with two of her children. Through a UN Women-supported program in Cameroon, Kuda received counseling and training to manage a business. Photo credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown

According to a UN Women study, almost one in three women have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both, at least once in their life. Further, the ongoing global pandemic has negatively impacted that number for the safety and security of women in many countries. This issue remains common, yet in the shadows, as UN Women USA aims to bring it to light and de-stigmatize it. In a leap to combat this figure, the nonprofit organization announced its first national campaign to raise awareness, advance global programs and funding to prevent and end violence, in all forms, towards women and girls. 

“Gender-based violence does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, marital status, religion, age or socio-economic status,” said Elizabeth Thompson-Locke, President of UN Women USA. “In our first grassroots, nationwide campaign, we aim to shed light on the root causes of gender-based violence, reduce any stigma against speaking out and encourage more men and women to become advocates.”

The Women’s Empowerment (WE) Walk: Strides Against Violence campaign launched last month among the seven UN Women USA city chapters: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Durham, Chicago, Sarasota and the Washington, DC headquarters. 

The Sarasota Chapter happens to be one of the oldest (and the largest) of the seven national UN Women USA Chapters. “Our Chapter has actually already been doing this Walk in Sarasota for 15 years – in neighborhoods, at the beach and at Payne Park downtown,” says Scott Osborne, President of the UN Women USA Gulf Coast. “When the pandemic hit, we refused to abandon the Walk. We knew that many, many women were at higher risk of intimate partner violence during lockdown, so we made the Walk virtual. Many of our Chapter member programs now have their own virtual Walk teams. Our Walk is significant because it helps people make a difference—we broaden their understanding of the issue, give them tools to change their day-to-day lives and channel resources to global programs that need it most.”

Osborne went on to share that the organization experienced a record year in terms of support and growth during the pandemic from all walks of life and around the world. 

So the second pivot, after going virtual, for UN Women USA Gulf Coast this year was that the Chapter took the lead in getting all of the other city Chapters to join in—making it a bigger event with great impact. “We are chairing the National effort and are delighted at the creativity and enthusiasm of our fellow Chapters,” says Osborne.

“All our proceeds will go to support UN Women programs such as those in Thailand, where San May Khine, a social worker, is supporting women migrant workers to move past experiences of violence, or Argentina, home to one of the highest rates of femicide in the world, where Irene Cari provides violence prevention training to women in their own indigenous languages.” 

UN Women USA Gulf Coast’s Strides Against Violence campaign will culminate with a virtual recognition event on December 10, which is International Human Rights Day. Registration is now open to the public at WE Walk: Strides Against Violence

Follow along on UN Women USA's social media and hashtags: #stridesagainstviolence / #walk4women for up-to-date fundraising events and stories.

Pictured: Kuda Mariam, a domestic violence survivor, with two of her children. Through a UN Women-supported program in Cameroon, Kuda received counseling and training to manage a business. Photo credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown

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