Today, I focus on building assorted knowledge, action, and movements to end violence against women VAW. I also encourage you to map and locate your sources of resistance, albeit everyday acts of speaking up, knowing how to find and work with allies in your household, classes, workplaces, streets, and communities such as local women's centers-shelters, to knowing that VAW often travels transnationally in our socio-emotional-economic and family luggage as we move to different households, places and even continents. These situations also affect the newly arrived wives, tourists, military personnel, and migrant workers--domestic, child care, and service workers as well as international students, ICT workers, etc-- in our communities and on deployment. For example (and these examples are taken from real cases):
- Some women have found themselves in transnational webs of domestic violence when they move to the West or North to marry someone who in turn isolates and abuses them. When they file charges or complain, then their husband's family members pressurize the women's family members with false cases so that their daughter will drop the case.
- The abuser can hold dual passports and commits his abuse in countries with few or no laws against domestic violence and flees to his other country. The woman survivor & children live in fear of his return trips and ongoing abuse-harassment by her estranged-divorced huband's family.
- Some women with new citizenship in the North have returned to their country of origin to settle divorces and family matters. They find themselves and/or their children kidnapped and abused by their estranged husbands and in-laws. Their family members have to appeal to their embassies or High Commissions for help...and....
VAW also follows assorted military and peacekeeping activities, too, where the protectors can end up as abusers as seen in many military actions by USA and UN Peacekeeping forces. Women military personnel also experience VAW and/or as seen recently Iraq, in the chaotic psych-ops facilities, a few have administered abuse themselves. In turn, when the military and peacekeepers return to their home countries, they bring some of this VAW with them and their spouses and families are affected, too.
VAW also follows the tourism, entertainment, and R & R industries that sprung up around military bases as well as international donor funded tourism and business projects. Many of the industries employ women as domestic, entertainment, and sex workers, who have little control over the terms and conditions of their work places, passports, and earnings, but the promise of higher earnings than in their countries of origin.
Another alarming trend is the VAW in 'mail-order brides as well as women brides from men's countries of origin. Many clients in USA women's shelters are women from other countries--Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe-- brought to USA by men who wanted docile women rather than 'assertive USA women', and in turn the husbands abused their new wives in this strange land. Or newspapers in the North and South are filled with ads of transnational partners (esp men) seeking wives from their country of origin. The new wives--often with limited language skills or resources-- are brought to the USA and abused by their new husband and maybe their in-laws. They feel trapped because they are in USA on spouse visas, feel shame, and/or do not know what to do. Two developments in the USA are visa available to women who have suffered abuse and/or the "U" visa that can be sought by abused women who report their abuse to the police. Women in this situation should see the advice of their local women's program and/or immigration lawyers.
Finally, many domestic and childcare workers migrate, accompany elite families--business or diplomatic staff-- and/or are trafficked to other areas. in these work situations, they have little control over their work conditions, working in 24/7 days and also suffer sexual and physical abuse from their employers, employers' family members, or others. These "global" women do not see their children in their countries for many years. Often we learn of these women in our communities when they escape from their employers' homes often with injuries or only the clothes on their backs.
National and international laws-policies on domestic violence and VAW have been very slow in addressing the increasing transnational nature of VAW. Likewise, many advocacy programs may not have the contact with programs in other countries and knowledge of different laws and remedies.
So today--look around your life and note the sources of support and allies and provide volunteer time, including translation, and donations to them. Such programs who are very dependent on donations, grants and government support, which does not always fund women's real empowerment and escapes from abuse and poverty. In our transnational lives, we also need to know of and support international initiative and programs that work with migrant women, workers and family members and reach out to workers who are trapped in abuse as well as charge their abusive employers.
If you would like to see the reports of actions in this 16 days....go to the Take Back the Tech site day 6 and follow the directions and/or Map It. Or go to the 16 Days campaign website and the International Calendar of Activities and/or Resources links. Finally, I have omitted references the above points, but I can provide documentation for these points and/or you can go to the resource pages on the above websites.