|Women against Violence: Breaking the Silence (UNIFEM, 1997, 116 p.)|
|Beyond the Conventions: Violence Prevention in the Andean Region|
Intervention by UNIFEM's Andean office in prevention of violence against women is grounded in the needs and proposals of the women's movement in the sub-region. As such, it has major repercussions. Each of the projects produces complementary chain reactions, laying the groundwork for the single overall aim of women's empowerment. Empowerment is a goal that will remain unreachable as long as women's human rights are ignored, and as long as violence is a reality that is concealed: the more it is hidden away, the stronger will remain the obstacles preventing women from enjoying the rights that they need to build their citizenship.
Because training is participatory, it begins by sensitizing, attempting to break through existing attitudes with other knowledge and other ways of reading realities, which is the gender approach. For this reason, groups are targeted because of their ability, on the basis of their diversity and location, to become multipliers - not only to convey knowledge through new training events, but especially in the way they treat women violence victims and the way they understand the problem. Police men and women, judges, attorneys, prosecutors, journalists, and the entire project beneficiary population have been well enough trained in UNIFEM's projects to guarantee this multiplier effect, not only in the main cities, but also in smaller towns, generally far away from more influential urban centres, and reach the rural sectors through radio broadcasts.
One conclusion is evident: preventing violence against women requires the many-faceted efforts and coordination of various sectors to maximize resources and make actions more effective. Despite women's NGOs' intensive struggle, despite the enactment of special laws or creation of Women's Courts, despite support from UNIFEM and other UN agencies - much remains to be done. Above all, states must demonstrate the political will to address the problem more effectively, in order to comply with the international conventions related to women's rights and prevention of gender-related violence.
Government allocation of economic resources is indispensable to the prevention of violence. Most of the work is done by NGOs, all of which require funds to undertake specific sensitization and training activities. All are experiencing increasing difficulty in obtaining international funding, especially when the target population is the professional sector; "funding agencies fail to see the multiplier effect that this type of work can have," according to Julieta Montaa Bolivian attorney.
The experience of work to prevent violence against women has demonstrated that one of the most difficult tasks is to penetrate the deeply engrained cultural norms and assumptions that still make men and male values the referent for humankind's thinking and behaviour. This is most visible, as already pointed out, among people such as justice administration personnel, generally accustomed to interpreting reality through the eyes of the law and its male-centred contents. However, as MarHelena Reyes, a Peruvian attorney who participated in the workshops, put it, "It is no easy matter to train justice-administration personnel in gender. In formal law, it is necessary to break through many symbols in order to break down traditional behaviour patterns regarding women. However, this training is a challenge, and a job that must be done."