Domestic violence is not inevitable. It is learned. And if it is learned, it can be unlearned and it can be prevented.
In this TED talk from Feb 2014, Esta Soler uses her experience as a pioneer in gender-based violence advocacy to describe how the tactics and technologies used in her field have developed over time.
Soler reveals how the Polaroid camera changed DV advocacy. By taking a photo of the woman following a so-called “lover’s quarrel,” (the police usually trivialized intimate-partner violence in this way,) the victim then had the evidence she needed to take her partner to court.
She also addresses how attitudes have changed: In 1984, one politician had the audacity to call her attempts to lobby for a bill outlawing DV the “Take the Fun Out of Marriage Act.”
She elaborates further on a problem that persists in the fight for gender equality. Namely, that men feel “indicted and not invited into the conversation” on ending gender-based violence.
She has some important insights and some great anecdotes, so check out the video!
I am a writer, musician, and general all-around weirdo artist. I have spent my whole life trying to engage with the questions of how to change the world and how to best communicate ideas to people. So I was very excited when I first found out about Breakthrough and I am absolutely ecstatic at the idea that I get to be part of that process.
I know it’s a little cliche (sometimes things are cliche for a reason) but I keep thinking about this Margaret Mead quote:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."
And that sounds great to me. Let’s do it, let’s change thew world.
With the staggering statistic that 20-25% of college women report surviving rape or attempted rape, (according to this report,) the news that a bar in Spokane, Washington- home to a large student population- has chosen to name a drink “Date Grape Koolaid” is the latest appalling example of how rape culture is continually perpetuated.
The Daiquiri Factory’s Facebook page is filled with disparaging comments by the administrators targeting those who express their disappointment at the bar’s decision to make light of something as serious as date rape. (Warning: these comments are incredibly insensitive and offensive.)
The internet is rife with articles showing the shocking and distasteful manner in which the company is defending its name choice. Buzzfeed and Feministing have covered the story on their respective websites, check out their coverage to see just how far the Daiquiri Factory is taking this outrageous attempt at humor. The most terrible part? The company continues to defend the name “Date Grape Koolaid,” and even mock anyone who attempts to explain what seems to be a glaringly obvious point: rape is never funny. Sign the petition started on Left Action to try and convince that dropping the name is the right thing to do.
It’s so great to be back at Breakthrough after an incredible semester abroad in Buenos Aires! It was definitely an exciting time to be in the Argentine capital— I was there for the madness as the nation celebrated only its 30th year of uninterrupted democracy, and it was really wonderful to get the chance to live amongst such passionate and engaged people. With some unforgettable adventures behind me I’m ready to get back to work and focus on the exciting stuff Breakthrough is planning!
“As we remember Nirbhaya on the first anniversary of her death, we must continue to learn from what happened. We must remember that for every Nirbhaya, there are countless girls and women whose names do not become symbols of courage or justice. We must remember that what killed Nirbhaya was not a group of horrifically misguided individuals, but a culture with scant respect for girls and women. Hopefully, she will be the one who shows us the way to a world in which girls and women are valued and boys and men are not violent – or silent.”—by Breakthrough founder, president, and CEO Mallika Dutt for Reuters.
Pakistani workers from NGOs perform during an anti-rape protest in Lahore on September 14, 2013. Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images
Reading up on the horrific news about the rape of a 5 year old girl in Lahore, Pakistan, I came across this really interesting photograph at the top of an article. Having spent the earlier half of my life in Pakistan, I have seen many rallies about different issues, many of which lead to destruction of other people’s private properties, burning and looting of shops, breaking car windows and burning effigies or tires on main roads.
This is the first time I have seen an element of creative theatrical performance as a way to protest physical and sexual violence against women and girls. I think part of the reason is that people in that region are very much tired of seeing violence in daily lives, and so they adopt more and more peaceful means of protesting. Another more interesting part is that the demographics of politically engaged people are changing. Unlike 10-12 years ago, more urban, middle and upper class youth are becoming politically and socially active now.
I believe that is a good sign, because it means a whole generation of people that was perviously detached from social and political change is now engaged. There is more pressure on the old structures, politicians, political parties and rulers to listen to younger (and fresher) perspectives. It means that there is hope for change, and perhaps a more peaceful future.
I’ve always been interested in music as a tool for changing people’s thoughts, behaviors, and identities. That’s why I loved Mann ke Majeeré, Breakthrough’s very first project, which used music to break the silence around violence against women. Here are some other musicians who use music to change society and end violence.
Liberian musician Takun-J writes songs that speak to people’s experiences in his country, and has been a strong advocate for women and girls. He worked with PCI Media Impact to produce a transmedia campaign against gender-based violence, including “Song for Hawa,” based on the true stories of sexual violence survivors. He continues this work as a Gender-Based Violence Reduction Ambassador for Liberia.
Recording artist Morley works with youth using music for conflict resolution and dialogue facilitation. She also spreads a message of global women’s empowerment through songs like “Women of Hope” and through promoting organizations like A Call to Men, GEMS, and V-Day.
Know more musicians or music projects that are creating positive change? Leave a comment!