By Elise Skolnick, Communications Coordinator, YWCA of Youngstown
The term “gender-based violence” is just three little words, but those three words encompass a lot.
They describe the experiences of the 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her own driveway, and forced into the sex trade.
They describe the death of a woman whose husband tortured her for 11 days and, released on bond, followed through on his threat to kill her.
They describe the rape of an unconscious college student who should have been safe on her campus.
They describe the college student who had her whole future ahead of her but was shot in the head because she told someone to stop grinding on her at a festival.
These are just a few examples. I could list many, many more. But these four clearly illustrate why this year’s theme for YWCA’s Week Without Violence is focused on gender-based violence.
YWCA’s Week Without Violence is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. We’ve been doing it for 20 years, and we don’t want to do it for 20 more. It’s time to end this type of violence for good.
According to the U.S. state department, one in three women worldwide will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. That’s too many. One is too many.
Gender-based violence includes, but is not limited to, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and harassment. This violence kills more women between the ages of 15 and 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. It can also negatively impact a woman’s physical and mental well-being.
The week of Oct. 17, at YWCA of Youngstown, several young women will share their experiences with gender-based violence, through speeches and spoken word poems. They will join other YWCAs across the country, and around the world, as we collectively work to elevate survivor stories, raise awareness, and create change.
Please join us in supporting them, and learning more about this issue. Together, we can end gender-based violence.
Elise Skolnick is YWCA of Youngstown’s communication coordinator. She has been with YWCA of Youngstown since February 2014. Prior to that, she was coordinator of First Night Youngstown. She also works as a correspondent for The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio.
YWCA’s Week Without Violence is part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls with the World YWCA. Want to join the movement to end gender-based violence? Learn more at www.YWCAweekwithoutviolence.org and join the conversation on Twitter with #WorkAgainstViolence.