The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women offered the first official definition of the term “Gender-based Violence”: “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
In Europe much effort is put into identifying and dealing with violence against women within and outside the family. As European society becomes more and more multicultural, violence against immigrant women needs to be addressed from a specific perspective.
Sexual violence and harassment is reported by immigrant women in different settings, whether at work, at places of study or young adolescents in schools. Very often immigrant women perform menial tasks and do not have a lobby to voice their demands. Due to culturally determined gender roles immigrant women have a higher tolerance level as well as feel ashamed to talk about sexual matters. The same applies to places of study. Regarding children and young adolescents it is clear that the role of a mother plays an important role within the family. As a result, empowering immigrant women implies influencing the mother - child relationship especially mothers of children in their formative years. Enhancing the capacity of immigrant mothers in the upbringing of their children and increased parental involvement in the education of children with regard to the prevention of sexual violence is an important part of this proposal. One of the problems which exist is the lack of knowledge, methods and tools as to how immigrant women themselves could prevent violence as well as knowledgeably use methods of self protection in the wake of violence or abuse. Very often professional help comes too late and empowering immigrant women to take important initial steps independently would be of great value.
Gender based violence and violence in all its facets are understood and interpreted in many different ways, depending on the individual, cultural and social backgrounds. There is a large difference between the definition of sexual violence in the western world which does not tally with culturally accepted behaviors in other countries and cultures. And the other way around, they are many accepted western behaviors that do not tally with the newcomers universes. Important is that all women can take decisions which enable them to identify, stop and live free of violence. Understanding how the cultural background influences woman's approach to violence is imperative to support them.
The project has foreseen four operative work streams and one continuing work stream.
The operative work streams include the development of training with a needs assessment, an exploration of good practises and the development of a curriculum and
trainings tools. In the implementation phase, 3 cycles of training of peer-leaders took place. Afterwards, in so-called multiplier-workshops, the peer-leaders taught other immigrant women
what they have learnt.
Networking with local, regional and international politicians and other authorities were building up a good base for knowledge transfer. A conference was the official end and a big exploitation activity.
In the two years joined work, the „Draw the Line“ team developed a six modules instructional and empowering training, trained 148 multipliers and reached and reached over 1000 women from 35 diverse nationalities. The workshops were offered in mother tongues to ensure many different immigrants groups were reached.
The training development and the multipliers training are the heart of the project. Empowering the multipliers to go to their communities and empower other women is the strategy to spread out information, to raise awareness and to create a feminist self-confidence culture.
The training is organized in six modules that are delivered in six workshops. The aim is informing, discussing and practicing how to prevent gender based violence. The following are the six main themes for the Workshops:
(1) Women Rights and law
(2) Migrant women and sexual violence
(3) Gender stereotypes
(4) Communication and self esteem
(5) Psychological and medical aspects of sexual violence
(6) Own boundaries