- MIFUMI is a women-led organisation working to end domestic violence by working with survivors and their organisations to increase support to them, to enable them to become more effective and skilful, and to promote women’s rights. The organisation is well-known for its campaigns against domestic violence and bride price violations. As part of their programming, MIFUMI has begun to use karate and taekwondo with girls ages 10-16 to help empower them to defend themselves while providing education about domestic violence.
- Participants undergo an initial intensive training over 14 days and thereafter meet in their respective teams once a week to undergo training. Trainings consist of two parts: karate/taekwondo, and domestic violence and child protection using a resource pack “Feel Free” developed by MIFUMI to explore conflict management, relationships and domestic violence.
Adolescent Girl Life Skill: Mitigating consequences and risks of gender-based violence
General Adolescent Life Skills: Identifying and Analysing Relevant Information, Attitudes, Social Norms, Beliefs, and Peer and Media Influences
According to the United Nations 1 (U.N.), one in three women is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. The impacts of this social ill permeate all aspects of society. A critical factor in the creation of deep social change is the direct involvement of girls within their communities. Girls need to be educated about gender-based violence (GBV). They need to know what it is, how it impinges on their rights, and how they can access justice and services if these rights are violated. Although this work can be done in a variety of settings, we believe that there are qualities inherent in sport that can make it a powerful environment for approaching this difficult subject with girls.
Too often, GBV happens behind closed doors and is treated as a private family matter or a normal part of family life. This lack of support is why decision-making and analytical thinking skills are critical for adolescent girls faced with the issue of gender-based violence, before, during and after the violence and abuse takes place. Knowing how to navigate the risks of gender-based violence and making decisions in her own best interest during or after experiencing abuse in order to lessen the impact of harmful consequences are critical skills that adolescent girls need.
A girl needs a safe space to discuss experiences, violations and fears, and receive validation that her fears are okay. Furthermore, a girl needs to understand her legal rights. She also needs a place where she can learn confidence that will help her report abuses, if they happen, in a safe way. A team and trusted coaches can provide that environment and intentionally design curricula can help teach the girl critical thinking and decision-making skills they need.
Unfortunately, gender power dynamics and abuse happen even within programmes aimed at empowering girls through sport. It is important that organisations ensure girls are protected when participating. (See the Child Protection section of this guide and the International Guide to Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through Sport for more information.)
- Use imagery whenever possible to show each girl what abuse looks like. Strong pictures can elicit fear and emotional responses, but can also create mental images that resonate more strongly than words.
- Teach each girl who is disabled the difference between gender-based and disability-based violence and where they intersect.
- Rely on local service providers, such as social welfare organisations, to help educate each participant and counsel her if she has been victimized. Be prepared to transport a girl who has been victimized to a service provider instead of simply making a referral.
- Report instances of gender-based violence to the police and family, if this does not further jeopardize the girl. If a family member is involved, or the police cannot be trusted, use alternative service providers.
- Invite someone who has experienced and overcome gender-based violence to come share her story with the group.
- Train peer educators about addressing gender-based violence. A girl is often more willing to talk to a peer about being abused.
- Use alternative communication forms, such as poetry, music or theatre to open up sensitive discussions about gender-based violence.
- Conduct outreach events to raise awareness about gender-based violence in your region.
- Inform caregivers that you will discuss this topic with the girls. Organize a discussion evening with interested caregivers. However, maintain girls’ confidentiality after sensitive discussions, unless their health is in danger, at which point it might be necessary to contact caregivers.
- Invite boys to sit in some workshops and learn to listen and discuss issues that affect the girls. Invite the boys to support the girls.