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Gender-Based Violence, IVAWA and Claudine’s work with CARE in Nigeria

 We’ve been having a lot of important conversations in the United States lately about sexual assault, harassment, oppression and violence against women. This week’s guest on the CARE Action podcast makes it clear; gender-based violence has no borders. 

Gender-based violence (GBV) exists in every country and community where CARE works as both the result and cause of extreme poverty and social injustice. In many of those areas, including countries experiencing conflict, sexual assault and violence against women are routinely used as weapons of war. In others, including countries facing natural disasters and those hosting large displaced populations, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to GBV.

CARE is deeply committed to ending GBV in all forms and we’re taking very specific actions in that direction. For instance, CARE trained 1.1 million people in 2016 to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, and CARE Action is advocating for the recently introduced the International Violence Against Women Act.  Our goals are to end rape, assault, forced and child marriage, and other forms of gender-based violence that are happening at unprecedented rates in developing countries all over the world.

CARE is taking part in the United Nations’ campaign - 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence .  From Nov. 25th to Dec. 10th, we’re taking a close look at GBV and talking about the solutions CARE knows can turn GBV and poverty around. In this week’s episode of the CARE Action podcast, Gender-Based Violence, IVAWA and Claudine’s work with CARE, Claudine Awute, CARE Country Director of Nigeria, talks about the trauma women endure, the wide-scale damage GBV causes and the hope that starts when women are safe.

In our conversation Claudine shares a powerful story of a woman she met:

“When I think of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, I think of a lady I recently met with in Northeast Nigeria. I will call her Sofianne. She is 17 years old. She has been married for four years and then abducted right after her marriage by a member of an armed opposition group and she was forcibly married to another man with whom she had three children. She managed to run away from her abductor and tried to go back to her community. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find her family…She was told that her parents were killed by armed opposition groups. When we met with Sofianne…she had some concerns about her future, about where she would find food on a daily basis for her children, where she can have a roof over her head and what would be the future of her children. But at the same time, she was positive. She was full of energy. She said, “I’m young. If I’m given the opportunity, if I can have food for my children, if I can have an opportunity to start an economic activity and guarantee by myself food for my children…I will be able to get out of this situation,” although she doesn’t know when and how, as an internally displaced person and a single mother of two…She believes if she’s given the opportunity and power to generate income for her family, she will have the power to change her life, the lives of her children and the lives of other women in her community.”

Women like Claudine Awute and people from all walks of life are coming together to stop violence against women and girls. Listen, share and then, help us pass the International Violence Against Women Act. 

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