The discussions and presentations of this informal meeting stressed the need to call firmly upon governments to commit. It was generally agreed upon that the next step in fighting violence against women and girls must be to end it for good. A brief video describing the “Ring the Bell” campaign suggested that anyone could take part in the process. By just ringing a doorbell, one can disrupt and end the violence that too often occurs behind closed doors. Quentin Walcott emphasized that the violence could be reduced by somehow getting men and boys to stop objectifying women. In agreement, Maldonado from the NYC Men’s Roundtable reminded everyone that the issue we face is complex, but requires simplistic solutions and paradigms. He also mentioned that men must be collectivized in order to address the issue. According to him, little separates “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Following a UNITE video presentation on how youth can help, Julio Langa from Mozambique described how we must create a culture of accountability and learn the benefits of gender equality. We must find in ourselves the power to listen to the people we are trying to change. Only then can we solve the vicious cycle of violence against women. As was mentioned in the meeting, witnessing violence is as influential as being subjected to it. For this reason, it is necessary to develop a culture in which this violence is deemed unacceptable. The “Ring the Bell” campaign and other UNITE / UN Women initiatives can help us to do so. In addition, simply drawing attention to the problems by hosting such meetings as the one described – to which there was significant male attendance – will encourage prioritization of the issue.
By: Krista Niemeier