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Creating safer districts for women in Pakistan

Preventing sexual violence initiative

This project aimed to address the causes of sexual violence against women at the personal, household, community and societal levels in Pakistan.

Pakistan suffers from large-scale sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, abduction and forced marriage. Cumbersome procedures and a lack of local awareness about formal justice mechanisms prevent communities from reporting cases of sexual violence, resulting in a culture of impunity.

We worked to positively influence the mind-sets and attitudes of men and women, fostering a culture of respect and a sense of security. Through study circles, street theatres and women’s conventions, we not only encouraged communities to talk about sexual violence, but also change their attitudes towards gender bias, discrimination and harmful traditional practices  all of which contribute to the prevalence of sexual violence in the country. The discussions have also led to positive action on other unfair traditional practices beyond sexual violence.

In addition, we lobbied legislatures and policy-makers to commit to taking positive actions to curb sexual violence, and engage with communities (‘rights holders’) and the state (‘duty bearers’) to develop a model for prevention.