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What is Tearfund doing to address sexual and gender-based violence?

Sexual and gender-based violence affects approximately one in three women, according to the World Health Organisation. Our approach is to challenge the social norms and beliefs that perpetuate gender inequality and violence towards women. We seek to be led by survivors as we pursue an end to sexual and gender-based violence globally.

We focus on listening to the stories of survivors, facilitating discussions between men and women, transforming concepts of masculinity, and raising awareness about the harms of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).

Our impact

Working with survivors

Women and girls are often stigmatised and blamed for the violence they have experienced. Their voices are often not heard and their experiences are hidden. Tearfund works with survivors to create safe spaces where they can speak out and share their stories with other survivors. These groups equip survivors to speak out and influence policy change at the national and international level.

Challenging gender norms

Transforming harmful gender norms and behaviours is vital in promoting gender equality. Belief systems influence and shape social norms and can have a negative or positive impact on achieving gender justice. Our Transforming Masculinities programme aims to challenge social norms and harmful concepts of gender and masculinities by working through and within faith communities.

Photo of couple walking and smiling

Our Transforming Masculinities programme aims to challenge social norms and harmful concepts of gender and masculinities by working through and within faith communities.

Female genital mutilation/cutting

An estimated 200 million women and girls live with the consequences of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Tearfund’s programmes focus on a partnership between faith leaders and women and girls to bring an end to FGM/C. This includes supporting FGM/C survivors to speak out against FGM/C, training survivors to lead support groups, and referring survivors to health services in the community.

Faith leaders are engaged through the Transforming Masculinities approach to advocate for an end to the harmful social norms that lead to and perpetuate the practice of FGM/C. This is done through a series of community discussions on faith, tradition and the root causes of FGM/C. 

Survivors and faith leaders also undertake advocacy initiatives around FGM/C legislation with policymakers at local and national levels

Tearfund’s humanitarian response to sexual and gender-based violence

Preventing and responding to violence against women can save lives, and is therefore a vital component of protection in any humanitarian response. Tearfund’s direct response includes:

  • Providing access or referrals to appropriate medical, legal, and psychosocial services for survivors
  • Sharing key messages on safety for women and girls in the community
  • Prevention activities promoting gender equality
  • Addressing social stigma, which is a barrier to survivors accessing services
  • Creating safe spaces for women to gather and discuss issues affecting them, and establishing effective systems for violence to be reported and addressed

Our sexual and gender-based violence work: in-depth

You can find out more about why and how we focus on each of these key areas on our partner website, Tearfund Learn. Tearfund Learn provides free access to our research and resources from over 50 years of experience in international development.

Read more on Tearfund Learn

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