The loss of home, livelihoods and future opportunities put heavy stress on displaced individuals and families. Unfortunately, these factors often increase domestic and gender-based violence (GBV) among families—not only in Jordan but in most crisis-affected regions. Policy makers and humanitarian organizations therefore seek for ways to reduce and prevent events of gender-based violence—CRP is one of them. Recently, we didn’t stop with the programs at our Family Resource and Community Center. Our board president Melinda Wells and GBV consultant Suhail Abualsameed just published a book chapter discussing research on the root causes of GBV and the strategy CRP adopted in tackling this issue.
After hearing reports from community members of increasing levels of domestic violence, CRP started to encourage them to identify and openly discuss gender-related problems. Suhail and Melinda state that in order to end domestic violence and achieve gender equality both men’s and women’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors need to change. An important step is therefore to include men in training and education programmes that prioritize women’s safety.
CRP created safe spaces for women as well as support groups for men. These aim at releasing some of the tension that the burden of providing for displaced families puts on men—stress that often contributes to violent behaviour. Special circles where men can talk about their problems have since become an integral part of CRP’s evolving GBV prevention work.
“Our experience shows that programming has the most impact when beneficiaries define the issues they want to address themselves,” argue the authors. This also prevents organizations from forcing outside or culturally-irrelevant ideas onto a group. Instead, CRP uses workshops to engage community leaders as mobilizers of gender awareness amongst their peers and families.
In addition, CRP also assessed gender-related attitudes and knowledge among community members as well as volunteers and staff. The research revealed not only the support of the community for gender related programming but also highlighted important differences along ethnic and religious lines in attitudes about gender. This shows how important it is to understand and pay careful attention to the specific socio-economic, cultural, and situational problems different members of the community face. CRP wants to take the experience it gained through its work with the community forward, with the hope of putting an end to gender-based violence at home.
To read more, you can find the book here.
Wells, Melinda; Abualsameed, Suhail (2018): “Acknowledging and Addressing the Risks of Gender-Based Violence that Follow Refugees Across Borders: Escalation of Domestic Violence in Refugee Populations” In Shekhawat, Seema, and Re E. C. Del. Women and Borders: Refugees, Migrants and Communities.