Search This Blog

Monday, March 7, 2011

How is progress made?

Newsweek has an article today about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's focus on the empowerment of women and girls worldwide. As a system thinker on a global scale, she can see the impact of violence against women on cultures...
Because where women are disempowered and dehumanized, you are more likely to see not just antidemocratic forces, but extremism that leads to security challenges for us. the same time, because of her travel, she also has seen personally the very real human impact...
"One thing I would urge, if you do get a chance, is to visit a shelter, a site where trafficking victims have been rescued and are being rehabilitated,” she said to a room that had suddenly gone silent. “I recently was in Cambodia, and it is just so overwhelmingly heartbreaking and inspiring to see these young girls."
"One girl lost her eyes—to punish her, the owner of the brothel had stabbed her in the eye with a nail,” Clinton continued. “She was the most optimistic, cheerful young woman, just a tremendous spirit. What she wants to do when she grows up is help other victims of trafficking, so there is just an enormous amount of work to be done.
Changing cultures.
When it comes to violence against women, I've found that too many of us look at it as a personal or cultural matter that we have no right to address. When we first began the project to create a game to address violence against women, I myself was conflicted. But then again I had been conditioned by such a situation - and narrowly escaped. I remember distinctly being told that it was my fault. The culture of abuse is a culture of control, of taking away women's rights through fear. No wonder perhaps that the innocent are most in danger. For example in 2002, 150 million GIRLS suffered from sexual abuse of some type.

When we first began the project, we traveled to South Africa to see through another cultural lens. There a South African writer, an educated artist, confronted us and asked,
"How dare you tell me how I can or cannot punish my partner."
I do not think I will ever forget that meeting - or the young girls we met. Today they must just be reaching puberty. I often think of them...and all our young women, who were much like myself, young and full of a desire to love and be loved.
The greatest gift we can bring to the word is peace. And what I know for sure, is until all girls and women are assured of equality and the right to be free from abuse, we will never be free from war and violence. The good news on BREAKAWAY is that it is appealing to a global culture. The platform on which it is delivered is open and free— . Our challenge is to get it into the hands of more boys and young men. Recent statistics on the website show, visitors from 161 countries:
Top 10 countries:
1. United States
2. Pakistan
3. Canada
4. Indonesia
5. India
6. United Kingdom
7. Australia
8. South Africa
9. Malaysia
10. France
And the game is being played in 121 countries:
Top 10 countries:
1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. Albania & France (tied)
5. Algeria & Brazil (tied)
6. America Samoa
7. Japan
8. Australia & India (tied)
Focus for the next year is on getting it into more hands. To this end we will be concentrating on:

  1. online marketing to reach youth directly
  2. connecting to groups that work with youth worldwide
  3. a facilitator's guide
Other areas that we are seeking funding or volunteers for are:
  1. more translations - if you would like to donate translation services we can get it into more countries.
  2. CD duplication and distribution to groups where the internet is weak
  3. impact assessment
  4. a mobile version to reach most broadly
The final chapter of BREAKAWAY, in English, Spanish and French, will be released this March. Its the month of my birthday and it feels like a gift—a gift to my much younger self, to all those girls around the world, and from us to world peace.

No comments: