Action Breaks Silence - Creating safer communities
by Debi Steven
Debi will be running a Personal Safety talk and demonstration at the FiLiA conference
Gender-based violence is a global problem. In the UK, approximately 585,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted in England and Wales alone every year and 2 women die at the hands of their intimate partner every week. In India, 848 women or girls are either harassed, raped or killed every single day. And in South Africa, rapes are estimated to take place every 26 seconds and it is thought that almost half of all women will be raped in their lifetime.
Action Breaks Silence is an educational charity established to create a world where women and girls can live their lives free from fear of gender-based violence.
To try and break the cycle of violence, Action Breaks Silence offers two educational programmes: The Empowerment Programme for women and girls; and The Empathy Programme for boys, which challenges gender stereotyping and builds feelings of empathy and respect towards women and girls.
These programmes are currently taught, free of charge, in schools and community groups in India, South Africa and the UK. To date, the charity has taught over 47,000 beneficiaries since the charity’s foundation.
Action Breaks Silence employs local young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves, as instructors and facilitators. In time, the charity aims to empower them to become ‘Trainers of Trainers’, therefore dramatically extending the reach of our programmes.
Our educational programmes are making a difference to both girls’ and boys’ lives. We asked girls how they felt after a workshop and 99.5% of them felt less scared, 98.6% felt more capable of defending themselves and 100% of girls said they felt more confident. Whilst 100% of the boys said that their views of violence against women have changed and that the workshop made a significant change to their lives – to such an extent that that they will act differently towards women and girls.