Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

Emma Leaning
Together we can make Shanghai a city that doesn't accept violence against women and girls.
Emma Leaning

Shot by Emma Leaning. Edited by Sun Chao.

Gender-based violence encompasses a range of behaviors, including physical, sexual psychological and economic abuse. According to the UN, one-in-three women worldwide have experienced gender-based violence in their lifetime. The 16 Days Awareness campaign aims to increase understanding and bring about action to end this atrocity. By supporting survivors, promoting equality and challenging harmful norms, we can create a safer world for all. And Shanghai is doing just that.

In our awe-inspiring city, we have the chance to lead the way. So, here’s your call to action: attending events, supporting local organizations, educating yourself about gender-based violence and sharing information online. There are many ways to do your bit.

Here are five things you need to know, and ways you can support the fight against gender-based violence in Shanghai.

Get your orange #16Days Bracelet

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

Orange is the official color of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. For a small donation, you can buy a bracelet and wear your stance against violence toward women and girls with pride. With every purchase, money goes toward providing counseling and medical resource to survivors of abuse.

Watch your language (and the language of others)

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

Words matter, and the way we speak about women and girls shapes how we view and treat them. Be an active bystander. If you see or hear something that’s not OK, call it out in a safe and appropriate way. That includes derogatory language and the trivialization of harmful behavior. Comments like “Boys will be boys” and questions such as “Why didn’t she leave” aren’t helpful. By changing how we speak about women and girls we can create a more respectful and supportive space.

Become an owner of change

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

As a community we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about gender-based violence, to spot dangerous situations and support survivors. Only when we own our obligation will we see change. Panelists in this free online discussion will share their personal journeys of making a difference in communities that include China, South Africa and the United States.

Learn to spot the signs

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

While gender-based violence takes many forms and no experience is the same, there are signs we can look for. To learn more about those signs, I spoke with a survivor of domestic abuse; the smartest, strongest, most inspiring person I know: My mom. Here’s what she had to say:

“OK so, first thing is that domestic violence isn’t just about violence. It can be anything from physical assault to coercion, gaslighting and financial abuse. If you’re concerned for someone, look out for them withdrawing even when excuses seem plausible. Wearing clothes to cover up in warm weather may be an attempt to hide bruising.

If you’re the one in a relationship that feels potentially harmful, red flags include controlling behavior. An abuser might make it clear they don’t like your friends or family to isolate you. Insisting that shopping goes on your credit card, or wanting to access your account would indicate financial abuse. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or making excuses for your partner’s behavior, it’s an issue. If you’re unsure, speak with a trusted friend, family member or therapist.”

Empower and protect yourself

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

Ready to take control of your personal safety and well-being? This free workshop is designed to empower women with practical skills to navigate the world with assurance. Learn from a professional self-defense instructor who specializes in techniques to suit women of all ages and fitness levels, and boost your confidence with situational awareness and effective communication skills that are essential for diffusing potential threats.

The 16 Days Awareness campaign serves as a rally cry to confront and eradicate gender-based violence from society. The statistics are stark, but remember they represent real lives, real pain and real people. Our mission is clear, and to fail is to fail the daughters, mother’s friends and co-workers in our community. That simply cannot happen.

You’ve read this article, so you have the information you need. Together we can make Shanghai a beacon of hope and a city that does not accept violence against its women and girls.

Gender-based violence and what you need to know in Shanghai

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