Grace Farms Foundation, UN Women and The NO MORE Foundation yesterday presented an all-day forum that focused on the challenges and opportunities of preventing violence against women and girls in and through sports. While sports can be a way to put women and girls in the best, most positive light as strong, capable leaders and winners, too often violence against women and girls exists in sports and is perpetuated in the culture around sports. The “Victory Over Violence” Forum raised awareness of gender-based violence in sports and generated actionable steps for those in the world of sports to be part of the solution. The event brought together national and international experts, survivors, representatives of professional sports leagues, current and former high profile athletes, service providers, law enforcement, and policy makers to share their experiences, expertise and lessons learned to improve the response to and help prevent violence against women and girls. More than 450 people from over 25 countries participated in the event in-person or virtually.
“We are pleased to partner with the UN Women Ending Violence Against Women Section and The NO MORE Foundation as we shine a light on violence against women and girls in sports and convene experts across sectors to identify ways we can work together to elevate survivor voices, strengthen law enforcement’s response to these crimes, and forge new pathways to prevention,” said Alina Marquez Reynolds.
UN Women, in partnership with UNESCO, is developing a handbook on addressing violence against women and girls in and through sports. This global forum provided critical inputs and information for the development of the handbook which will be released in the near future. The handbook will support sports actors to put in place policies and programmes to address this issue within sport settings, and utilize sports as a platform to mobilize change positive social gender norms.
“Evidence suggests that it is possible to prevent violence against women and girls through a coordinated and multi-sectoral approach, involving multiple strategies implemented across individuals, communities, and societal levels. It is increasingly clear that sports have an important role to play in influencing narratives that promote positive, respectable, non-violent, non-discriminatory norms, while also creating safe spaces for athletes and other personnel to take part in sports,” stated Kalliopi Mingerou, Chief of the Ending Violence against Women Section, UN Women.
“Sports have tremendous reach and power, from the youth to the professional levels. It is critical to utilize sports as a tool to help stop and prevent violence against women and girls by educating athletes, engaging sports fans and spectators, and supporting a coordinated community response. The forum brought together leaders from around the world who can now more easily connect and collaborate to fuel more positive change in and through sports,” said Pamela Zaballa, CEO, The NO MORE Foundation.
Participants and experts in the “Victory Over Violence” Forum included:
- Breanna Stewart, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-time WNBA Champion and 3-time WNBA All-Star, in conversation with ESPN’s Katie Barnes
- Dwayne Allen, former NFL player
- Eric Anderson, President & CEO, Los Angeles Rebellion Rugby Football Club
- Paola Andrade, Executive Director
- Juan Carlos Arean, Program Director
- Carla Chalas, Senior Coordinator of Player Programs, Baseball Operations, Major League Baseball
- Khamsavath Chanthavysouk, Policy Specialist, EVAW Section
- Kelly Coyne, Deputy Chief Program Officer
- Deborah DeBare, Senior Deputy Director, Capacity Technical Assistance (CTA) Team
- Grace French, President and Founder, The Army of Survivors
- Margaret Groban, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Department of Justice National Domestic Violence Coordinator
- Rosie Hidalgo, Senior Advisor on Gender Based Violence and Special Assistant to the President, White House Gender Policy Council
- Anna Isaacson, SVP, Social Responsibility, NFL
- David Jones, Alberta Says NO MORE
- Alicia Johnson, Director of the UWO Women’s Center
- Crystal Justice, Chief External Affairs Officer, National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Mine Korpulu, Co-founder and Co-leader, We Play Equal Turkey
- Y. Marlow, Founder & CEO Saving Promise
- Nancy Mclennan, Programme Specialist and QPE Project Coordinator
- Kalliopi Mingeirou, Chief, Ending Violence Against Women Section, UN Women
- Don McPherson, Former NFL and CFL Quarterback and author of Throw Like a Girl- The Blind Spot of Masculinity
- Tony Porter, CEO, A Call To Men
- Kyle Richard, It’s On Us, Biden Courage Award Winner
- Anne Wafula-Strike, MBE, Commonwealth Games Ambassador
- Cheryl Thomas, Executive Director
- Tanya Prewitt-White, Survivor, Advocate and Author of “Surviving and Mitigation Sexual Misconduct in Sport
Sessions focused on critical issues including:
- Changing cultural norms and biases and engaging men to help develop solutions to gender-based violence
- Sharing lessons, experiences, and best practices for a survivor-centered response to violence against women and girls in sports
- Improving access to justice for victims and survivors of violence against women in sport
- Recognizing the role of professional and youth sports in preventing violence against women and girls and promoting women’s and girls’ agency and leadership
“Victory Over Violence” was the latest program of Grace Farms Foundation aimed at addressing gender-based violence. Grace Farms works to disrupt, gender-based violence, human trafficking and environmental crimes by empowering local, national, and global justice systems, non-governmental agencies, and the public. Leveraging law enforcement expertise and a unique multidisciplinary approach, Grace Farm Foundation’s Justice Initiative implements policy, capacity building, and awareness programs focused on eradicating these injustices.
Feature photo: Dean Kaufman