Awareness and training in the fields of sexism and harassment
In order to change perceptions and practices, it is essential to understand what gender-based harassment in public areas means and what forms it takes. Implementing awareness and training actions is a key step in moving forwards.
The first two areas of intervention identified to combat sexism and harassment in public areas are awareness and training.
Awareness actions can be designed for specific target groups (young people, women, men, professionals in a certain field, etc.) or the general public. They can also take different forms including workshops, conferences or round tables, awareness campaigns, action weeks and many other options.
Training is primarily intended for professionals whose line of work is linked to public areas. In particular, it draws the attention of these professionals to the issue of sexism and harassment in public areas while providing them with tools and examples of good practices.
“Zero sexism in my city”, a general public campaign in several parts
Through the “Zero sexism in my city” awareness campaign, the City of Geneva wants to reassert its commitment to fighting sexism and harassment and reinforcing each individual’s right to enjoy public space in total peace of mind. Launched in November 2019, this campaign accompanies the development of measures within the framework of the municipal action plan while also becoming its visual identity.
It is scheduled in several stages: from 11 to 24 November, in parallel to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November), an initial series of posters will be displayed around the streets of Geneva. Specific versions adapted to certain public areas will follow at the end of 2019, beginning with those designed for sports venues.
This campaign is driven by a desire to emphasise the fact that gender-based and sexual violence is neither accepted nor acceptable and that it is a societal challenge that concerns all of us and must be addressed collectively.
Coordinated by the City, it is implemented in partnership with Geneva-based associations and institutions which are also partners of the action plan as a whole. These include 2ème Observatoire, DécadréE, We Can Dance iT, F-Information, Viol-Secours, Eyes up, Les Créatives, the Fondation genevoise pour l'animation socioculturelle (FASe), the Equality Service of the University of Geneva and the Office for the Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Violence (BPEV) of the Canton of Geneva.
“Zero sexism in my sport”
Public space is not restricted to the streets or public transport. It also includes various locations such as venues for festivities or places intended for sporting activities. When behaviour that can be described as everyday sexism of sexual harassment is observed in these places, they become less welcoming and less accessible for the people affected.
To remedy this and to promote areas intended for sporting activities where each individual feels at ease and respected, the Sports Service has launched an awareness campaign entitled “Zero sexism in my sport”. The campaign includes posters, awareness actions and training courses which will be implemented as part of two action plans developed by the municipality: “Zero sexism in my city” and “Gender and sports”.
“GE peux, Tu peux!”, self-defence courses for adult and teenage womens
Having organised Fem Do Chi self-defence classes for several years, the association Viol-Secours aims to provide women with the tools designed to ensure awareness and prevent violence in everyday life.
In addition to simple physical and verbal self-defence techniques, the Fem Do Chi method places particular emphasis on self-confidence and self-esteem, essential elements in preventing gender-based violence.
The Fem Do Chi method takes into account the particularities of violence against women, the numerous contexts in which violence occurs, its intersectional nature and the differences in education between girls and boys.
These self-defence courses are a tangible tool for improving both women’s safety and their feeling of security and legitimacy in public, without for all that restricting their freedom of action.
The introduction of self-defence workshops for women is one of the priority measures for 2019 with regard to the strategic axis of “prevention and awareness”. For a token price of CHF 15, courses lasting one full day or two half days are therefore organised for adult women as well as for teenage girls between 13 and 17 living in the City of Geneva.
A new series of “Ge peux!” courses will be organised during the course of 2020. Useful information will be provided in the “Zero sexism” information pack and on the Fem Do Chi page.
“Don’t look away!”: civic courage workshops to combat violence against women
As part of the “Zero sexism in my city” action plan, the City of Geneva supports several "Don't look away" workshops organised by Amnesty International. Based on the theatre-forum method, this interactive project provides an opportunity to practise displaying civic courage when confronted by examples of violence to which women are subjected in public areas.
It is sometimes very difficult to intervene if you witness gender-related violence, in particular when this occurs in public areas. This is due to numerous factors including the dilution of responsibility, anonymity, fear for your own safety, fear of being intrusive, etc.
Certain simple strategies can nevertheless be adopted to defuse potentially violent situations. Furthermore, showing solidarity with the victim of a gender-related assault may help them avoid suffering both physical and psychological scars. The role of witnesses is crucial in combating gender-related harassment and the violence to which women are subjected in public areas.
Round tables and mediation actions
As part of the municipal “Sexism and harassment in public areas” action plan, the Agenda 21-Sustainable City department supports different round tables and mediation actions focusing on gender issues in public areas.
“FemmeS et espace public” – round table within the framework of Equality Week 2020
Organised by the Collectif pour la Grève Féministe 2019 Genève as part of Equality Week 2020, this round table aims to enhance the visibility of women, too often under-represented in public, and give them a platform to express themselves while highlighting intersectional problems (accumulation of different discriminations such as sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-fat bias). Based on their personal experience, these people will highlight the systemic oppression and micro-aggressions suffered in public space in Geneva.
Increasing awareness of women’s experiences in public areas and their concerns is a crucial step in developing solutions that will help combat this violence.
“Putting an end to violence against women” – round table as part of Les Créatives 2019
Organised on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, this round table placed particular focus on the notion of “continuity of violence”. This concept highlights the continuity between private and public areas as well as between everyday sexism and gender-based/sexual violence. Local and international speakers, artists, activists and specialists in the fields of legal or political issues or the prevention of violence shared their thoughts on this matter and identified avenues for putting an end to violence to women.
Training new municipal police officers
A 2-hour awareness module on the theme of everyday sexism and harassment in public areas has been incorporated into the continuing education of municipal police officers.
This training module is provided by the French-speaking gender relations research and training institute, the 2ème Observatoire. This provides participants with tools for identifying and preventing problem situations and encouraging a change in practices. It can be adapted to other target audiences.
Article modifié le 09.06.2020 à 09:11