Global News | Nov 22, 2018

Avon launches #EmbraceTheChange campaign to raise awareness of gender-based violence as new research shows only 60% of women believe sexual abuse claims will be taken seriously

#EmbraceTheChange to raise awareness of gender-based violence

  • Global research shows one in five women do not feel safe in their community
  • Only 60% of women believe that claims of sexual abuse will be taken seriously by legal and law enforcement systems
  • Only 59% of women trust their legal systems to treat psychological abuse as a crime
  • More than half of women report that they, or someone close to them, has been a victim of abuse
  • Avon’s #EmbraceTheChange campaign aims to reach 100 million women and men to raise awareness of non-physical forms of abuse

Today Avon released new research showing the extent to which women around the world feel unsafe within their communities and unprotected by their legal institutions. The research, commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women, surveyed 14,400 women in 15 countries to better understand experiences of violence, and how supported women feel if they, or someone they know, is a victim of abuse.

One in five women do not feel safe

The findings show one in five women globally do not feel safe in their community, rising to 47% in South Africa and 51% in Turkey. The research shows that women also feel unprotected by their societies. Only 60% of women believe that claims of sexual abuse will be taken seriously (falling to 48% in Peru), and only 58% trust their legal systems to protect victims of physical or sexual abuse (falling to 45% in Turkey). 59% of women in Argentina and 58% in South Africa trust their legal system to treat physical abuse as a crime.

Non-physical forms of abuse are less well understood

Rates of trust were lower for non-physical forms of abuse, with 59% of women globally trusting their legal systems to treat psychological abuse as a crime, and 55% believing that financial abuse would be treated as such. Only 27% of women in the Russian Federation and 38% in Turkey believe that psychological abuse would be considered criminal, compared to 87% in the Philippines and 77% in Colombia.

Avon’s #EmbraceTheChange campaign is working to change this

Ahead of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence starting on 25 November, Avon is launching a new campaign to draw attention to the unspoken violence devastating women’s lives around the world. #EmbraceTheChange is a global awareness campaign that will shine a light on the different forms of non-physical abuse experienced by women around the world, including cyber-bullying, coercive control, emotional abuse and street harassment.

Working with Avon’s network of 6 million Representatives and using newly created social media content , local charity partnerships and events, #EmbraceTheChange will reach 100 million women and men to raise awareness of the ways in which abuse takes place, and where victims can get the support they need. The films will be played across Avon’s channels over the months of November and December, and supported by partner organisations, includingWomen’s Aid,Vital Voices, and La Casa del Encuentro.

Jan Zijderveld, CEO of Avon Products Inc. said: “Avon has a long history of empowering women, and we’ve been tackling violence against women and supporting front-line services for over a decade. The alarming findings of the Avon Foundation’s research show that there is still much to do. Avon’s new #EmbraceTheChange campaign challenges everyone to think about their behaviour and spread the word about what is wrong, and how we can all help change it. Awareness is a critical first step towards creating a world where women can live free from the fear of violence. Reaching men and women is vital, and we’ll be sharing this campaign across our community of 6 million Representatives, and their social networks globally.”

Other key findings

  • 82% of women globally consider whistling, shouting and sexual comments to constitute abuse.
  • Only 40% of British women and 54% of Polish women would know where to seek support for abuse.
  • 38% of Filipino women believe it is a wife’s duty to give her partner sex when he wants it, compared to 9% globally. Only 79% of Filipino women think it is acceptable to use contraception.
  • Only 64% of women in Brazil, 62% in Argentina and 61% in South Africa trust the legal enforcement system in their country to treat sexual abuse as a crime.
  • 44% of women in Peru do not believe claims of sexual abuse will be taken seriously by the legal and law enforcement system.
  • Only 88% of women in Italy think that pressuring a woman to have sex constitutes abuse.

View the #EmbraceTheChange films , read the full Global Women's Survey and find out more about Avon's promise to help end violence against women and girls .