Global News Sep 19, 2019

Speak Out, Listen Up for Peace: Avon and Peace One Day join forces to open up the conversation about domestic violence

Avon and Peace One Day join forces

Domestic abuse affects one in three women worldwide1, yet only 60% of women believe sexual abuse claims will be taken seriously by legal and law enforcement systems2. To encourage more women to open up and speak out about their experiences, Avon has partnered with Peace One Day to tell three women’s stories.

Globally, domestic violence and abuse against women and girls continues to rise. Although at least 144 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, less than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort.

Launching on Peace Day, Saturday 21 September, the films document the experiences lived by Gemma in the UK, Ana in Mexico and Thulisile in South Africa, demonstrating the devastating personal impact of this global issue.

Avon’s stand4her report 3 highlights:

  • One in five women globally do not feel safe in their community, rising to 50% in some parts of the world (47% in South Africa and 51% in Turkey)
  • Only 60% of women believe sexual abuse claims 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

The films are part of Avon’s wider work to end violence and abuse against women and girls. Avon and the Avon Foundation For Women have raised and donated over $65 million for education and awareness initiatives. In 2018 alone Avon’s support of front-line services helped over 500,000 women.

Peace One Day, the not-for-profit organization led by founder Jeremy Gilley, began in 1999, with his vision of creating a day of ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date – Peace Day.

Jan Zijderveld , CEO of Avon said, “Raising awareness of gender violence and abuse in all its forms is a crucial step in tackling this issue. We’re really pleased to be partnering with Peace One Day to make these stories heard, to open up the conversation, to speak out against domestic violence and to speak up for peace. Gender-violence is rooted in broader inequalities, and beyond fundraising the private sector has a crucial role to play in opening up more opportunities to support women’s economic empowerment to help break the cycle of violence.”

Jeremy Gilley, Director and Founder of Peace One Day said today, “Peace One Day’s mission has been to establish a Peace Day with a fixed calendar date, prove it could reduce violence in areas of conflict, homes, workplaces, local communities and now our goal is to institutionalise this day with 3 billion people being aware by 2025. As part of the Peace Day celebration Avon asked me to make three films telling the story of three courageous women from different continents, shining a light on their inspirational stories. Avon’s work to empower women is incredible and Peace One Day are honored to partner with them.”

Gemma’s story 

Gemma endured physical and psychological abuse at the hands of a boyfriend. He began by belittling her, then forced her to come off Facebook (which she used to run her business), give up her car and house, and Gemma declared herself bankrupt. The first time he was violent, she left him and moved out with her sons. However, he attempted suicide and told her it was her fault, drawing her back in. After more incidents of violence, he tried to cut her throat. She managed to press a panic alarm the police had fitted. The next morning, she was informed that he had killed himself. While she initially struggled to move on, today she has her own house and car again, and is with Avon as a National Field Trainer, proud to be working for a company that recognises and supports victims of gender-based violence.

Ana’s story

The death of her mother and continued mistreatment by her husband left Ana feeling belittled and depressed. Years of violent and abusive episodes with her husband had made her doubt her abilities as a mother, friend and business woman. To help build her confidence, Ana started working as an Avon representative. Taking charge of her own business allowed Ana to realise the skills she had, form new friendships with other Avon Sales Leaders and gain the financial independence she needed to leave her husband.

Thulisile’s story

Thuslisile had been in an abusive relationship for 10 years, subject to violence and controlling behaviour on a frequent basis – often ending up in hospital with her injuries. After years of isolation from her friends, Thulisile joined Avon as a way to socialise without risking violence at the hands of her husband. Eventually, Thulisile was able to earn enough money through her Avon business to leave her husband and build her own house where her and her children now live safely.

1. World Health Organisation, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.

2. United Nations Economic and Social Affairs (2015), The World’s Women 2015, Trends and Statistics report

3. Avon (2018). Stand4her report.