Global News | Nov 25, 2020
Join us and speak out against gender-based violence
More violence takes place in our homes, schools and communities than in warzones. 1 in 3 women experiences violence or abuse in her lifetime. Statistically, we all know someone who has experienced GBV.
In order to end GBV globally, we must all speak out against it. To mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we’re launching #SpeakOutSilenceHurts. This campaign is supported by fundraising in the countries where we’re active, including through sales of a Speak Out lipstick and face mask.
This call to speak out comes amid concern that the latest social restrictions across the globe will spark a second surge in domestic violence after global cases increased by 20% during the first lockdown. 
As a further statement of our commitment to survivors, we are rolling out a new Gender-Based Violence Protocol and Leave for employees experiencing gender-based violence. Our message to all survivors is: we stand with you. Any employee experiencing gender-based violence will be signposted to local support services and resources and will be able to access paid leave if appropriate.
We also commit to sensitise employees to gender-based violence, provide training to raise awareness and break down the wall of silence, as well as to support survivors.
Building on 15 years of working in this area, we’ll work closely with our global network of specialist NGO partners across the world who will provide support to their employees – from legal advice to psychological support and counselling.
“Whilst the world focuses its attention on finding the solution to one pandemic, another silent killer – gender-based violence – hides behind closed doors. This global issue hit epidemic proportions even before Covid-19. Now, as an unintended consequence of the isolation measures needed to combat Covid-19, vulnerable women and children are trapped at home with abusers. As a result, we’ve seen reports of domestic violence worsening during lockdown, with UN Women reporting an increase in calls to helplines in many countries.
"But with underreporting still prevalent, it prompts the question – how many people are still not able to make the call for help? This is an unnerving thought, but it is the crux of why we need to speak out, raise awareness and signpost where to go for help. At Avon, funding frontline NGOs to support helplines and services across the world, we know the support is out there. Now, we need to make sure people are aware of it – which is why we are using our five-million strong network of our Representatives and vast digital reach to speak out and spread the word."
Angela Cretu, CEO, Avon International
Working with us to deliver Gender-Based Violence training to employees is Vital Voices, the international non-profit organisation that campaigns on critical issues of women’s rights and economic empowerment. The Avon Foundation and Vital Voices have been working together for more than ten years to help women and girls live safe lives, free from violence. Together they have been running programmes reaching over two million people in 66 countries, we are donating over US$4 million to Vital Voices.
“With swathes of the world’s population forced to spend more time at home, a fertile ground for domestic violence has been laid. Victims are finding it harder to escape their abusers, and the result is a spike in violence against women and girls. This sharpens the urgency to speak out and raise awareness of support services so that one day we can end violence against women around the world.
"As our home and working lives become increasingly intertwined, it is vital that employers take an active approach to addressing gender-based violence and strive to provide support to those who need it – whether that be through legal advice, psychological support, or counselling. Our Gender-Based Violence Protocol and Leave sets a leading example for the wider business eco-system, and we hope companies cutting across different geographies and sectors take advantage of the open source information and embrace this new initiative to help end gender-based violence for good."
Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices
 Domestic violence increases globally during lockdown, BBC