“This year our campaign presents a double challenge. We are called to think about how we address perpetrators with a history of migration. But we also need to challenge ourselves and reflect on our positions of power and privilege.”
- Alessandra Pauncz, WWP EN Executive Director
Reasons for migration are as diverse as the people who take it upon themselves to leave the countries in which they were born. For some, it is the hope for a better, more peaceful life. For others, it is a new job opportunity or love that encourages them to leave behind their home and risk a fresh start in an unknown part of the world. Migration, whether from the Gambia to Italy or the USA to Germany, can cause an immense amount of stress for families and couples. Often, trauma and racism, homesickness, language barriers and uncertain economic situations or issues with residence permits exacerbate this stress. Gender inequality and male entitlement are global issues. Migrant men of all backgrounds and non-migrant men are equally likely to perpetrate domestic and gender-based violence.
Migration is not the cause of male violence. However, the stressors and issues mentioned above make an intervention against intimate partner violence more complicated.
Many perpetrator programmes still need to develop the tools or knowledge to handle the complex and intersecting challenges of working with men from diverse migrant backgrounds. They need to:
- Contact local communities or organisations working with them.
- Develop services in additional languages.
- Learn about legal rights and problems of survivors and perpetrators without permanent residency in their host countries.
- Address their own biases that keep them from effectively working with migrant men.
- Train facilitators in trauma-informed responses & cultural sensitivity.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we encourage perpetrator programmes across Europe to stand up and say: "We are #ResponsibleTogether for ending gender-based violence in ALL communities".
In the past years, discussions about migration have become increasingly undifferentiated, racist and discriminating. Racism and discrimination are forms of violence that many migrants from marginalised communities experience daily.
In the context of gender-based violence, this violence shows itself in discriminating ideas, such as
- That migrant women (esp. Muslim women or women of colour) are inherently vulnerable or submissive.
- That migrant men (esp. Muslim women or men of colour) are inherently violent and misogynistic.
- That all people who grew up in the same region or with the same religion have the same worldviews and cannot change their behaviour.
These prejudices permeate the systems that should support survivors and intervene against violence. They have severely negative impacts on interventions against violence:
- Violence against women is culturalised and perpetrators are not referred to programmes, because "it's their culture".
- Women are afraid to come forward with their experiences because they do not want to confirm racist biases.
- Survivors do not report violence because the system keeps treating them like second-class humans or because they have experienced violence at the hands of the police.
- Perpetrators use the uncertain residence status of their partners to control and abuse them because their countries of residence will deport them if they leave their abusers.
Every one of us can become active against systemic and everyday violence towards marginalised communities.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we encourage you
- To educate yourself on the lives of marginalised groups in your town, region or country.
- To speak up against racist and discriminating attitudes in your family and friend groups.
- To question your own biases and prejudices.
- To donate your time or money to organisations fighting for migrant and women of colour in your towns.