In order to respond to the global issue of sexual violence, Together for Girls is urgently working to inform individuals and communities that every hour matters for survivors of sexual assault. While it is never too late to receive mental health support and care, survivors have 72 hours to receive life-saving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception.
To this end, Together for Girls commits to the launch the Every Hour Matters Campaign, with the goal of ensuring that those who suffer rape do not also have to experience HIV, unintended pregnancy, and/or long-term mental health issues. The Every Hour Matters Campaign will do this by: 1) Increasing the general publics awareness about the importance of rapid access to post-rape care, in order to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and psychological trauma; and 2) Building partnerships and political will with global, national, and community leaders to improve survivors access to comprehensive services.
The Every Hour Matters Campaign will be implemented over the next three years, with a two-pronged strategy. The first prong of this commitment is global in nature. Together for Girls will work with a variety of international development partners (civil society, UN Agencies, bi-lateral donors and the private sector) to increase information and raise awareness about post-rape care and services among their networkswhich include up to 142 countries worldwide. The number of people reached by the campaign will depend on the networks and reporting by the commitment partners. The second prong will focus on a country-level approach. Together for Girls will work to support one to two national governments in the global south (Kenya will likely be one), charged with leading and coordinating a variety of other partners (civil society, bi-lateral donors, private sector). The goal of this commitment is to raise awareness, impact policies, and increase both the provision and utilization of post-rape care services.
Developed in partnership with Cummins & Partners, the tools created to support the campaign may include: 1) A multi-faceted mobile strategy with a mobile-friendly website; 2) A toolkit and flash drive which includes core elements and guidance related to the campaign with social media and outreach approaches, key policy issues, and state of the art clinical guidelines, policies and tools; and 3) A monitoring framework to track progress.
While the branding will be consistent across countries and target audiences, Together for Girls envisions that the content of the materials will be tested and adapted to each country and/or context. In some cases, for example in terms of technical content, Every Hour Matters will disseminate materials from WHO. This campaign will not only contribute to results under the Sustainable Development Goal #5 (Gender Equality) but also under the Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Target 16.3, ending violence against children).
The biggest challenge to the successful implementation of the campaign and the commitment will be support and uptake by partners on the ground as well as funding to support the roll-out. While the campaign aspect of this commitment is relatively straightforward in terms of action, implementation and monitoring, the longer-term investments of governments and partners in building associated infrastructure and human capacity related to comprehensive post-rape care is far more complex and challenging to monitor directly. Together for Girls will address this by ensuring that they have a sound, yet easy to implement, evaluation framework in place.
Together for Girls will work to implement the Every Hour Matters campaign with at least one new implementing government partner in the global south, three UN agencies (UNAIDS, UN Women, and WHO), and 10 civil society and private sector partners by September 2019.
June August 2016: Partner Engagement
Together for Girls will identify and engage partners from key stakeholder groups to obtain specific support and commitments for the EHM campaign and develop an action-oriented strategy for implementation of the campaign with each partner.
September 2016 May 2017: EHM Toolkit
Together for Girls will work with the creative media company, Cummins & Partners, and other technical partners to develop a series of tools for partners to use to promote the campaign at a more global level, including a: mobile phone strategy, a social media toolkit, key policy recommendations, partners clinical guidelines, and an evaluation strategy. At country-level, in Kenya, Together for Girls will support the National Government in the adaptation of these materials to local contexts.
September 2016 September 2019: Technical Assistance (TA) and Monitoring and Evaluation
Together for Girls will provide TA and guidance as well as assistance to track the reach and impact of the campaign.
September 2019: Final report
Together for Girls will share the report of the EHM campaign at the CGI Annual Meeting.
With the recent adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have marked the beginning of a new era of international development. Gender is a central feature of the SDGs Outcome Document; it is highlighted as a standalone outcome and goal (SDG 5), and is integrated throughout the agreement. Never before has addressing gender inequality been so integral to a global development commitment. In addition, for the first time in an agreement of this nature, violence against children is also prominently featured in SDG 16. Addressing both violence against children and violence against girls and women is critical to ending longstanding cycles of violence and to achieving true gender equality.
In order to advance these targets, Together for Girls is joining a holistic coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International, focusing on three core issue areas of work: 1) Promoting Womens Economic Participation; 2) Addressing Violence Against Girls and Women; and, 3) Advancing Womens Leadership in both Private and Public sectors.
The Every Hour Matters campaign will focus on Issue Area #2, Addressing Violence Against Girls and Women, and aims to increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care and urge global, national, and community leaders to improve access to comprehensive services.
Sexual violence is a highly pervasive global problem that principally impacts women, girls and boys with adolescence and young adulthood being a period of high vulnerability, especially for girls. According to the WHO, an estimated one in three women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner or non-partner violence. Rape is also highly prevalent in children. The Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) conducted in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa estimate that 25 percent of girls first sex was forced, the majority of which occurred before the age of 16. In the United States, about 11 percent of high school girls report experiencing rape, however the majority of these rapes go unreported to the police or other authorities. One global study found that only 7 percent of women reported gender-based violence to a formal source and the VACS found that less than 5 percent of girls and boys who experienced sexual violence ever obtained services to help them recover.
Beyond the violation of a persons human rights, there are significant negative consequences to rape, some of which can be prevented with timely access to health services. Survivors should ideally receive medical care, including a physical exam and treatment for any injuries; post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for prevention of HIV; prophylaxis to prevent other STIs; emergency contraception; and psycho-social support and referrals to additional services, such as legal aid and/or counseling services. While it is never too late to receive mental health support and care, survivors have 72 hours to receive life-saving PEP to prevent HIV, and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception.
Survivors of rape may not disclose for a number of reasons, including the stigma surrounding rape, lack of knowledge about the importance of or access to quality healthcare services. In many instances, the perpetrators of rape are known to the survivors and there is fear of reprisal from the assailant or the community. Cultural norms are also significant and may have additional untoward consequences. In some settings, the shame and potential loss of a bride price or of raising a defiled child may outweigh the risk of accessing care to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy. Structural constraints also play a major role as many areas lack comprehensive post-rape services, trained healthcare providers, reliable social services, and clear policies on what action to take in case of rape, specifically when it comes to minors. Undeveloped referral systems and circuitous requirements that reporting must first occur with the police also restrict peoples access to care.
Together for Girls seeks new partners, particularly in Kenya where there is indication of interest, to support bringing this vision to scale. Together for Girls is looking for country leaders, development partners and private sector funders and/or implementers, who can contribute their leadership, program and technology platforms, networks and resources to support local implementation of the Every Hour Matters campaign.
Together for Girls offers the suite of campaign materials on the EveryMatterHours.org website as well as a series of tools, developed with Cummins & Partners, for partners to use to promote the campaign including a mobile strategy; a toolkit with core elements and guidance related to the campaign with social media and outreach approaches, key policy issues, and partners clinical guidelines, policies and tools; collateral materials and an evaluation strategy. Together for Girls will also serve as a convener for partners and will provide technical assistance as needed and able.