“For her own good”: Sexual and Gender Based Violence in armed conflict

In recent years, NPWJ has developed a campaign called: For Her Own Good: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and subjugation of women and girls perpetrated “with protective intent” in armed conflict and related coercive environments.
Women and girls continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict and its consequences, as pre-existing power dynamics not only continue to play out during those periods, but are often deepened and become even more entrenched. Women and girls start from a position of disadvantage, and even subjugation, and when conflict, destruction and displacement begin, they are natural targets for further disempowerment as families, groups and societies (including newly-formed societies in coercive settings like refugee or IDP camps) struggle to come to grips with their new realities, to make sense of the nonsensical and to control the uncontrollable. 
This might not happen due to malice or ill-will, but is sometimes based on a survival strategy that aims to “protect” women and girls and their family members, in which other women and guardians may be willing participants, by including by subjugating them to men perceived as more powerful, denying their agency and violating their human rights. This brings further disempowerment and exclusion, creating and strengthening conditions conducive to further violations taking place. 
The UN Security Council in Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1888 (2009) has recognised the systematic nature of these violations and over the years extensive progress has been made in recognising the need to combat impunity for sexual violence in conflict, to empower women and girls and to engage governments in combating sexual violence. However, too often in situation of armed conflict and other conflict related coercive environments, women and girls are to a large extent still seen as objects of protection, rather than rights holders, and violence and subjugation continue to be perpetrated with the active assent family members and communities as “protective measures”.
On 25 September 2018, in the margins of the opening of the UN General Assembly, No Peace Without Justice, in partnership with the Italian Mission to the UN, organised the high-level event “From vulnerable to protagonist: empowering women against human rights denial committed ‘for her own good’”. This high-level side event was intended to expose both the dynamics of subjugation that are inherent in “protective sexism” and the denial of human rights of women and girls committed “for her own good”. The event championed policies and best practices in development programs intended to empower women and girls as agents of sustainable change; amplified the voices and experiences of women and girls in empowerment programs; challenged stereotypes and gender-coded programs in development, livelihood and emergency response programs; and reaffirmed the interdependence of SDG 5 and SDG 16.
In this framework, since 2019 NPWJ in partnership with UN Women is implementing the project “Strengthening first line responders and empowering Syrian refugee women and girls in Turkey to combat and overcome SGBV”. The initiative aims at involving affected communities in recognising violence and denial of human rights committed against women and girls and fostering their direct participation in addressing it. Specifically, it will promote a change in the perceptions, policies and practices of development and emergency response agencies and communities through the elaboration of field participatory analysis in host communities in Turkey. The expected result of the project is that refugee and humanitarian response actors are more equipped and responsive to combat violence. 
List of activities
Final recommendations on GBV on Syrian refugee women and girls
The following stems from the results of an extensive field research in five Turkish districts and sub-districts (Istanbul, Gaziantep, Nizip, Antakya, and Kilis), which involved more than 200 Syrian women, men, adolescents, and elders. The recommendations aim at summarising and voicing their needs and remarks as a basis for advocacy and policy making, implementing a participatory approach to eradicate GBV against women and girls in the context under analysis. 
- “The Role of Women’s Civil Society Organisations in Combatting GBV among Syrian Refugee Communities”, online event, 30 March 2021
- "Empowering Syrian Refugee Women and Girls", online event, 25 March 2021
- "Beyond Covid-19: no respite for Syria?", virtual meeting, 1 May 2020
- High level event “From vulnerable to protagonist: empowering women against human rights denial committed “for her own good”, UN Headquarters, New York City, 25 September 2018