Manila, Philippines – New research from global beauty company, Avon, and the NO MORE Foundation, reveals that more than a third of women (35%) have been affected by degrading comments made by an intimate partner.
The research surveyed over 8,300 women in eight countries, including the UK, Poland, and the Philippines. The study found that nearly two in every five respondents aged 25-34 are subjected to constant verbal abuse within their relationships – the highest among demographics.
The civil society-led campaign 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an international movement that commences on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on December 10, Human Rights Day.
In support of this cause, Avon and NO MORE are launching a global campaign to increase awareness against verbal abuse and its effects in relationships, which usually lead to coercive control and domestic violence.
Upon being asked if they know where to get help, 1 in 10 (11%) of the respondents reported that they do not know what to do or are too scared to do anything about their predicament. These factors contribute in the victims being stuck in abusive relationships.
Words Hurt Just as Much
Almost half (47%) of respondents have shared that the negative comments usually stem from their general appearance, with 1 in 5 (19%) experiencing this within the last month. Other reasons allude to their partners degrading their intelligence (43%), career (44%), weight (50%), or what they wear (50%). This trend becomes more common for those aged 25-34 compared to those aged 55+ which is only 10%.
More than half (55%) of the women also reported that their partners have deflected criticism against friends and family, which is a common tactic done by abusers to manipulate their victims to alienate them from other people outside the relationship.
“Verbal abuse is a serious, prevalent issue that takes a huge and often long-lasting toll on the self-esteem and confidence of those who experience it,” shares NO MORE Foundation’s Global Executive Director, Pamela Zaballa, who goes on explaining that this system, if overlooked, trivialize, or tolerated, can often be a precursor to physical violence. “We’re proud to partner with Avon to promote an online portal providing crucial information and tools to learn to recognise the signs of verbal abuse, find help if needed, and become inspired by courageous survivors’ stories.”
Breaking the Cycle
Of those subjected to verbal abuse, about 16% had sought support, with 30% seeking help from a family member, and 26% reaching out to a friend. Interestingly, a small fraction have also acquired support from beauty therapists or hairdressers (2%), as well as their Avon Representatives (2%). These individuals, who are often outside of the influence of abusers, have become a critical lifeline for the victims.
This is why it became an initiative for Avon to offer special training to its 5 million Representatives worldwide, by providing them a toolkit with access to prevention, bystander, and support resources especially if they notice signs of verbal abuse within their communities.
More than a Woman’s Issue
Most women (81%) around the world believe that more should be done in educating young men regarding their beliefs and attitudes towards women.
In their continuous advocacy in breaking the silence around gender-based violence, Avon and NO MORE Foundation are gearing up to amplify their message in support of victim sand survivors.
The beauty brand and charity are encouraging people to sign a pledge to end verbal abuse. This can be signed by saying ‘Alexa, open the NO MORE skill’ to an Alexa device or online via the NO MORE Foundation website. Avon Philippines has also launched a range of fundraising products, including the Breast Cancer Promise Manual Foldable Umbrella, the Evita Watch, and the Laura Charm Bracelet.
Proceeds from the fundraising products will be donated to local NGOs that support women overcoming abuse including Luna Legal Center, Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE), Ing Makababaying Aksyon (IMA) Foundation, and Women’s Care Center, Inc. As part of Avon’s 135th anniversary, another $1.35 million will be donated in grants benefitting NGOs for women around the world.
Avon CEO, Angela Cretu, comments: “Over the last 15 years Avon has made it our mission to end violence against women and break down the wall of silence. We have also introduced a GBV Protocol and Ambassadors to support every associate who may be experiencing domestic abuse, for example offering them access to leave or facilitating conversations with managers.”
Cretu continues, “This 16 Days of Activism we are calling for people unsure of what verbal abuse is, to get to know the signs; for victims feeling isolated, to know they are not alone; and for those experiencing abuse, to seek necessary help.”
For more information and to take your pledge, visit nomoreverbalabuse.org
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