International UN Volunteer, Cristina Comunian from Italy is a Senior Communications Specialist with the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Fiji. She supports the Spotlight Initiative, a global partnership and an initiative of the United Nations supported by the European Union and other partners aiming to eliminate violence against women and girls.
In Asia Pacific, Spotlight focuses on domestic violence and intimate partner violence. UNFPA and Pacific Community conducted Family Health and Safety Studies across 11 Pacific countries. The results demonstrated the highest documented rates of gender-based violence in the region. Over 60 per cent of women living in the region experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
In her assignment as a UN Volunteer, Cristina documents progress made by civil society and grassroots organizations to end violence against women and girls.
The numbers are overwhelming. The trauma of the survivors all-encompassing, and that makes my work even more important. Collectively, we all need to hear stories of transformation, resilience, and most importantly hope. I write stories of radical change. Lately, I wrote about Rod Blong Jenis 'Male Champions of Change' where 16 ni-Vanuatu men take responsibility and demand a different future for ni-Vanuatu women."
Spotlight and the multi-year partnership with UN agencies and other stakeholders help trigger the systematic change needed to address gender-based violence.
It is a privilege to work with people and professionals helping survivors of gender-based violence, and creating a society where women and girls can thrive. Their stories testify how far we have come in the accelerating progress towards ending violence against women and girls. But it also reminds us of the urgency for tackling new threats, such as a global pandemic or climate change, that again disproportionally affects women, girls, and vulnerable communities.”
Cristina, during her assignment which ended last September, saw attitudes alter in the Pacific. Like the U-Report, a UNICEF-led project that endorses digital safety for youth in the Solomon Islands. And in Kosrae, a state of the Federated States of Micronesia, where the efforts of grassroots organizations were able to make the right to paid maternity leave for women law. Similarly in Vanuatu, psychiatrists called for an active role in a Pacific paradigm shift to end violence against women and girls.
There is no one-fix! That's also something that I'm learning. We all have something to contribute to with our work, actions, and thoughts. We all have some degree of influence, and we can all use our voice to support the global movement for gender equality and human rights. Change is possible and is the only way forward. ”