Friends of the Earth International’s commitment to
preventing violence and sexual harassment in our federation.
We strive for a world without violence against women
in all spheres of life – at work, in public and in private. Our struggle for
system change, based on social, environmental and economic justice, must also
be defined by gender justice. We want to live in a world where women and all
people live free from violence, harassment or threats.
Violence therefore has no place in our Friends of the
Earth federation. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that
women’s and all people’s right to a life free of violence is respected. We
commit to holding ourselves accountable at all levels of our federation, to our
national member groups, to the communities we work alongside and to our allied
How do we understand violence?
Violence and the threat of violence are used as tools
of control to maintain patriarchal and other power relations, with women
suffering institutionalised, domestic, sexual and verbal/psychological violence
and harassment when they step out of their naturalised roles. This is
especially true for women of colour, black, indigenous, working class and
migrant women, lesbian and bisexual women and trans/non-binary folks.
Migrant and refugee
women who face sexual harassment at the hands of their employers and and,
should they report it, institutional violence and xenophobic threats at the
hands of the police for being undocumented or so-called “illegal”.
Black women or women of
colour who are sexualised in society and considered to be “at the service” of
men as a social group, including colleagues or superiors in the work place who
are more likely to pressure them for sex in order to get a promotion or to keep
Women who are sexually
abused “because” they were out in the street at night, or wearing “provocative”
clothing, or to “correct” their lesbian/bisexual sexual orientation.
Working class women who
suffer increased levels of harassment and physical violence at the hands of the
police and military as they have to leave their homes during the Covid-19
pandemic to earn money or buy food to feed their families.
increasing number of women who are suffering domestic violence and feminicide
as directives to stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic trap them and their
children in unsafe homes alongside aggressors and perpetrators.
Our commitment to non-violence
We are struggling to end violence against women in all
its forms; systemic violence that is reproduced in women’s bodies and
perpetuated through the sexual division of labour.
We will not accept, tolerate or condone any form of
violence, threat of violence or harassment against women or against anyone in
the federation or in our societies. This includes all those who suffer from
violence, the threat of violence and harassment due to their ethnicity,
nationality, economic situation, sexual orientation, gender identity (trans or
non-binary people) or special physical or mental health needs.
Our Friends of the Earth International Policy on
Violence and Sexual harassment is a key institutional document and tool to
support our member groups and regions to put this commitment into practice. It
lays out minimum standards and general practices for the prevention,
prohibition and deterring of violence and sexual harassment. It is grounded on
five fundamental principles that guide its implementation:
Zero tolerance to violence;
Confidentiality and protection;
transparent and effective.
We believe the best way to respond to violence and
sexual harassment is to prevent it from happening in the first place, which is
why the Policy uses the prevention of violence as a guiding principle and
essential to achieving gender justice and dismantling patriarchy and power
relations in the federation. Through political formation, training, the
creation of safe spaces, and institutional procedures and practice, this Policy
supports us as we actively work towards:
A working and activist
environment where violence and harassment are not tolerated or considered
normal or natural;
relations and promoting equality and justice.
Should violence, the threat of violence or sexual
harassment occur in our federation, we will respond to accusations with
seriousness and respect, based on the principles outlined above and on the
basis of the needs and wishes of the survivor. A step by step procedure will be
followed to ensure that these principles are upheld and that decisions are made
in accordance with our commitment to gender justice and dismantling patriarchy.