"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

ICAAD Continues to Advance Data-Driven Justice

Over the past 5 years, ICAAD has advanced data-driven justice for gender based violence. We’ve also helped collect data on the efficacy of legal mechanisms, healthcare, and access to basic services like water and sanitation.

More recently, our tools and methodologies have been increasingly adopted to advance the work of local and regional institutions, such as Nazdeek in India, and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) in Fiji and the regional Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative (PJSI), an initiative of the Federal Courts of Australia.

In the recently released report stemming from Nazdeek and ICAAD’s joint data collection initiative SMS for Justice, grievance mechanisms were tested by community paralegals to resolve complaints coming through the platform. The report, “Women Lead the Way: Monitoring and improving government services and facilities in Delhi,” showed that some mechanisms worked well for resolving complaints, such as the Delhi Water Board line, which responded quickly to the need for water.

Others which did not work as well highlighted the need for better redressal mechanisms, gaps in services, and the need to continue to refine processes to ensure better outcomes.

Nazdeek and ICAAD’s work was recently recognized at the Reimagining Justice: Realizing Human Rights through Legal Empowerment conference held by the Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU, where Nazdeek co-founder Jayshree Satpute presented on the SMS for Justice and End MM Now initiatives in Delhi and Assam.

In the Pacific region, PJSI, who works on delivery of judicial trainings to judges in 20 countries, suggested using ICAAD’s data as a baseline for further assessments in its Gender and Family Violence Toolkit. In its Human Rights Toolkit, PJSI states that ICAAD’s “study shows how values that undermine women’s right to equal protection of the law can also be ingrained in judicial thinking, suggesting that this might be an area where specific judicial training and guidance could be helpful.

In its report, Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women’s Access to Justice, FWRM adapted ICAAD’s methodology to review rape and sexual assault judgments in the High Court and Magistrate Courts for 2016 and 2017. The aim of FWRM’s report is to “further inform law reform in this area and improve women and children’s access to the formal justice system.”

In the coming months, we’ll be launching the first ever Sentencing Handbook on gender based violence for the Pacific Region. This Handbook will inform the analysis that underpins the TrackGBV database, where lawyers will analyze 5,000 cases and provide data from across 12 countries in the Pacific to promote judicial transparency and accountability.

None of this happens without your continued support!

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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