Preventing gender-based violence in Central America

El Salvador has extreme rates of non-lethal violence, in particular gender-based violence. UofG research has underpinned the Oxfam-funded Program to Prevent Gender Violence, which has helped change attitudes towards gender-based violence. 

The research

For over a decade, Professor Mo Hume has worked with civil society groups in El Salvador to co-produce research, monitoring and evaluation to prevent gender-based violence. 

The research pushes for a ‘gendered’ examination of violence at the heart of everyday social relations, showing how different forms of violence are connected in everyday life.  

Key to this approach is the foregrounding of marginalised voices in developing our understandings of violence.  

The research argues that these ‘everyday vocabularies of violence’ of those who are most affected, are also those who are generally left out of policy conversations.  

Hume’s approach calls for a more holistic understanding of gender-based violence that demands us to look beyond official data, such as police records and crime statistics.  

The Impact

Hume’s work with the Oxfam-funded Program to Prevent Gender Violence has reached tens of thousands of people across El Salvador. 

The Program has supported training and events to raise awareness of gender-based violence in a country where it is often normalised.  

One activist explained: “we [often] had to explain word-for-word what sexual violence…sexualized abuse…the ‘special law’ are—so it was hard work because we had to go step-by-step with these explanations.”   

Through participation in the Program, local women’s groups have achieved greater organisation and infrastructure, which underpins their ability to speak out against abuses.  

The women testify to the importance of telling their stories, forging spaces to support others, and generating awareness of gender-based violence among children.  

In 2017, a partnership with UNICEF extended the reach of this work to Salvadoran schools, ensuring that prevailing attitudes will be passed on to future generations.