Guiding Principles

The We Can campaign seeks to generate a mass social movement to end violence against women by changing attitudes and behaviour.

If enough individuals mobilize for change and come together for mutual support and shared action, then a critical mass is attained that can influence and transform the institutions, communities and society of which they are a part. Policy and legislative reforms may be indirect outcomes of that process, and can often be complementary, but they are not a direct objective of We Can.

The guiding principles of the We Can campaign flow from this understanding, and are set out below.

Change is the responsibility of the individual, therefore:

  • The campaign draws attention to the violence that ordinary people experience, witness or commit
  • It highlights violence against women as a public not a private matter
  • It provokes women and men to think about their attitudes and behaviour
  • It encourages people to find their own solutions and make their own choices
  • It does not prescribe how people should think or behave
  • It invites people to become Change Makers- rejecting violence in their own lives and encouraging others to do the same

Change is within the power of the individual, therefore:

  • The We Can campaign focuses on violence against women at a level that ordinary people have the capacity to influence
  • It draws attention to the choices that ordinary people can make to accept or reject violence
  • It offers encouragement to reject violence by presenting a common platform: 'We Can end all violence against women'
  • It presents women and men as agents of change, and not the former as powerless victims or the latter as all-powerful tyrants

Change is a social process, therefore:

  • The campaign seeks to mobilize a diverse range of individuals, communities and institutions on a significant scale to undertake, promote and sustain change
  • The campaign invites people to become a Change Maker - any individual who pledges never to commit or tolerate violence against women in his/her own life and to talk to 5 more people around them to influence them to do the same
  • Change Makers are encouraged to share their thinking and experience with others, thus triggering a ‘chain reaction’ by stimulating reflection and modelling change
  • Change Makers are invited to network together in order to support one another, women facing violence and others seeking to end violence
  • The We Can Coalition will provide a common platform and communication materials to support change