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Garance - a quick overview

Violence is preventable.

Therefore, the non-profit Garance focuses on everything that one can do before violence emerges – to prevent that it emerges. We tackle the risk factors that make certain population groups more vulnerable for violence, particularly women.

The goal of all our activities is to increase the agency of our participants, through the critical analysis of the social and political conditions that lead to violence and through the valorisation of their resources to stop assaults. Our approach is participative and aims at people’s autonomy and full respect of their human rights. To be able to examine and better understand the causes and consequences of violence, we carry out research, edit publications and share a novel thought : we can prevent violence and protect against it.

Violence concerns women and men in different ways. As a consequence, Garance has decided to work in different ways with girls and boys, women and – in the near future – men, adapted to their specific life situations, expectations and needs. The goal is the same for everyone : to respect ourselves, to reclaim respect by others and to contribute to a more equal, less violent society.

The biggest part of our activities consists in a range of workshops, from self-defence to discussion groups on the topic of security and violence prevention. We work not only with a gender-specific approach, but also with an age-specific approach wherever possible, for example with women from 55 on. We search for cooperation with other organisations to reach out to particularly vulnerable groups. Therefore, we propose tailor-made workshops for women’s shelters, literacy groups and similar services.

To complete our workshop programme, we publish brochures to disseminate simple and efficient means of violence prevention. These publications are based on our research and analysis of risk factors as well as on the experiences of the people with whom we are in contact on a daily basis. An example is our project Echappez belle !(« beautifully escaped ») that collects women’s success stories of violence prevention to make them widely accessible.

A further stepping stone of our programme are the professional training workshops on violence prevention for people who have to do with this topic in their work environment : aggressive clients, colleagues, patients etc or victims of violence. We also organise training-of-trainers workshops and contribute our expertise to research and political decision-making processes in the fields of safety and equal opportunities.

Networking is very important for this, and Garance is an active member of :

Garance International

Gender violence is an international issue, and feminism and solidarity have no borders. That’s why Garance goes international!
We have already been able to train feminist self-defence trainers in France, Switzerland, Iceland and Romania and we continue working on strengthening the international network of feminist self-defence wherever possible, for example by organising a first meeting of French-speaking feminist self-defence trainers in Brussels in 2012.

In 2022, we were also able to raise funds for our partner associations MorÇatı in Turkey and Autonomia in Poland.

Thanks to European partnerships, we have been able to build knowledge and know-how to better prevent violence against lesbians, sex workers or women with disabilities.

Over the span of two years (January 2020 – December 2021), Garance coordinated the NO MEANS NO european project. No Means No aimed to empower women with disabilities to live a life without violence, through the means of feminist self-defence. The project brought together seven partner organisations from Belgium, France, Germany and Poland. Curious? Discover the project partners, their activities and publications !

When we come across interesting initiatives, we try to transfer them to Belgium, such as the CAPABLE CHILDREN project from the United States or the German StoP project which mobilises local communities to fight against domestic violence.

Garance represents Belgium in the Women Against Violence Europe network and participates in expertise missions abroad to advance the fight against gender-based violence. On the advocacy side, we have, for example, succeeded in getting the mention of self-defence included in a European Parliament resolution in 2017 on the Istanbul Convention, the first mention of self-defence in an official European document since the 1980s! And we will continue to share our tools and spread the idea that we can end gender-based violence, together.

  • Violence Prevention Alliance of the World Health Organisation
  • Women and Cities International
  • REV, the french-speaking Belgian Network for the Elimination of Intimate Partner Violence
  • The Brussels coordination of the World March of Women against poverty and violence
  • The Brussels regional plat-form on intimate partner violence
  • The provincial platform of Brabant wallon on intimate partner violence
  • The advisory board on equal opportunities of the City of Brussels

Our secretariat is at your disposal for more information on our organisation and activities.

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