Regina Yau’s maternal grandmother endured domestic abuse for over 50 years until her husband passed away. As for the next two generations in her family, some of the women, including Regina, also ended up in abusive relationships.
“I didn’t know at the time, but it replicates down the generations,” Regina says. “I guess you normalize it.”
According to Regina, 1 in 3 women and girls worldwide have or will face violence of some kind in their live, including but not limited to domestic abuse. And once survivors are able to be free from the abuser, they are left with a lot of pieces to pick up. The worst part is healing the invisible wounds.
“You come out of the relationship like you’re nobody, you don’t know who you are anymore,” she says.
Doing Something About It
That’s why she started The Pixel Project, a nonprofit organization focused on raising awareness, funds, and volunteer power for the movement to end violence against women using the power of the Internet and new technologies. The organization is registered in California, but has no brick-and-mortar offices and runs with the help of over 40 virtual volunteers worldwide from Seattle to Cairo to Kuala Lumpur.
“The Pixel Project was set up to provide the first step for a lot of people who might otherwise not get involved,” she says. “We aim to inspire them to step up to do something to stop violence against women.”
The Pixel Project also provides women across the globe with the information they need to escape violence and abuse, which includes Tweeting phone numbers to helplines and downloadable “help sheets.”
From fundraisers to Tweeting news about violence against women, The Pixel Project currently has 9 campaigns to encourage everyone to become involved with the cause. To facilitate their worldwide scope, they’ve made social media their core strategy for connecting with other anti-violence against women groups and activists, as well as women who need help themselves.
This month, they kicked off the YouTube Cover Carnival, a contest calling for songwriters and aspiring musicians to submit their best cover of Kelly Clarkson’s Dark Side. The Pixel Project has partnered with YouTube’s #1 R&B group AHMIR, San Francisco-based Lost Monkey Studio, and UK-based Horus Music to put together a grand prize package for the winner which includes production, mixing, and mastering for one original song and inclusion of the cover song in The Pixel Project’s upcoming debut digital EP.
Campaigns like this are examples of how nonprofits can experiment with social media to make progress in their organization’s mission. The key is to lose the fear of failing, Regina says.
“We would have failed if we couldn’t at least get people to do something,” she says. “I’m not afraid to say the word ‘fail’. It’s a learning curve.”
Helping Women by Changing a Worldview
Regina says her organization seeks to get men and boys working with women and girls to prevent and stop violence against women.
“For violence against women to be eradicated, entire communities need to get involved,” Regina says.
Regina is also a volunteer, receiving no monetary compensation from The Pixel Project, and sustains herself through freelance jobs on the side.
“It’s hard work but I think it’s worth it if it’s going to change the way people see things,” she says. “Violence against women is the biggest human rights atrocity of the 21st century. If you can reduce gender-based violence by even 50 percent across the world, imagine the human potential that could be released: girls can have a fighting chance to be born and to go to school, and women can start their own businesses and earn money to feed their families and get out of poverty.”
Women like Regina and organizations like The Pixel Project are not only helping people in need, they’re striving to change global behavior and perception towards a particular issue. This is a tremendous undertaking, and one to be applauded.
Do you know any notable leaders or organizations changing worldviews? Give them a shout-out in the comment section below.