Welcome to  Part 2 of our June 2024 Inspirational Interview with Dr Luisa Ortiz Pérez, founder of Vita-Activa.org in Mexico. 

Dr Pérez  is a consultant in nonviolent communication, creative leadership and care-aware management. As the co-founder of Vita-Activa.org, she conceptualised and launched a helpline to aid women journalists and activists facing online violence and gender-based harassment. She has worked for NPR, WNYC and the BBC, and was an executive manager for Yahoo! Hispanic Americas and Televisa Interactive Media. A former JSK Journalism Fellow from Stanford University, she holds a PhD in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the University of Essex and is a certified Psychological First Aid Provider from Johns Hopkins University.

In this part of the interview, Dr Pérez talks about how journalists should report stories about VAW and her organisation’s plans for expanding its reach. 

Part 1 of Dr Pérez’ interview was published 2 June 2024.

All photos are courtesy of Dr Luisa Ortiz Pérez.

6.What would your advice be to the anti-VAW activists working in the media as journalists, editors, and producers in other parts of the world who wish to push for the media in their country or region to report about VAW in an accurate and informed way?

Addressing violence against women (VAW) through media activism is crucial for raising awareness and promoting positive social change. Here are some pieces of advice for anti-VAW activists working in the media:

  • Understand the Issue: Ensure that you have a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding violence against women. Familiarise yourself with different forms of violence, root causes, and the impact on individuals and communities.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest research, statistics, and developments related to VAW. 
  • Highlight Collective Solutions: While it’s essential to shed light on the problem, also focus on collective solutions. Showcase initiatives, programmes, and organisations working towards preventing and addressing VAW. This can inspire positive action and change. 
  • Never Signal Individual Stories: Signalling one person takes away from the very individual nature of VAW. While the playbook is the same, no person experiences violence in the same way. 
  • Collaborate with Experts: Seek input and guidance from experts in the field of gender-based violence to ensure your reporting is accurate, well-informed, and aligned with best practices.
  • Provide Resources: Include resources such as helpline numbers, support services, and information on legal rights in your coverage. This can empower survivors and connect them with the help they need.
  • Educate Your Audience: Use your platform to educate the public about the various forms of violence against women, its prevalence, and its impact on society.
  • Advocate for Policy Change: Use your influence to advocate for policy changes that address the root causes of VAW. Engage with lawmakers, policymakers, and community leaders to push for legislative reforms and increased support for anti-VAW initiatives.
  • Engage in Self-Reflection: Periodically reflect on your own biases and assumptions. Challenge any preconceived notions you may have and be open to learning and growing in your understanding of VAW.


7. One of the keys to eradicating VAW is to get men and boys on board efforts to do so. What do you think are the most effective ways of galvanising men and boys to help to end VAW?

Engaging men and boys in efforts to end VAW is crucial for creating sustainable change, even though it takes away valuable time and resources one must dedicate to combatting the phenomenon;. However, here are some effective strategies for galvanising all allies to actively contribute to ending VAW:

  • Facilitate open and non-judgmental discussions about gender roles, power dynamics, and the impact of VAW.
  • Create safe spaces for women to interact with allies and share their thoughts and concerns on these issues.
  • Advocate for responsible media representation of VAW, challenging harmful stereotypes that may contribute to normalising violence.
  • Support media campaigns that portray responsibility in VAW–a large percentage of men and boys see no harm in what they consider is amusing or humourous.
  • Implement workplace programmes that address gender dynamics, encourage diversity, and provide resources on recognising and preventing VAW.
  • Promote mentorship and allyship within professional settings and codes of conduct that are shared by organisations and workplaces. 

By combining some of these strategies with policy and advocacy work we can foster a culture of respect, understanding, and no violence.


8. Tell us about your plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you and Vita-Activa have coming up in the next 5 years?

We expect in the next 5 years to support women and LGBTIQ+ people to mitigate the effects of violence, strategically decide how they want to tackle the crisis they are experiencing and build solutions that work in their particular context to combat the online violence they are facing. Vita Activa provides three services:

  • One-on-one peer support, psychological and digital first aid via digital messaging apps: Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal and Social Media Platforms.
  • Multimedia content on holistic security and emotional wellness: Cartas de Vita Newsletter , Conversaciones con Vita Podcast/Twitter Spaces , Vita Blog
  • Taskforce response teams supporting newsrooms and organisations experiencing a gender violence and/or trauma related crisis.

We imagine a Vita Activa that expands, extends and addresses cases in different regions, and can accompany cases of gender-based violence and situations of emotional crisis with different languages. A Vita Activa even more plural, diverse, heterogeneous, containing diverse narratives according to the life experiences of those who are part of it. Vita Activa will be an organisation with transnational experience around the eradication of violence, discrimination and inequalities that are evident in daily life and that we can record, monitor and share that information with stakeholders and allies.


9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support your efforts and Vita-Activa’s efforts to stop VAW?

Share Vita Activa’s details with people who need support individually and amplify the campaigns Vita conducts throughout the year. Encourage users, allies and the audience of The Pixel Project to use Vita Activa’s helpline. The Pixel Project staff can actively participate in training by Vita Activa in psychological first aid and promote community care values. Join online discussions facilitated by Vita Activa. Engage with others to share perspectives, experiences and insights related to VAW.

Remember the collective power of engaged and committed individuals as a potent force for positive change. By actively participating in and supporting Vita Activa’s initiatives, supporters can contribute to creating a world where violence against women is actively addressed, openly discussed, and FUNDED appropriately.


10.In your considered opinion, how can we end VAW for good?

I would like to rephrase this question. To put a stop to VAW we need to be more creative and less complacent with systems and institutions. Quoting Audre Lorde: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” We need to engage in systemic change and do that in a very comprehensive way. Until then, we continue to oppose, challenge and fight one day at a time.