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Bon Iver’s campaign to end domestic violence

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten gender equality across the globe, Bon Iver is taking a stand against sexual and domestic violence by donating royalties to supporting charities.

The pandemic may have forced indie folk sensation Bon Iver to scrap a world tour in 2020, but it’s been a huge year for Justin Vernon and co regardless – especially when it comes to advocating for social justice.

Despite it being the most tumultuous year for recording artists in recent memory, the Eau Claire outfit did manage to release some new material, including the gospel inspired ‘AUATC’ – for which they onboarded Bruce Springsteen – as well as a Grammy nominated collaboration with Taylor Swift on her new album ‘Folklore.’ It’s the proceeds from such projects that will now play a significant role in bolstering Bon Iver’s campaign (originally launched back in 2016) against gender inequality, titled 2 A Billion (2AB).

Having already spearheaded a Wisconsin voting initiative to discourage apathy in the build-up to the US election, and donated $30,000 as a display of solidarity with protesters during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Vernon is now pledging 5% of Bon Iver’s ongoing publishing royalties to 2AB’s partnering charities, centrered on combatting sexual and domestic violence.

In that regard, the funds are definitely in good hands. Originally designed to give back to marginalised communities whilst on tour, Bon Iver’s 2AB campaign will now funnel proceeds into some of the biggest charities and champions of gender equality across the US and Europe all year round.

This includes the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organisation, Argrow’s House, European Women’s Lobby, and Standing Together to End Sexual Assault.

‘It’s time for those with ample privilege and large platforms to amplify marginalised voices, speak up for disenfranchised communities, and give back to those working on the front lines of our country’s greatest challenges,’ the band wrote on Twitter.

The fight against gender inequality has been fought for centuries, and while we’re definitely making progress – with FGM and child marriage numbers steadily decreasing globally – we’re far from finished. In the context of the new landscape imposed by Covid-19, resources to close the disparity have become more urgently required than ever before.

Firstly, women represent 70% of health care workers globally and as a result are far more exposed to the virus on the front line. Secondly, disrupted social and health care services means that only 40% of women suffering through domestic abuse in 2020 have sought out professional help.

According to recent data, thousands of women and girls are now in far more precarious positions due to lockdown restrictions, forced to bear the brunt of household chores, caregiving responsibilities, and evidently physical, and mental abuse.

Distressing as the reality is, we have a far better chance of overcoming gender inequality if those with the platform to inspire millions continue to carry the torch, and in that sense Bon Iver’s contribution is invaluable. In the words of 2AB’s official website, it’s time to bring ‘gender equity centre stage’.