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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Erika Lust | November 24, 2020 | 4 min. read

As a director of porn for women and a woman myself, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an important day for me to recognise. 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that takes place each year. It starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and finishes on 10 December, Human Rights Day. Individuals, institutions and organisations from around the world come together to demand accountability for the protection of women and girls over the 16 day period. The campaign is underpinned by feminist values, human rights principles and the belief that a world without violence is possible.

Here’s everything you need to know about 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and how to get involved.

About the Campaign

Who started the campaign?

It was launched by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at its first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, and has been used worldwide to call for the elimination of gender-based violence ever since. Since its inception, it has linked local and global activism to amplify feminist voices and secure accountability for women’s human rights by transcending borders and bridging movements. Now, more than 6,000 organisations from approximately 187 countries have participated and it's the longest-running women’s rights campaign in the world.

What's the goal?

Over a third of women (35%) have experienced physical and or sexual violence, and gender-based violence impacts 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. Failure to protect women threatens future generations, as children who grow up in households with violence are more likely to experience or perpetuate violence.

When the campaign started, its aim was twofold: to raise awareness of gender based violence and to recognise violence against women as a human rights violation. In 2016, the campaign was still facing challenges in its efforts to have gender based violence recognised as a human rights violation and accountability continued to fall short. So to address those challenges the campaign was reframed, shifting its focus from awareness to accountability.

Why is this year important?

The campaign is always important but since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic in March of this year and people around the world were forced to stay at home due to the lockdown measure, reports from around the world have shown an alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women. Reports show multiple forms of violence against women and girls, especially physical, psychological, sexual and economic forms of domestic violence fuelled by household economic and food insecurity and confined living conditions due to lockdown and social isolation measures. School closures, financial and food insecurity have heightened the risk of violence for girls including sexual exploitation, harassment, and child marriage.

What's the theme in 2020?

The global 2020 theme for 16 Days of Activism is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

How to Help

As an individual:

  • Orange up your social media: let your community know you are there for support, share support resources, information about available services
  • Donate to your local or national shelter or hotline service
  • Speak up against cyber violence
  • Listen to and believe survivors & remember that when discussing cases of sexual violence, a victim’s sobriety, clothes, and sexuality are irrelevant.
  • Make a personal commitment to not condone or accept violence
  • Call out micro aggressions when you see them: catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments and sexist jokes are never ok
  • Learn about consent. Freely given, enthusiastic consent is mandatory, every time. Adopt enthusiastic consent in your life and talk about it.
  • Have conversations with family and friends about the negative impact of violence against women & girls on individuals and communities
  • Teach the next generation and learn from them
  • Educate yourself about the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls
  • Donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

In society:

  • Advocate for increased funding to ending violence against women resources, including funding shelters and hotlines
  • Invest in building capacity for duty bearers to prevent and respond to cyber violence

In the private sector:

  • Invest in technical solutions to aid government and civil society response for survivors such as online and text support
  • Invest in creating safer spaces on- and offline for women and girls
  • Donate to local women’s organisations
  • Donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

How will you be standing against gender based violence today?

Erika Lust is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and writer who's focus on female pleasure, cinematic values, and ethics in adult cinema have helped to change how pornography is consumed. Erika Lust Films was born in 2004 and since then Erika has ... Read More
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