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.
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.
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.
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.
The global 2020 theme for 16 Days of Activism is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
How will you be standing against gender based violence today?