November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of the Violence Against Women. It’s also the first day of the 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Violence. During these 16 days, activists around the world organize many kinds of events to raise awareness about gender based violence and human rights.
The 16 Days Campaign begins 20 years ago, during the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). The participants of this event chose the 16 days to symbolically link November 25 and December 10, which is the International Human Rights Day. The message here is that violence against women is a human rights violation. The 16 Days also covers other important dates, such as the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, November 29 and the World AIDS Day, December 1.
I first learn about the 16 Days Campaign when I was studying in the Netherlands. Students and some lecturers organized different events and activities throughout the 16 Days, and they were all thought provoking. We had seminars and discussions on masculinity/femininity, female sexuality, domestic violence, reproductive health, and so on. We also had poetry readings, dance performance, and movie nights around the topic of violence against women. An inclusive mailing list was also created where any students can post their views, exchange ideas, share resources, or discuss the topic. It was a very enriching experience to many of us.
Wants to participate this year? CWGL website has great activity ideas that you can do collectively or as an individual. Also, each year CWGL publishes different campaign theme and they need volunteers to translate their campaign materials. This is something that I’ve been doing in the last couple of years to express my support to the cause and to help making the resources become more accessible to groups around the world. If you’re interested to help, please check out their Call for Translation or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that every little bit helps to raise awareness and end violence against women. Do your part. Join the movement.
Image credit: Women’s Net