The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global solidarity campaign that runs from November 25th – December 10th every year. It’s a time when activists rally around the issue of gender-based violence. We challenge the power structures, perceptions and impunity that allow gender-based violence to persist, call for concrete actions to address these issues at the local, national and global levels, and demand accountability for perpetrators of this crime, along with justice and assistance for those who experience it.
Why does the 16 Days Campaign matter?
In light of the prevalence and severity of gender-based violence around the globe, the attention given during the 16 Days can serve as a vital reminder of how much work remains to be done, prompting attention and action. We know that in some countries as many as 70% of women report experiencing gender-based violence in their lifetime, and that it causes more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined for women aged 15-44 globally. The root causes of gender-based violence and the surrounding climate of impunity allow it to persist in times of conflict and in times of relative peace.
The 16 Days campaign plays a key role in providing inspiration and connection to gender activists around the world who are working in disparate locations, many under incredibly challenging and/or dangerous circumstances. It’s a time when many voices come together to share realities, suggest solutions, and demand change – such as in the below videos from our recent collaboration with the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice.
There at the police, one told me: “You’re too old, you can’t be raped.” I didn’t get justice. Nobody gets justice. They only told me: “Go home! We’ll see what to do about it!” And then nothing ever happened. – Elisabeth Kandolo from “Our Voices Matter” produced by Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice & WITNESS
Women have died in the bush, and others keep on suffering as I am talking to you. I am asking the ICC to have Joseph Kony and his officers arrested. They should be brought to justice to answer for what they’ve done, for the sufferings and losses, and the blood, which was spilled in the CAR.
-Nanzouno-Dadine Lea from “Our Plea” produced by JUPEDEC, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice & WITNESS
Because of the extent of our suffering, I can no longer keep silent. […] We ask you to be the voice and the light of those who suffered […] and stand with us.” – Oyela Irene from “No Longer Silent” produced by Greater North Women’s Voices for Peace Network, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice & WITNESS
In addition to the videos above, over the next two weeks the Human Rights Channel and the WITNESS blog will highlight specific gender-based violence issues from around the globe through video. Be sure to check back here for more.
To an inspiring and solidarity-building 16 Days!