The 16 Days of Activism Against ‘Gender Based Violence’ Campaign
By Kiran Bhatia
Assisted by Fiona Martin, Ritu George and Yamini Chandrasekaran
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that has been organized and managed by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership since 1991. The campaign has been used by activists around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. It takes place every year between November 25th and December 10th and is run by over 6,000 organizations in 187 countries. (More information is available at https://16dayscampaign.org/) This year (2018), the 16 days campaign centered around violence at the workplace.
The current piece, which is sometimes interactive or can be data-driven, is a collection of information about what constitutes violence against women (VAW) and children in various forms. Our purpose is to bring our own version of the 16 days campaign as 16 panels to you, by explaining VAW and children to you, by dispelling myths, telling you more about the sheer scale of the problem, and by offering deeper insights into some of the forms of violence- sexual violence, harmful practices, violence against the elderly, etc. We also hope that the 16 pieces in addition to explaining VAW and children, give you a sense for what can be done (in Part II) to combat these problems.
DAY ONE : Violence Against Women and Girls
Watch this interactive video on the different forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG). Follow the menu and explore the global facts about some of the major forms of violence. Link: http://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/infographic/violenceagainstwomen/en/index.html
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Further Examples of VAWG
Source: KSBhatia UNFPA
DAY TWO: #HearMeToo
Did Day One’s panels help you reflect on why Violence against Women and Children is the largest human rights violation in the world today? Why women and girls who represent 50% of the world population regardless of age, nationality, religion, location, education and economic status face more violence through their life than men and boys? #HearMeToo!!
DAY THREE: Signs of Relationship Abuse
DID YOU KNOW? These are signs that the woman is facing an abusive relationship with her partner. Check the video out:
Video/ Infographic Source: https://twitter.com/UN_Women/status/953636824630595585
DAY FOUR: Sexual Violence
DAY FIVE: Harmful Practices
Some of the worst forms of violence women and girls face are due to a range of harmful practices. These include gender-biased sex selection where girls are not allowed to be born due to “son preference” and “daughter aversion”. Some states like Haryana have the lowest sex ratio with millions of girls “missing”, causing an alarming imbalance in the sex-ratio with huge consequences for women, men and communities.
Image Source: KSBhatia UNFPA
Female Genital cutting is another harmful practice causing life long damage to women.
Harmful practices can only reduce with long term efforts at providing evidence on the risks and consequences, advocating for women and girls and their rights, and improved legal reform and enforcement.
DAY SIX: Child Marriage
Child marriage is rooted in gender inequality and patriarchy. Girls are valued less than boys and suffer life-long physical and emotional consequences due to early marriage. Globally, girls who marry before 15 are 50% more likely to face physical and sexual violence from a partner.
Child marriage is a crime . Visit ‘Girls not Brides’ (Http://www.girlsnotbrides.org) to learn more!
Data Sources: Data from the UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report 2017, (and) https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/where-does-it-happen/
DAY SEVEN: Abuse of Older Women
Violence against older women is widespread, yet mostly hidden. It occurs in multiple, often-intersecting forms by varying perpetrators, including intimate partners or spouses, family members, caregivers (both in and outside institutional settings), or members of their own community.
Some harmful traditional and customary practices result in abuse and violence directed at older women often exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to legal protection. Older women face greater risk of physical and psychological abuse due to discriminatory societal attitudes and the non-realization of the human rights of women
DAY EIGHT: Why Does Violence against Women and Girls Matter?
Here are some key reasons why this should be everyone’s concern. Think about how violence against women impacts women, their families, and communities and hinders social economic development? Discuss this with others, reflect and think about what you can do about it!
DAY NINE: Not all Violence is Physical
All violence is learnt behavior based on attitudes and beliefs and strengthened by social customs and norms. When Racism, Sexism, Ableism and Homophobia continue to prevail, these deep seated biases will find expression both verbally and physically. We need to act against all of the these!
PART II: What can we do about it?
DAY TEN: How to Prevent Violence
Most of our energy goes in responding to the immediate and complex needs of survivors of violence. Let’s think about prevention.. what can we do as individuals, a community and society to reduce violence and address risk factors?
Here are some long- term interventions that can work at each level.
Many success stories are available! Reflect and see if you can identify any…
DAY ELEVEN: More on prevention. What can you do to Raise Boys Differently?
Instead of teaching girls to be careful and to live within gender stereotypes, why not teach boys a different way of looking at things in life?
DAY TWELVE: Violence against Women Impacts Communities and Families
Do find time to watch this TED talk on how violence against women is as much men’s concern and impacts them and families and communities. Do share further.
DAY THIRTEEN: 10 Essentials for Addressing VAW
DAY FOURTEEN: 10 Essentials to Address VAWG through Sports
A lot of successful efforts globally have addressed discrimination and violence against girls and women in sports. Here is an Infographic with 10 essentials to address violence against women through sports. While these are for very large scale organizations , they provide good insight into how much needs to be done and CAN make a difference!! See the promising practice examples!
DAY FIFTEEN: Call to Action!
Policy Makers and Communities need to commit to 5 actions that will help reduce VAWG!
Additionally, the following “good practices” initiated by the four countries listed in the infographic, are a great starting point to reduce VAWG
DAY SIXTEEN: A Society to Strive For…….
Source: KSBhatia UNFPA
As we come up against The international Human Right’s Day on Dec 10th, let’s look at two scenarios; one- an example of a society where there is high prevalence of violence against women and girls; and the second- the kind of society we need to strive for the well being of all human beings ; girls boys, men and women.
What can we do in our everyday lives to move towards the second scenario??
It’s time we got there!!