Today marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. We begin on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and as part of a global campaign, march together with other organizations until December 10, Human Rights Day.
Violence against women (VAW) is not just a problem 'over there' in countries affected by conflict: It affects all of us. Though ending gender-based violence may seem like a large, daunting task, we’ve put together a calendar of actions that you can take each day to move the world closer to that goal. Below, see some ideas for how you can get involved to raise awareness and generate action to end violence against women and girls in communities around the world.
Day 1 – Monday, November 25
Tell people about the 16 Days of Activism and learn about gender-based violence.
UN Women defines gender-based violence as:
"Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life."
Day 2 – Tuesday, November 26
Save the calendar and begin planning your actions.
Day 3 – Wednesday, November 27
“On Wednesdays, we wear orange.”
The color orange continues to be a key tool in unifying efforts and bringing global attention to the 16 Days of Activism. Wear orange with your friends and share a picture to get people asking – and talking about why this color is important!
Day 4 – Thursday, November 28
In the United States, this is also Thanksgiving.
We know that the power of connection and emotional bonds is crucial to helping women and girls heal from and overcome violence against them. Take the time to thank a woman or girl in your life who has helped emotionally support you.
Days 5 – Friday, November 29
Know the facts. Share the facts.
Around the world, approximately 35% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence. That’s 1 out of every 3 women.
Day 6 – Saturday, November 30
Listen to Lina Abirafeh, Executive Director of The Arab Institute for Women (AiW) to learn steps on how you can prevent violence against women.
Day 7 – Sunday, December 1
Plan and host a fundraising event for an organization working to end gender-based violence.
Day 8 – Monday, December 2
Share your story.
Our founder Zainab Salbi says,
“We have two choices: Either keep our secrets of shame — and, with that, our imprisonment to that story — or take a leap of faith, own the story, tell it, and own our own liberation. The latter may sound scarier, but it will be your route to freedom.”
Your story can be your route to freedom and help free someone else. Our CEO Laurie Adams shared her own story here.
Day 9 – Tuesday, December 3
For #GivingTuesday, invest in the power and potential of women. Donate your time or resources to supporting women overcoming gender-based violence and to help prevent it.
Day 10 – Wednesday, December 4
Check out Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram by Isha Sesay.
We are so excited to join award-winning journalist Isha Sesay on the evening of December 4 to discuss her moving account of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Her book gives shares the stories of their strength and resilience so the world can hear their voices and humanity.
Along with grabbing a copy of her book, we invite you to join us in New York City for her book talk! Get a ticket here.
Day 11 – Thursday, December 5
Get together with your friends and host a viewing of “City of Joy,” a documentary on Netflix about women who've been sexually brutalized in war-torn Congo who begin to heal at City of Joy, a center that helps them regain a sense of self and empowerment.
After watching, begin a discussion about the documentary and violence against women. If you’re stumped for questions, stay tuned for some discussion ideas.
Day 12 – Friday, December 6
Listen and believe women around you.
Many women can’t come forward with their experiences of violence because of the shame and stigma around it. Listening to women and believing them is a big step forward towards changing attitudes towards gender-based violence and for healing.
Day 13 – Saturday, December 7
Raise your voice and challenge the social norms around you.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, community advocates in our program are bringing people together to have difficult discussions that inform people about gender-based violence and to begin taking steps to prevent it.
Day 14 – Sunday, December 8
Ending violence against women and girls takes effort from everybody. Engage men and boys as allies and ask them to share one of our #SheInspiresMe stories on social media.
Day 15 – Monday, December 9
Speak up for a woman you care about.
Having a friends and allies amplify the voice of women builds power.
"I have focused on lending my voice to women who are survivors of violence. The stories I have heard from them have shaken me to the core and changed me forever." - Nicole Kidman, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador
Day 16 – Tuesday, December 10
Let a woman who inspires you know.
Celebrate the women who work to end gender-based violence and move the world toward gender equality.