For those Sisters who are unaware, the month of November involves a very special campaign called 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. Here at Secret Sisterhood, we pride ourselves on being the drive for change, female empowerment and equality. Therefore, the significance of this movement is so important to us. So, what exactly is it?
WHAT IS IT?
Commencing on November 25th each year, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is described by the United Nations as an international civil society led campaign that aims to eliminate violence against women. With the hopes of paving a female-led future defined by the roots of equity and empowerment, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence increases the mobilisation of society in making this future a reality. It was first implemented by activists at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and is now being continued by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). Ending on the 10th December (Human Rights Day), the movement aims to attract the attention of those willing to create change, and rebirth the right of inclusion, safety and equality to women and girls experiencing violence.
HOW DID IT START?
The reasoning for the creation of 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence, stems back to November 25th 1960, a day which involved the purposeful fatalities of three female activists from the Dominican Republic. These female figures, the Mirabel Sisters, actively campaigned against the inhumane violence hidden within the Trujillio dictatorship. Ultimately, as a result of this event and their fatalities coming as consequence, they became the reason for change. In turn, urging the United Nations to recognise the need for female resistance by declaring 25th November International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Latin America. Following this, as stated in June 1991, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and many active participants a part of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, teamed up to evolve the single day to a 16 day campaign. Subsequently, this is what we now know as the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign.
Theme – UNiTE! Activism to End Violence Against Women & Girls
This year’s theme is defined by our ability to band together, and in turn urge everyone to participate in campaigns irrespective of gender, identity or experiences. More specifically this theme aims to directly:
- Mobilise all UNiTE partners and stakeholders
- Amplify the voices of feminist women’s movements
- Call for greater support, increase long-term, sustainable and flexible funding
- Invite everyone to be an activist in preventing VAWG
- Advocate for the strengthening of protection mechanisms
- Promote the leadership of women and girls
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
There are various ways to involve yourself in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, whether this be as an individual, community or business.
As an individual, you can get involved in the campaign by wearing orange, tweeting with the hashtag #16Days, donating to gender based violence charities or reaching out to a friend who has experienced violence. When reaching out to survivors, it is extremely important to navigate this in a consensual and sensitive manner. Whether it is for a small private conversation or to share their story with others, always ask first, state your intentions and never overstep boundaries to a place of discomfort.
Another way to support is to purchase our Secret Sisterhood Jewellery as a way to donate during this time, with 100% profits going to various female empowerment charities.
Communities & Businesses
Businesses or communities such as suburb groups, schools, universities and sports associations are encouraged to participate by coordinating orange events, engaging in media to explore diverse ways to raise awareness and stimulating public conversations. Within our community here at Secret Sisterhood we will aim to utilise our social media platforms to increase awareness, we encourage you to do this too!
WHY GET INVOLVED?
Our voices are a critical element in creating change and we must use them now to see change for the future. Whilst violence against women is a regular happening in society, it is largely preventable. With the right knowledge, awareness and voices we will be heard and change will happen.
Statistics Source (UN Women)
It’s time to get out your orange apparel Sisters, we must unite now.
By: Alicia Cassidy