It’s that time of the year (again)! – 16 Days of activism against GBV
December 4, 2019
Today is day 10 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender- Based Violence. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that has its purpose in fighting gender violence. This campaign runs for 16 days from the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to the 10th of December, the International Human Rights Day.
The campaign was brought to life by activists at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 as a huge number of organisations were calling for the ending of violence perpetrated against women. Today various organisations and activists the world over utilise the campaign not just to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls but to also educate women and girls on their rights, so that they can protect themselves and other people if and when they face violence which can be psychological or emotional, sexual and physical.
The campaign always runs with a unique annual theme and the theme for 2019 is “Orange the world: Generation Equality stands against rape” while appealing to the world to #HearMeToo as the leading messages in all advocacy. The campaign more or less is encouraging the whole world to actively participate in efforts geared towards ending the culture of rape/sexual violence in society.
This year’s campaign against sexual violence in particular comes at a time where sexual harassment and domestic abuse are the most common faces of gender based violence worldwide. Sexual violence has been influenced and normalised by patriarchal norms, beliefs and unequal power among other drivers.
Multiple definitions of rape, different rates of reporting, recording, prosecution and rates of conviction for rape have resulted in most rape statistics being unreliable or misleading. However available data is worrying as according to UNFPA, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexualized violence in their lifetime at global level while according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics at least 22 women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, translating to almost one woman being sexually abused every hour!
Violence against women is a global challenge and sadly has in most instances been normalised. However various global campaigns; such as the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence; have managed to create the much needed awareness around issues of violence. This will in turn help in the empowering of vulnerable groups to speak out against violence and to also access the relevant support services and resources.
By Karen Whitney Maturure
Communications Officer, ROOTS Africa.