16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

By Noha Zeitoun, Content Intern, PSI

An international effort that calls for the prevention and end of abuse of girls and women kicks off today, November 25, on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. The 16 Days Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence runs until Human Rights Day, December 10.

Here are some important things to consider while advocating against gender-based violence over these 16 days and every day.

5 Fast Facts about Violence Against Women and Girls

  1. Up to 7 in 10 women in the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
  2. Worldwide up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16.
  3. As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy.
  4. 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.
  5. Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation cutting.

5 Things We Can Do to End Violence against Women and Girls

  1. Invest in gender equality and enhance women’s economic empowerment.

If 10% of adolescent girls attend secondary school, country GDP increases 30%. That’s a huge increase for developing nations with the majority of their population below age 18. And research shows that the average woman will invest 90% of her earned income into her family, compared to the average man’s 30-40%. Increasing participation among women and girls benefits entire economies.

  1. Ensure universal access to critical services.

When we give women and girls the tools to control their own health, we give them the tools to control their own path in life. If we can delay the age that a woman first becomes pregnant, she can attend school for longer, allowing her to take charge of her own independence.

  1. Work with young people and mobilize boys and men.

When it comes to gender-based violence, misogyny is the enemy, not men. Patriarchy is a system we all participate in and we cannot achieve equality without everyone realizing and respecting their own rights and self-worth.

PSI philanthropic partner Indrani Goradia, a native Trinidadian and founder of the gender-based violence prevention and treatment program Indrani’s Light Foundation, is a survivor of violence herself. Indrani’s project aims to reduce the prevalence of GBV and provide GBV survivors with much-needed support and health services in these countries. By increasing access to quality, comprehensive GBV services, changing negative gender norms and increasing public awareness and advocating for change we can end gender-based violence in our lifetime.

 

  1. Train providers on frontline services.

PSI’s network member in Latin America, PASMO and philanthropic partner and entrepreneur Marcia Cardamore are working to integrate gender-based violence screening into social franchised health care clinics in Honduras, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a girl or woman. Escalating rates of sexual assault, domestic violence and murder coupled with limited access to health care for the poor have led to a host of public health problems in the country. With the goal of building a social franchise model that provides affordable, high-quality health services and GBV support, health professionals will be trained to identify and assist women and girls who have experienced violence.

  1. Orange the World

As part of the UNiTE campaign, governments, civil society organization and individuals across the world are called to “orange their neighborhoods” to spread awareness about the issue of violence against women and girls. The color is meant to symbolize a brighter future and a world free from violence, uniting all events and outreach surround the 16 Days Campaign.

Wear your orange while you engage government officials, organize events to advocate for change and stay part of the conversation on social media by following #16Days and #orangetheworld throughout the campaign.