19th June 2021
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The UN #16Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

The UN #16Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
By Michelle Sciarrotta

The UN Women is campaigning for equality with 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence which runs from 25th November until 10th December. The #16Days of activism is part of the larger UN campaign, “UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women” which is an ongoing effort working to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world.

16 Days of Activism

The need for this specific arm of the campaign is needed due to the Covid-19 crisis contributing to even worse conditions for women globally. 16 Days of Activism tells the story of what has happened since coronavirus hit, and includes stories and information from activists, as well as practical ways to take action from women on the front line and UN partners. The activities running from 25th November are under the 2020 global theme entitled “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

The need for activism

The UN Secretary-General’s report “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19” outlined an “alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women. Accompanying the crisis has been a spike in domestic violence reporting, at exactly the time that services, including rule of law, health and shelters, are being diverted to address the pandemic.”

The full report can be viewed here.

The UN Women site explains:

“This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help.

As countries implemented lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, intensified – in some countries, calls to helplines have increased five-fold. In others, formal reports of domestic violence have decreased as survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels. School closures and economic strains left women and girls poorer, out of school and out of jobs, and more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriage, and harassment.

In April 2020, as the pandemic spread across the world, the UN Secretary-General called for “peace at home”, and 146 Member States responded with their strong statement of commitment. In recent months 135 countries have strengthened actions and resources to address violence against women as part of the response to COVID-19. Yet, much more is needed.

Today, although the voices of activists and survivors have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending violence against women will require more investment, leadership and action. It cannot be sidelined; it must be part of every country’s national response, especially during the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.”

Taking action

There are a number of ways to get involved with the campaign. Social media awareness is one way to stand in solidarity by ‘oranging’ profiles for the 16 Days of Activism: you can download banners for Facebook and Twitter here, and on Instagram, you can use UN Women’s face filter to show how you are taking action to end gender-based violence and tag a friend to encourage your community to do the same.

Use #orangetheworld, #16Days and #GenerationEquality to start your own conversation about gender-based violence, or share some of the content from our social media package with sample messages and visuals in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese available here.

Information and education: there is a glossary outlining the many forms of violence against women and girls, along with other commonly used terms intended to inform and educate here.

And finally, some recommended reading is the article “10 ways you can help end violence against women, even during a pandemic”, which was originally published on Medium.com/@UN_Women.







Also by Michelle Sciarrotta:

Accessibility At The Smith Center Series: Part One

James “Fitz” FitzSimmons Interview: The Boys In The Band On Netflix

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