While devastating, high-profile acts of violence against women — like the reported murder of 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins by NFL player Jovan Belcher — continue to stun the world and receive lots of media attention, women around the world have made a commitment to do something about it. They have come boldly alive through the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign, which encourages participants to raise awareness, speak out, and demand change.
The 16 Days campaign is hosting an amazing array of powerful, transformative events based on the theme From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women. The theme aims to challenge abuses committed by state agents and explore the deep socioeconomic structures that perpetuate gender-based violence.
Events are being held everywhere from Armenia to Washington, D.C., and range from art exhibitions to radio programs, walks, candlelight vigils, film and documentary screenings, debates, theater performances, lobbying meetings with government officials, personal testimonies of violence survivors, interactive forums, and televised roundtables.
Selected events from the 16 Days website include
- The seventh annual March against Violence, a street demonstration in downtown Yerevan, Armenia. Many organizations, including a group of women with disabilities, joined the march to raise awareness about the specific issues they face regarding violence.
- The 10th annual Shoe Memorial in Vancouver, British Columbia. Pairs of shoes will be displayed to remember women who have been killed by violence in the province. Sadly, this year the list contains 869 women and girls.
- A debate on gender-based violence at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The event also includes a special performance by Uganda’s Rafiki Theatre, famous throughout Kampala and beyond for confronting difficult but pertinent issues in Ugandan society and culture. Partner organizations will also display works on gender-based violence.
- The Home is Where Our He-ART Is exhibition at the Haven Wolverhampton and the Haven Way in the United Kingdom. The anti-domestic violence organizations will present a unique and inspiring art collection produced by women survivors of domestic violence.
- A moderated panel event in Washington, D.C., Ending the Dual Epidemics of HIV and Gender-Based Violence, to commemorate World AIDS Day and the 16 Days of Activism. The event will feature a keynote address by Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
- The SpeakUP Say NO to Violence against Women social media campaign and the Say NO to Violence against Women Seminar and photo exhibit, sponsored by the Philippine Senate.
Have you found your 16 Days activity yet? The campaign runs until December 10. Follow #16Days on Twitter, visit Women and Girls Lead or the official 16 Days campaign website, or post and search for events on the 16 Days campaign calendar.