Violence against women is one of the world’s most prevalent human rights abuses – it is estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.1 In some countries, that number skyrockets to 70% – almost three-quarters of the entire female population.2 Violence against women is a problem everywhere and it is a problem for everyone. In Canada, 67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.3
These statistics are all the more relevant today as we honour the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On this day, we recognize that there remains much work to be done in making the elimination of violence against women a reality. However, we also remain optimistic that renewed efforts in recent years have helped to raise awareness, change attitudes and behaviours and achieve progress for women around the world.
Get Ready for 16 Days of Awareness Raising
Today also marks the first day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign started in 1991. The campaign aims to build more awareness around gender-based violence globally and to facilitate greater networking among women leaders working in this area. Over 5,000 organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the 16 Days campaign since it began over twenty years ago.
November 25th – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
November 29th – International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
December 1st – World AIDS Day
December 6th – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (Canada)
December 10th – International Human Rights Day
The dates of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence fall between November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day. These dates were picked in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of women’s human rights.
Other important dates that fall between November 25 and December 10 include International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, World AIDS Day, and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. In addition to raising awareness about violence against women generally, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign leverages these dates to highlight the relationship between violence against women and other worldwide issues, such as poverty and HIV & AIDS.
During these 16 Days, organizations and individuals share statistics, thoughts and stories to raise awareness about gender violence and to ensure that the goal of ending violence against women remains in the spotlight once the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has passed.
How You Can Get Involved
This year, The MATCH International Women’s Fund will be sharing quotes and statistics to raise awareness around violence against women internationally. We invite you to join us in speaking out to end violence against women. Follow The MATCH International Women’s Fund on Facebook and Twitter to participate in this year’s campaign with us. You can spread the word to your friends by sharing our posts on Facebook and retweeting them on Twitter. If you’re interested in leading your own local campaign or hosting an event for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, check out these great resources and kits from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership available here.
Women-led innovations and renewed ways of thinking are helping to make great strides in the advancement of women’s human rights, including the right to a life free from violence. To learn about The MATCH International Women’s Fund and our work supporting survivors of sexual violence, click here.
2. UN Women. “Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women”. Available at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures#notes
3. Canadian Women’s Foundation. “The Facts About Violence Against Women”. Available at: http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence