How to Prevent and Respond to Gender Violence: 16 Days of Activism

Sunday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, kicking off 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence that highlight the connection between women, violence, and human rights. November 25 stands as a reminder to the world, local organizations, and most importantly, ordinary citizens to say “No” and unite to end violence against women.

The 16 Days campaign is an opportunity to show international solidarity in the fight to end violence against women. This year’s theme–From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World–highlights the link between militarism and gender violence, as well as the role of women as peacemakers in their own homes and nations. Join people all over the world to promote women’s rights to peace and freedom from violence.


The 16-day period also highlights other significant dates: November 29 (International Women Human Rights Defenders Day), December 1 (World AIDS Day), December 3 (the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre), and December 10 (International Human Rights Day). The lives of women lost by domestic violence will recognized on December 10 as an act of grave human rights violation. By placing women’s safety and concerns within the human rights paradigm, the campaign hopes to no longer relegate abuse as a “private” or “domestic” affair. Instead, the campaign will demand accountability from the States to secure protection and fulfillment of the rights of women, who make up half its citizens.

What is Gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or is violence that affects women disproportionately. Both gender-based violence and violence against women are terms used to describe human rights violations committed against women that stem from gender inequality and the failure of governments and societies to recognize the human rights of women. Acts of gender-based violence can include domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking of women, forced prostitution, harmful social practices, and more.

The 16 Days against gender violence campaign focuses on the following themes:

  • Bringing together women, peace, and human rights      movements to challenge militarism
  • Sexual violence in and after conflict
  • Sexual and gender-based violence committed by state      agents, particularly the military or police

To commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, here are the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the George Washington University (GWU) Global Women’s Institute two related events:

From Evidence to Action: Unleashing the Power of Research to Combat Gender-based Violence

Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 3–4:30 pm
City View Room, 1957 E St. NW, Washington DC, 7th Floor

Recently, the United States government released its global strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. One of its four key objectives is to improve the collection, analysis, and use of data to enhance prevention and response efforts. Yet, it has been reported that local research capacity is lagging in many parts of the world, particularly among those best positioned to use research for policy advocacy and program design. Why and what can be done to prevent and respond to gender based violence?

The upcoming informative discussion will be moderated by Lois Romano, Senior Political Writer for Politico and ICRW Board Member, with the following esteemed panelists:

  • Kay Freeman, Director of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, USAID
  • Stella Mukasa, Director of Gender, Violence and Rights, ICRW
  • Mary Ellsberg, Director, Global Women’s Institute, George Washington University
  • Karen McDonnell, Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University

At this upcoming event, ICRW will launch its latest publication, Strengthening Research and Action on Gender-based Violence in Africa.

Violence Against Girls: From Child Marriage to Date Rape

Thursday, December 6, 2012, 12–2pm
George Washington University Marvin Center, 800 21st Street, NW, Room #405

Violence against young women takes different forms in different parts of the world. On Thursday, December 6, 2012, the discussion will focus on two (2) issues that affect millions of girls and young women around the world: child marriage and dating violence. This event will be moderated by Susan Wood, Director, Women’s Health Institute, George Washington University, the panel features:

  • Neil Irvin, Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape
  • TaraPereira, Director of Campus Inclusion Initiatives, George Washington University
  • Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, ICRW
  • Lucy Lohrmann, Teen Advisor, Girl Up Campaign

Since the campaign began in 1991, 4,100 organizations in approximately 172 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign. At present, only a handful of countries, including the United States, have committed to take concrete actions to respond to end violence against women. Austria has set us off in the right direction by including gender responsive budgeting practices in their national security budget. Germany intends to establish a national hotline number by 2013 and eliminate unequal pay between men and women by the end of this year. The United States aims to reduce domestic violence homicides in up to 12 communities by 2013, through identifying best practices in violence intervention.

Join the efforts to stop and respond to gender-based violence.

Source(s): International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Amnesty International. AAUW. Say NO – UniTE.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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