Tomorrow, November 25, marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The 16 days includes the following key dates, ending on International Human Rights Day to emphasize that violence against women is a human rights violation:
- November 25: The International Day Against Violence Against Women
- November 29: International Women Human Rights Defender Day
- December 1: World AIDS Day
- December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons
- December 6: the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
- December 10: International Human Rights Day
So what kinds of activism should you take on? There are a bunch of really easy things like tweeting and re-tweeting anti-violence messages under the #16days hashtag, but I’m skeptical about the impact this will have. There will also be a bunch of rallies, marches, and vigils. To find events in your area, check out Rutgers’ International Campaign Calendar.
I’m tired of just attending the same events year after year and acting like that’s enough. So I started thinking about other things I should be doing and I drew a blank. Then I realized it’s because the actions that really make a difference take a lot more than 16 days a year to accomplish. But there’s no time like the present to get started.
Here are some of the ideas I liked best when looking around at other websites for the 16 Days of Activism:
From the Pixel Project’s “10 Things Men Can Do to Stop Violence Against Women”:
- Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programmes, including anti-sexist men’s programmes. Lead by example.
- Attend programmes, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
- Teach girls to protect and empower themselves
- Support organizations that work to end violence against women
- Promote women’s economic and political equality
From the UN’s Say NO – UNite to End Violence Against Women Campaign:
- Run workshops and sensitization trainings on the prevalent forms of violence against women and girls for police, judiciary, medical professionals, teachers, media, private sector companies and faith-based leaders (tip geared towards civil society organizations).
- Organize an awareness day in your company – hold gender workshops, invite your local NGO that is working to end violence against women for an information session, screen a film that highlights the issue.
From the Rutgers Campaign website:
- Write articles for newspapers, journals, blogs, and newsletters
- Put pressure on politicians, administrators, and other decision-makers to demand changes
- Reach out to faith-based communities and ask them to share information with their constituents
I’ll leave it for now with this awareness video created as part of the Red Rose Campaign. And I’d love to hear your plans for the 16 Days of Activism and any other ideas you have, in the comments below.