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HST Blog

Nov 29
Empowering Change: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

​By Mandisa Dlamini, HST Communications Intern

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual global campaign that commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on 10 December, Human Rights Day. In 2023, this period of activism holds even greater significance as the world unites to address and eradicate gender-based violence. In 1991, activists kicked off the campaign at the Women's Global Leadership Institute inauguration. Since then, people worldwide have adopted it as a strategy to rally against violence towards women and girls, aiming for prevention and elimination.

The theme

This year, the UNiTE campaign theme of the 16 Days is: Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls. Violence against women and girls remains the most penetrating human rights violation around the world. In general terms, it appears in physical, sexual, and psychological manifestations, encompassing:

  • intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
  • sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber-harassment);
  • human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
  • female genital mutilation; and
  • child marriage.

In order to put an end to violence against women, it is crucial that we address and challenge the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalise, and normalise such acts. We must also vehemently reject any denial of women's fundamental right to safety. The goal of Parliament is to make society fair and just by promoting democracy and protecting human rights, including those of women and children. Parliament has taken steps by passing laws to address and stop these problems in society.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in 2023 is a crucial moment for global solidarity and collective action. By shedding light on the challenges, celebrating successes, and emphasising the importance of continued efforts, we can strive towards a world free from all forms of gender-based violence. Let's unite and take meaningful actions to support the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Together, we can make a difference and contribute to creating a safer and more respectful world for everyone. Organisations such as POWA, Sonke Gender Justice, South African National AIDS Council, Ilitha Labantu, and TEARS Foundation actively participate in the fight against gender-based violence.

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