It is estimated that at least one in three women worldwide will be sexually or physically abused at some point in her life. In certain parts of the world up to 70% of murdered women are killed by their partner.
Gender-based violence includes domestic violence, female genital mutilation, child and forced marriage, and rape – men and boys suffer from these outrages as well but there is a disproportionate impact on women and girls and a need to recognise this in any policy response. In areas of conflict, sexual violence as a weapon of war continues to affect an unimaginable number of women and girls.
25 years ago, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign was initiated to act as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, people worldwide undertake 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. The campaign runs between these two dates to highlight the way that violence violates the human rights of countless women.
Even in 2016 education, a fundamental human right, recognized in Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and an essential and powerful tool for achieving the goals of equality, development and peace, remains out of reach for millions of girls. Women make up two-thirds of the world's illiterate people.
Therefore, the theme of 2016’s campaign is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”. Over the 16 days, I will join thousands of others in raising awareness of the importance of education as a tool to combat gender-based violence. Also at the heart of this year’s 16 days of activism are calls for increased, sustained funding to end violence against women and girls, as one of the major challenges to efforts to end gender-based violence is the substantial funding shortfall. Whether this is a result of austerity measures, conflict or corruption, resources for initiatives to prevent and end gender-based violence are severely lacking across the globe.
The Association for Women’s Rights in Development estimated the average income for women’s rights groups to be just $20,000. Vast resources are becoming available under the ‘development umbrella’, which benefit women and girls worldwide, yet sustained collective action by women’s rights activists and women’s rights organisations remain massively underfunded and lacking
Over the these 16 days I am attempting to raise awareness around this important issue and to help others to understand the depth of this problem and what we can do to help finally put an end to gender-based violence. Through my work, I aim to represent women across the South West who are victims of violence, as well as women further afield, and it is with such women in mind, that I proudly undertake this year’s campaign.