Today marks the International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day (IEVAW).
As a proud feminist and advocate of gender equality, I want to take a few moments to outline why this day is so important.
From the South West of England to the UK to the international stage, sexual and gender-based violence against women is a global problem. As a gross violation of human rights and a destruction of women and girls dignity, it has no place in our society.
As indicated by the UN, these crimes of sexual violence (rape, sexual assault) domestic violence, harassment, bullying on the internet, slavery or trafficking and many more, do not observe geographic, socio-economic or cultural boundaries. This means that every single one of us has an obligation and responsibility to work towards the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence. We need a joint effort from men and women to work towards challenging the status quo and standing up for gender equality. Protecting and supporting victims must remain a priority so that people do not feel isolated and rejected by society. We are all in this fight for ending violence against women.
Between 25th November (IEVAW Day) and 10th December (Human Rights Day) I will be undertaking the '16 Day Campaign' which sees 16 days of activism against gender violence. My plan is to raise as much awareness as possible around the issue. Over this period I will be tweeting, blogging and sharing infographics and posts in order to understand the severity of the problem and create a dialogue around what action can be taken.
This year the official theme of the campaign is 'Education.' It is an incredibly powerful tool and one which can be used to teach respect, relationship education and sexual education early so that children and young people can develop the right attitude from a young age and carry these values into later life. As well as other reflections, I too will touch upon the importance of education over the next 16 days.
I urge you to get involved – be it your own messages, sharing of statistics or just retweeting in order to show your support, I would be delighted to hear from you and include you in this campaign.