The 16 Days of Activism are going strong! There are many important dates observed during this span, including the International Day to End Violence against Women (Nov. 25), World Aids Day (Dec. 1), and the culmination of Human Rights Day (Dec. 10). There are also numerous actions that have been taken in the United States and all across the world!
COMMIT. UN Women has launched this call for national commitments to prevent and address violence against women and girls. As of right now, ten countries, across six continents, have made commitments. For example, Australia has had a White Ribbon Workplace project since 2007, which promotes safe workplaces for women. In another example, the African nation of Togo has recently adopted a penal code that criminalizes gender-based violence, and it continues to strengthen its National Strategy by enhancing economic empowerment of women. You can view other countries’ actions by visiting Say NO — UNiTE’s COMMIT page.
Ride On! Speak Out to End Violence against Women. UN Women in South Africa has partnered with Harley Davidson of Johannesburg to raise awareness and train a network of men to prevent violence against women. Fifteen riders will travel 7,800 kilometers across nine countries in southern Africa, and they will participate in actions each day. The members of Ride On! Speak Out! have set up a blog to chronicle their journey, which will go on from November 23 to December 10.
Take Back the Tech! Technologically-based violence is an increasing societal problem that creates unsafe places and violates women’s privacy and autonomy. For example, GPS and other tracking devices can be used in attempts to stalk people. People can also pose as someone else online, and this can lead to dangerous situations. Take Back the Tech! is a collaborative effort that educates people on issues, like online privacy, email, and chat rooms. By taking control of the technology, women can exercise rights and speak out against tech-based violence. Take Back the Tech! has gathered stories of survival, and you can find out more, as well as contribute your own story, by visiting takebackthetech.net.
If you are organizing any activities, feel free to share at www.saynotoviolence.org. Say NO — UNiTE has also launched its official video, “A Promise is a Promise,” which you can view on the group’s YouTube page. Yet another way to get involved is via Twitter. From December 7 to December 10, use the hashtag #SayUCommit to let UN Women and Say NO — UNiTE know what you would commit to end violence against women.
Finally, on December 10, don’t forget to make your voice count! You can join the United Nations Human Rights Office on Facebook, and you can also follow the United Nations Human Rights Google+ page to participate in live video discussions. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will be holding a discussion on the 10th with the theme of “Inclusion and the right to participate in public life.” There are so many ways to get involved; even by choosing just one, you can make great strides in creating awareness about the problem of gender-based violence. By creating awareness, people will be further educated in the quest to eliminate violence against women from our society.