From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Cam-paign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions – one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.
The time for change is here and now. In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced anymore. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light. This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo
Currently, more than 3,700 organizations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually. Joining these organizations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising NGOs, FBOs, CBOs and other entities and activists, that is organizing speak outs across Guyana. This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry of Social Protection, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence. Other partners include the Women & Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.
Organizations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender based, child and sexual abuse as well as brainstorm on ideas to address these scourges. The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims. Speak out sessions do not need large attendance; 10 persons would be enough. And since this is about the attendees themselves, guest speakers are not necessary. Anyone can moderate a session. Organizers are urged to video the sessions so they can be used for sensitization, advocacy and activism, while ideas can be gathered together and shared with relevant government ministries and agencies as well as the media.