16 Days Activism Against Gender Violence

Posted on 25 October 2002

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 25th to December 10th marks 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence, where women's organisations, grassroots activists and human rights defenders all over the world concentrate their efforts to raise awareness on all forms of violence against women.

This annual global action of solidarity began eleven years ago from the Center for Women's Global Leadership's first Women's Global Leadership Institute, and since then, more than 1,000 individuals and organisations from over 100 countries have organised activities in their communities to help stop violence against women.

The activities range from candlelight vigils for victims, lobbying governments for changes in law and policy, public education campaigns to a host of other women-centred actions. In Malaysia, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) is one of the women's groups who have consistently organised a public education campaign each year since 1988.

This year, working together with Putra LRT, WAO will be reaching out to the public through performance art. For the 16 days, there will a performance in the form of music, song, poetry reading and so on, centred on the issue of violence against women at various LRT stations. Continuing from our theme last year, "Don't Turn Your Back on Violence Against Women", we hope to urge the public to take an active stand in helping to end this phenomenon. Volunteers of WAO will also be situated at the LRT station armed with informational brochures and a supportive mind to engage members of the public on this issue.


Join us and look out for our posters at the LRT stations and in the train, as well as for our t-shirt clad volunteers during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Your interest helps bring us one step closer to eliminating violence against women.



(From the Global Center of Women's Leadership)

There are several important dates within November 25th to December 10th.

November 25 was declared International Day Against Violence Against Women at the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Bogota, Colombia, 18-21 July 1981. At that Encuentro women systematically denounced gender violence from domestic battery, to rape and sexual harassment, to state violence including torture and abuses of women political prisoners. November 25 was chosen to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabal sisters (Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa) on November 25, 1960 by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. In 1999, the United Nations officially recognized November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day every year. This day marks the beginning of an annual campaign designed to encourage public support for and development of programs to prevent the spread of HIV infection and provide education and promote awareness of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. It was first observed in 1988 after a summit of health ministers from around the world called for a spirit of social tolerance and a greater exchange of information on HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day serves to strengthen the global effort to face the challenges of the AIDS pandemic.

December 10 is when peoples and states the world over celebrate the adoption, in 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this landmark date in contemporary history, the nations of the world joined together to try and bury, once and for all, the spectre of genocide raised by the Second World War. This document was one of the first major achievements of the United Nations and provided the basic philosophy for many legally binding international instruments to follow. Resolution 217A (III) by the General Assembly, proclaims "the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms..."

Organizations and individuals use Human Rights Day as an opportunity to both commemorate the signing of this historical document and to promote the principles which are enumerated throughout the document. The honouring and protection of women's human rights remains as vital features in the elimination of violence against women.


Prepared by Jaclyn Kee, Women's Aid Organisation
4 October 2002

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