16 Days Campaign
Tomorrow commemorates the beginning of the "16 Days Campaign on Gender Violence." This year celebrates its sixteenth year. Each year has a specific theme and this year's is Advance Human Rights to End Violence against Women.
This campaign is very important because it brings global awareness about violence that women experience in a way that is full of information sharing, hopeful, honest, passionate, and global. The campaign is 16 days long because it is chalk-full of key dates. For instance, November 25 is the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women - the UN chose this day after 3 sisters were murdered by the government in Dominican Republic. So, VAW is not just about domestic violence, but also the general way that women are still viewed in society and the violence we experience is still systemic.
November 29 has recently been deemed Women's Human Rights Defenders Day - to celebrate all the amazing women that are human rights activists and our mentors.
Another important day is December 1, World AIDS day. This day is important for everyone as it marks the rise of HIV/AIDS worldwide, and studies prove that the rates of women being affecting are rising, specifically. There are many reasons - male partners refuse to use condoms and women feel silenced if they request it, condoms may not be available, women are being raped by affected men, men are raping virgins because they want to infect someone else, let alone other ways.
December 6 is an especially important day here in Canada and i wish that it received more global attention. In 1989, a misogynist and hateful man killed 14 women in his engineering class simply because they were women and he didn't like having them as classmates. 1989, folks, was not that long ago and it shows us that we still live in a patriarchal world.
December 10 is the last day within the 16 Days and it's Human Rights Day. Violence that women experience is profound, but we know that we are not alone in being targeted. Transgendered men and women, lesbians and gay men, people of colour, people with disabilities, those that live in extreme poverty, as well as people who fear for their life due to political differences all face discrimination. It is important to challenge those in power and speak in a united voice.
So, for these sixteen days, i plan to do something each day:
* Wear purple - the colour of the VAW movement
* Buy daisies - the flower that is the symbol of domestic violence
* Take part in an event - on December 6 i'm attending a vigil
* Use my voice - i made an art piece for an event to commemorate a woman who was murdered by her husband
* Tell others about this campaign
* Read more and research more - buy a new book
* Wear a red ribbon on December 1
* Sign a petition, write a letter
* Celebrate a world leader like Vandana Shiva and Audre Lorde
* Host a stitch n bitch to celebrate being women
* Help a friend in need
* Donate clothing to a shelter
* Let women know about resources in our community
* Host a 'healthy relationships' workshop for women
* Wear my 'This is what a feminist looks like' button proudly
* Light a candle and have a silent vigil for those i know affected by woman abuse
What can you do?