25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the first day of the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign.
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains one of the most pervasive and persistent violations of human rights in the world. It reaches into every country, every community and every corner of our planet, rearing its ugly head in an ever-shifting range of guises.
The focus of the 2017 #16Days campaign is to ‘Leave No One Behind’. It’s an opportunity to raise greater awareness of GBV and its impact, but also a chance for us to reinforce the global commitment to creating a world free from violence for all, reaching the most marginalized – including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters – as our first priority.
For each of the #16DaysofActivism, Girls’ Globe will be publishing opinions, ideas and stories from within our global community.
The voices of the individuals and groups with the Girls’ Globe network highlight some of the most pressing issues related to GBV in the world today, as well as some of the most inspiring examples of advocacy and activism.
But it’s not just during #16Days that Girls’ Globe provides a platform to speak out against violence and injustice. We do so all year round, because violence – or the pervasive threat of violence – continues to hold girls and women back, every single day, and so we’ll also be crowdfunding the $20,000 we need to keep girlsglobe.org raising voices in 2018.
To kick off the 2017 16 Days of Activism, we’ve rounded up the year’s 16 most-read GBV blogs on girlsglobe.org. We hope you enjoy reading or re-reading your way through the list, and stay tuned for brand new content published each day until 10 December. Together, we can end violence against women and girls. Together, we can #orangetheworld.
by Miia Yliaho
“Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that, like many martial arts, is just as much a way of life as a way to get fit. To succeed in taekwondo, there is only one opponent you have to beat: yourself. You need to accept your limits and turn them into advantages. You need to accept failure and see it as learning: another step towards your goal.You need to accept pain (in a healthy and controlled way), and you will learn that you can endure more than you think.”
“Victims of assault can have counter-intuitive reactions, which can in turn exacerbate their trauma and cripple recovery efforts. When we broached the question of maladaptive reactions, Wasil was unsurprised, having worked with clients who turn to chemical painkillers like drugs and alcohol, as well as those who develop internal ones, like sexual addiction or gambling. She says that trauma can do more than alter a person’s behavior, it can also decimate their emotional capacity.”
by Lorna Andisi
“It’s been roughly 100 days since 2017 began. Reflecting on the past year’s campaigns against FGM and early marriages, it is true that all who are involved have come a long way. There have been moments where the campaign may have faltered and made missteps – but we’ve also seen some significant progress.”
by Patti J
“It seems easy to question some other random person. Yet, it’s more often not some other random person, it’s your co-worker, your neighbor, your friend, your sister. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you don’t know it is. Maybe you think someone else’s situation is worse and so you justify to yourself that yours isn’t that bad, so it couldn’t be considered abuse.”
by Girls’ Globe Guest Blogger
“Smart, strong, reasonable women who have been victimized by sexual assault can still be vulnerable to abusive relationships, sexual situations they don’t know how to control, and unsure how or when to say ‘no’.”
by Help Lesotho
“In Lesotho (southern Africa), sugar daddies are called ‘blessers’. As girls’ bodies start to change in early adolescence, older men take notice. The girls, often orphans with no emotional support, crave the attention and feel that it is cool to have an older man show interest in them. A mother from Lesotho explains, ‘we find that for some girls who have grown up without a father, these sugar daddies provide something like a ‘fatherly love’, but really they are exploiting them.'”
“Rape is a crime that feeds on silence, and it takes a rupture in the status quo to affect change. After the success of the Akayesu case, local Rwandan tribunals ruled that rape was a “category one” crime, in the same grouping as murder. This was a tremendous step forward, setting a lasting precedent for the severity of sexual assault.”
by Bita Aranda
“I had to ask a group of women if I should write this at all. If this is how I want to show Mexico to Girls’ Globe’s readers; but they asked me, how could I not? How could I not use this platform to tell the rest of the world what they are doing to us? How could I not write about the gender based violence we live amongst every day? How could I not use this privilege as a way to give those women and girls their voices back – the voices that were ripped out of their chests?”
by Zahra Wakilzada for Free Women Writers
“When he saw her again, he asked:
‘You have a bad reputation now, right?
Nobody married you, right?
I warned you.'”
“Cases of rape and sexual assault are always shocking. But that perpetrators would be spared from their actions due to how much economic or social power they possess makes it twice as infuriating.”
“We believe that educating girls is the best long-term strategy for ending gendercide. In a beautiful arc of giving, the at-risk women who made the baby booties are, knowingly or unknowingly, helping the next generation of girls so that they don’t have to be at risk.”
“When I went to bed that night, I could not fall asleep thinking of Brisa’s story. I reached for the conference app (yes, thank goodness for technology) and requested a meeting, to which she agreed enthusiastically. I could not believe it. I knew that this story absolutely had to be told and shared with the world to bring to light exactly what violence against women means, but also as an example of what it will take to tackle violence head on.”
by Maria Rendo
“The rates of child marriage in the region are alarming. According to UNICEF, in five countries (Nicaragua, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras) at least 30 percent of girls marry before the age of 18. In more than 11 countries, among them Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, and Panama, between 20 and 30 percent of girls marry before they turn 18.”
“I think the worst part of being harassed or assaulted is that it makes you forget to be kind to yourself. It makes you question your own existence and forget how to accept yourself. For me, it has taken years of ignorance, silence, self-blame, and internalization, as well as thousands of conversations with friends and family, to feel ‘worthy’ again.”
by Mia du Toit
“Women and girls are crying out for help. Becoming aware of abuse taking place around us can drive us to make a change and offer a helping hand to those who need one. We each have resources that others may not have, so let’s use our individual privileges to shed some light. To the girls in South Africa who need a safe haven: this country and the authorities might let you down, but I never will.”
“In emergency contexts where social networks are lost or strained, women and girls too often become targets of violence and abuse – like sexual violence as a weapon of war, exploitation and harassment as refugees, domestic violence and abuse, and child marriage in the upheaval of displacement. And when it comes to the assistance that impacts them, they are frequently kept out of the decision-making process.”