18 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, November 26-December 10, 2004

Friday, July 23 2010

The 16 Days Campaign of Activism Against Gender Violence, now in its fourteenth year, is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This sixteen-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels, establishing a clear link between
local and international anti-violence work, providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share strategies, demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against gender-based violence, and creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women. Since 1991, the 16 Days Campaign has included the participation of over 1,700 organizations in approximately 130 countries!


In order to emphasize the important intersection of violence against women and women‚s health, and particularly that of violence against women and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the 2004 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence theme is: For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No More Violence.

The groundbreaking UN World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, formally recognized violence against women as a human rights violation and called on governments and the United Nations to work toward its elimination. Since 1993, many significant gains have been made, including the increasing acknowledgment of gender-based violence as a major global public health issue. According to the World Health Organization, the consequences of abuse are profound, extending beyond the health and happiness of individuals to affect the well-being of entire communities. Beyond the immediate physical and emotional effects, it has been shown that violence increases women’s future risk of various psychological, emotional, behavioral and physical ailments, and negatively affects their ability to enjoy other human rights. Violence inhibits women from reaching their full potential as active members of
their community, which impairs the well-being of society.

In 2005, the ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action which resulted from the UN Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), Beijing 1995, and the five-year reviews of the Millennium Declaration (2000) and the programme of action from the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (2000) present significant opportunities to highlight this intersection. For this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign, participants are encouraged to plan events that emphasize the impact that violence has on women’s physical, reproductive, sexual, emotional and social health.

Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS

The 2004 16 Days of Activism theme is also intended to highlight the intersection of violence against women and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Specific attention must be paid to the issue of gender-based violence in order to effectively deal with the current HIV/AIDS crisis. Currently, there is a growing body of research calling attention to the connection between violence against women and HIV/AIDS. Violence, and the fear of violence, hinders women’s ability to prevent transmission of the virus and compromises their access to a range of services, including testing and treatment. Women also often experience further violence once they are or are perceived to be infected.

A number of groups and initiatives are organizing around the issue of violence against women and HIV/AIDS, including the Global Coalition on Women and HIV/AIDS, the Amnesty International Stop Violence Against Women Campaign, the Global Campaign for Microbicides, and the 2004 UNAIDS World AIDS Campaign, as well as countless organizations at the grassroots level. When planning events for the 2004 16 Days of Activism Campaign, which includes World AIDS Day (December 1), participants might ask themselves: What are the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS in my community? What forms of violence do the women in my community face and how does this violence affect their ability to adequately deal with HIV/AIDS? What sort of research and activism is already happening around this issue and how can I get involved?

Contact the Center for Women's Global Leadership at the address below for more information and to access the 2004 Take Action Kit.

Sara Nordstrom, 16 Days Campaign Coordinator, Center for Women’s Global Leadership , 160 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Tel: (1-732) 932-8782. Fax: (1-732) 932-1180. Web: http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu . Email: cwgl@igc.org


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