The "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" is an international campaign that takes place annually from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10th (International Human Rights Day). The campaign aims to raise awareness and mobilize action to end gender-based violence (GBV) in all its forms.
The origins of the campaign can be traced back to the first Women's Global Leadership Institute, which was held in 1991. The Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) initiated this campaign, and it has since gained global recognition and support.
The specific focus on the 16 days is significant. The campaign starts on November 25th to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and it concludes on December 10th, which is International Human Rights Day. This 16-day period symbolically links violence against women and human rights, emphasizing that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights.
Throughout the 16 days, organizations, activists, and individuals worldwide participate in events, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities to highlight the prevalence of gender-based violence, challenge societal norms that perpetuate such violence, and call for concrete actions to end it. The campaign addresses a wide range of issues, including domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence. In Sierra Leone there have been many events and rallies to mark the 16 Days of Activism, including the SGUW Boys workshops. Our workshops were broadcast live by CultureTV and widely covered on the radio. They were attended by government officials, police officers, educators and community leaders- all of whom answered questions from the boys while stating their personal and professional commitment to end GBV.
Men and boys have an important role to play in ending gender-based violence and discrimination. Even though they are often overlooked by the women's rights movement- they are vital as our allies in making a world free from violence and fear. Educating these boys is a first step to changing their perspective about themselves and all the women in their lives.