16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

The end of the year is fast approaching but before we bid farewell to 2014, there are a few facts that should be remembered. One in three women worldwide is a victim of abuse every day. In Canada, half of all women over the age of 16 have experienced violence in some form. Though sobering, these numbers are real, and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence works to spur conversation and shrink the statistics.

The 16 days of Activism is an international campaign that focuses on raising awareness and ending gender-based violence. November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marks the beginning of the campaign with Human Rights Day, December 10th, at the end.

Launched in 1991 by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, the 16 Days campaign gained international recognition after a petition circulated, calling upon the United Nations to address violence against women as a human rights issue. What started small, as a grassroots campaign, snowballed and the petition reached 124 countries, gathering over one million signatures by 1995.

This year’s campaign focuses on the affect of militarism, with the slogan “From peace in the home to peace in the world.” The takeaway? Gender-based violence is a human rights issue, not merely a gender issue, and a society free of abuse and violence depends on the groundwork laid in the home.

The success of an international campaign depends on local support and participation. At Interval House, we know the value of starting small and creating a community and network. As the first centre for abused women and children in Canada, Interval House opened its doors in 1973, with only a handful of staff, and built upon the mandate of empowering women to break the cycle of violence.

This year, to mark the 16 Days at Interval House, we will be highlighting some of the brilliant work being done by our sister organizations around the GTA. Check back during the next 16 days to see our blog posts highlighting several Toronto’s agencies for abused women and what they’re doing to campaign against gender violence. In creating conversations and raising awareness in the GTA, we can keep the issue in the public spotlight, and further the push to end gender-based violence.