16 days of activism against gender-based violence

by Zandra Nilsson

During the recent years voices of victims of sexual violence and abuse have been heard through movements such as #MeToo #TimesUp and ”NotOneMore and many others. One might say that we finally have reached a point in history where women no longer will be silent. Because of stigma and shame many women have not shared or reported their experience before, even though violence against women is very common – one out of three women worldwide from different age groups, class, race and social status experience gender-based violence. Their stories need attention.

Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Since 1991 a yearly campaign called “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” has spread worldwide. These campaigns are ongoing from the 25 November (the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women) until the 10 December (the Human Rights Day). Behind the campaign are UN Women (UNiTE) and Women’s Global Leadership Institute. The campaign of 2018 considered how big impact social media and hashtags have made and therefore focused on a hashtag and the importance of sharing a story. 2018’s campaign was called “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”.

The Orange the World: #HearMetoo campaign have 95 000 followers on Twitter and more than 203 500 followers on Facebook. And on Instagram more than 29 000 have used the hashtag. Additionally, the campaign offers more sharing online than social media. On the campaigns webpage anyone can easy share their own story – with only using 8 words. It results in small, poetic “postcards” for the readers to share.

Just as the previous years, the color orange is part of the concept throughout the campaign. The color is symbolizing a brighter future and a world free from violence against women. This means that people are encouraged to ware orange and buildings will be lit up and decorated in the color.

Purpose and result of the campaigns

During these 16 days partners to UNiTE are encouraged to host events for local, national and global feminist movements, women human right defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, the public and policy-makers. Moreover, the purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about gender-based violence all over the world and establish a clear link between local and international work to end gender-based violence. Plus, create tools to pressure government to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence. And also, to demonstrate solidarity of women around the world protesting against violence against women.

In total more than 6000 organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaigns since they started in 1991 – and reached over 300 million people.

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