Using Your Voice to Support Survivors: The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Violence against women and girls is an expansive and overwhelming issue complicated by the intersections of discrimination, objectification, and abuse. Raising awareness of this pervasive crisis is one of the many ways we can work towards ending the culture of abuse. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) launches the ‘16 Days of Activism Campaign’. The annual Campaign to end gender-based violence highlights several key international days: The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), International Women Human Rights Defender Day (29 November), World AIDS Day (1 December), and the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (6 December). This year, the commencement of the Campaign will mark the beginning of the UN Secretary General’s goal to eradicate rape in the effort to eliminate gender-based violence.
One in three women and girls are victimized because of their gender. This shocking statistic includes human trafficking, harassment, child marriage, and many more forms of violence against women and girls. Additionally, women and girls are statistically more likely to be victimized if they experience other forms of discrimination such as: disabilities, poverty, and sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, women and girls are more likely to experience gender-based violence if they are living in areas where there are conflicts or extractive industries. Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and women and girls that identify as indigenous or a minority group also experience higher rates of violence.
We are as concerned for women and girls today as Catherine was when she opened the first house of Mercy to take in vulnerable women. She helped the women of her day access education and safe working environments. While the ways in which we protect women and girls has changed, our spirit remains the same as we continue to raise the voices of abused, wounded, and trafficked women and girls.
Mercy Global Action’s (MGA) efforts in the area of human trafficking address this reality of intersectionality. By focusing on human trafficking as a specific form of gender-based violence, MGA examines the impact of age, education, poverty, and discrimination as factors that raise women and girls’ risk of being trafficked. Additionally, three out of four women who have been trafficked experience sexually exploitation.
As part of this year’s annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, UN Women are asking the Global Community to share their thoughts, hopes, and stories. UN Women recognizes the important momentum generated by campaigns like #MeToo. Social media has helped mobilize, unite, and empower women who have experienced violence and harassment. It has helped shine a spotlight on an issue that is far too often ignored. To continue the movement, UN Women have created a platform for this year’s campaign where survivors and allies can share their stories, prayers, and hopes for a better future.
Join the campaign here.
Messages to: Amanda Carrier rsm - MGA Intern