Over the next 16 days, Touchstone will be taking part in the Global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. In particular, we will be focusing on raising awareness of all forms of domestic abuse and encouraging actions we can all take to end this violence and cruelty. We will be sharing information, resources, blogs, personal stories and more each day.

But what exactly is the Global 16 Days of Activism campaign, and why does it matter?

What is the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign?

The Global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to end violence against women and people of marginalized genders.

It began in 1991, at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, and is still coordinated by Women’s Global Leadership.

The purpose of the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign is to organise groups and individuals around the world to work towards the complete elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. In the words of the campaign, they aim to:

  • “raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels”
  • “strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women”
  • “establish a clear link between local and international work to end gender-based violence against women”
  • “provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies”
  • “demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world organizing against gender-based violence against women”
  • “create tools to pressure governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women”

The dates of the campaign were deliberately selected to emphasise that violence against women is always a violation of fundamental human rights. By starting on the 25th November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and ending on the 10th, International Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence aims to make it clear that there can be no human rights without the rights of women and people of marginalised genders to live free from fear of violence.

The 16 days of the campaign also cover other key dates, including International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on 29th November; World AIDS Day on 1st December; and 6th December, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

Why is the campaign important?

The campaign is vital in raising awareness of gender-based violence, which has immense impacts on the health, freedom, happiness and safety of women and people of marginalised genders.

According to the World Health Organisation:

  • “Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights.”
  • “Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.”
  • “Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.”

Last year, the 16 Days of Activism campaigned released statistics that show that:

  • “Globally, 137 women and girls are killed by a family member or intimate partner every single day. The result is more than 50,000 femicides each year.”

We cannot understand and fight against gender-based violence without understanding and fighting against violence towards trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people. In the UK and globally, statistics on violence towards trans and non-binary people are very, and often disproportionately, high.

  • The UK Government’s Hate Crime Statistics registered a 56% rise in hate crimes towards trans people in 2021-2022. This is likely to be only a portion of the hate crimes trans people experience in the UK. As a 2018 report from Stonewall noted, “hate crime against trans people is significantly underreported” with 79% of trans people saying they don’t report it to the police.
  • Trans people experience disproportionately high levels of domestic violence and abuse. In 2018, Stonewall reported that 28% of trans people had experienced domestic abuse that year. Another recent SafeLives report suggested that the “available research suggests that some LGBT+ people experience domestic abuse at a higher rate than non-LGBT+people”, with trans and non-binary people at particular risk.
  • Violence against trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people is horrifically common across the globe and sometimes has lethal consequences. The murder of LGBTQ+ people in the recent Club Q shooting on this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance is a prescient reminder of the prevalence of this violence globally.

This year’s theme is activism

Over 6000+  organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the Global 16 Days Campaign since 1991, with a reach of 300 million.

To learn more about the campaign, keep following Touchstone’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please keep sharing our content throughout the next two weeks, to learn more about gender-based violence, and help us reach others to combat it together.

We will be sharing the following content over the next 16 days, so keep up to date! Knowledge is power, and together we can work to end gender-based violence for good.