Global advocates work together to stop gender violence during 16 Days Campaign

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Women from around the world say no to violence
Women from around the world sign up to say no to violence through the Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign at the United Nations through UN initiatives with the 2012 16 Days Campaign. Image: Saynotoviolence/UN Women

(WNN) New Brunswick, N.J., UNITED STATES: As thousands of organizations across the globe demand an end to violence in their communities the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign for 2012 is kicking off this year in full steam.

On November 25, 2012 Rutgers University Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) launched the 22nd year of its 16 Days Campaign to call for an end to gender-based violence with appeals to governments to respond, protect, and prevent violence against women. During the days of the global campaign events by diverse organizations like Amnesty International, UN Women, the African Women’s Development Fund and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom are gearing up to highlight the worldwide work that agencies on-the-ground are bringing to solve today’s problems specific to women and violence.

Beginning on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ending on International Human Rights Day (December 10), the 16 Days Campaign is bridging the global gap to stop violence against women. Violence against women is a human rights violation say advocates.

This year’s Campaign theme, ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!’, highlights the role that global militarism and distribution of weapons continues to play in perpetuating violence against women and girls, especially in regions like the South Congo where violence against women continues under conflict.

But the problems of violence today are not only with rebel armies. Nearly 700 million small arms weapons are in the hands of people and households worldwide.

Research shows that owning a small arm weapon in the home does not protect. It actually can increase the risk of someone being murdered by 41%. This nearly triples the likelihood that a woman may be murdered due to domestic gun violence.

“The pervasiveness of small arms and violence militarism perpetuates in our communities the world over, challenges all
of us to think critically about militarism in our everyday lives, [in] governments’ actions undertaken in the name of security, and
how we can promote a truly peaceful world,” says Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, Executive Director of CWGL, which is coordinating the 16 Days Campaign at Rutgers.

Violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 to 44 as cancer, says the 16 Days Campaign office at Rutgers, and its toll on women’s health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.

This year’s events include a dynamic global mix of agencies and non-governmental organizations who are going to engage in dialogue that is set to challenge government policy in law, arms trade and legislation, as well as militarism and its impacts on gender-based-violence. Regions that will be part of the global push to stop violence against women will include Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho, as well as other countries as a special emphasis on violence prevention is made.

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a training seminar for over 1,000 women is also happening, along with cultural festivals, murals, and student programs on gender-based violence and reproductive health. At the University of Verona (Italy), as well as the Tbilisi State University Georgia, conferences will be held covering the politics of sexuality and the state of war and peace. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership, which works to facilitate women’s leadership toward human rights and social justice worldwide, will also host a new blog which will be exploring gender-based-violence and militarism.

Since 1991 from Angola to Japan, the annual 16 Days Campaign has mobilized more than 4,100 organizations in 172 countries to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of the multiple forms of violence women face.


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