Today is the first day of the annual global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign which originated twenty years ago from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.This 16-day period highlights significant dates including:
- November 25 – International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women
- November 29 – International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
- December 1 – World AIDS Day
- December 6 – The Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
- December 10 – World Human Rights Day
This year, Pixel Project joins more than 3000 of our fellow anti-Violence Against Women (VAW) organisations in over 90 countries in honouring the 16 Days of Activism and observing all the significant dates it encompasses with our “16 for 16” campaign.
The Pixel Project’s “16 for 16” campaign is a brand new annual blogging campaign whereby we will produce and publish an article about for each day of the 16 Days of Activism campaign. Each article takes the form of a list of 16 resources/activities/ideas revolving around a selected VAW theme. Last year, during our pilot test run for this campaign concept, we researched, wrote and published articles ranging from The Beginner’s Guide to 16 Types of Violence Against Women to 16 Ways to Volunteer for the Cause to End Violence Against Women. With the popularity and usefulness of these articles evident in the warm response on Facebook and Twitter, we decided to make this an official and permanent annual campaign.
To kick off the campaign this year, we bring you 16 actionable ideas for our supporters and the global audience to honour today – the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. This significant date originally marked the day that the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic were violently assassinated in 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship (Rafael Trujillo 1930-1961) after repeated incarcerations for opposing Rafael Trujillo. The fourth and youngest Mirabal sister, Dedé (given name Bélgica) was not with the rest of the sisters on that tragic day. She has since dedicated her life to preserving her sisters’ memory. Today, the day is used to pay tribute to the Mirabal sisters, as well as global recognition of gender violence by marking the start of the 16 Days of Activism.
Idea Number 1: Research and Reading. Not familiar with the 16 Days of Activism campaign, any of the significant anti-violence against women dates mentioned above or never heard of the Mirabal sisters? If you are online anyway, start googling and reading to learn more about the significance of these dates, campaigns and activists. We have already included some links in the introduction above to get you off to a good start!
Idea Number 2: Write About It. If you are a blogger or a columnist, learn more about the 16 Days of Activism campaign and/or interview your local anti-VAW activists/groups/organisations and write about it to help raise awareness about VAW and the importance of preventing, stopping and ending all forms of VAW.
Idea Number 3: YouTube It. Not great at writing or no time to write a thoughtful piece? Get your webcam out, record your message calling for an end to VAW and post it on YouTube. Not sure what to say? The Pixel Project’s Wall of Support campaign provides a basic script and useful guidelines for setting up and recording your public service announcement.
Idea Number 4: Photoshop The Message. If you are a graphic designer or even just a whiz at photoshop or any other picture editing software, how about putting those skills to use by choosing an appropriate picture and putting in your message about saying NO to VAW. Some ideas: Turn your photo purple (the colour of the cause to end VAW) and insert your message or choose a peace symbol (a dove, a white poppy, a paper crane) and insert your message.
Idea Number 5: A Picture Paints A Thousand Words. Get a friend to take a picture of yourself holding up a sign with your message saying NO to VAW in honour of International Day for Elimination of VAW. Then share it with your friends on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.
Idea Number 6: Tweet It. If you are on Twitter, use your account to raise awareness that it is the International Day for Elimination of VAW. Your tweet can be a simple reminder of the significance of the date and even include a shortened link to a resource page explaining the day’s significance in full.
Idea Number 7: Make a Volunteer Date. Take the day off to help out at your local battered women’s shelter or rape crisis centre. If you can’t spare a full day, even baking some nice goodies and bringing it to the shelter/crisis centre can help lift the spirits of everyone there from the survivors to the overworked staff.
Idea Number 8: Start a Conversation. Talking about VAW is something that too few of us do, especially with our friends and loved ones. In many cultures, it is viewed as either a taboo subject, a non-subject or a private matter, thus creating a culture of silence in the face of gender-based violence. So take time to talk about it – whether it’s discussing street harassment with your children or students, or bringing it up at the dinner table as a general conversation topic, speak up.
Idea Number 9: Join The Conversation. If you are on Facebook, check out the anti-VAW pages available and join one or two of those whose tone and approach are comfortable for you. Then start joining in the discussions on those pages and/or sharing the links and news posted on their wall.
Idea Number 10: Wear It. Get a t-shirt with an anti-VAW message on it, wear a purple ribbon or even just a purple dress or shirt. You can even tie a purple scarf to your bike if you bike to work. This will help create a conversation-starter so you can tell people it’s the International Day for Elimination of VAW.
Idea Number 11: Start Listening. With 1 in 3 women and girls worldwide experiencing gender-based violence at some point in their lives, chances are we all know somebody who is facing or has faced violence. It could be our mother, our daughter, our friend, our co-worker, our students, our neighbour or any woman/girl we know. If you suspect someone you know is facing violence, start paying attention and listening to them and more importantly – believing what they say. You could prevent a death or maiming or at the very least, help take some of the burden off their hearts.
Idea Number 12: Take Action. Now. If you have been hearing your neighbour beating his wife and kids, make a resolution to call the police the next time it happens and follow through with it. You may never get another chance if things take a tragic turn. If you see your classmates and friends participating in an anti-VAW campaign, start getting off the Apathy Fence, rolling up your sleeves and getting involved.
Idea Number 13: Watch And Learn. Do you have a couple of hours to spare? Rent or stream a movie or documentary about VAW to learn more about the issue. If you can, put on a movie night and get your friends and family to join in the viewing and then have a discussion afterwards. Not sure where to start? Here is The Pixel Project’s selection for 2010 and our 2011 selection will be up soon.
Idea Number 14: Tap Your (Artistic) Talents. Whether you are a painter, a sculpter, a musician/songwriter, a craft worker or a dancer/choreographer, use the campaign and the day as inspiration to create something to speak out against VAW in a positive and uplifting way. Then share it with the world to get the message out!
Idea Number 15: Share A Meal. Food is the great social lubricant in many cultures and communities worldwide. So invite your friends and family over to your house or out to a meal today in honour of the Day for International Elimination of VAW. Use the meal as a vehicle for getting people aware and talking about it civilly and constructively.
Idea Number 16: Make A Donation. Short on time but able to spare a few dollars? Make a donation to your local anti-VAW organisation or a trusted global anti-VAW organisation. Each cent/penny counts as the movement to end VAW is constantly underfunded in comparison with more popular causes such as animal rights, children’s rights and environmental campaigns. Interested in donating to The Pixel Project: You can either donate to help us with our operational expenses via our Razoo page or you can donate to our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which is held in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organisation.