Every year, we at The Pixel Project come across a wide variety of innovative and powerful campaigns tackling Violence Against Women (VAW) by our fellow activists and non-profits from around the globe, and 2016 is no exception. From using tattoos to reclaiming public spaces through bike-riding, activists and campaigners all around the world have had an extraordinarily busy year.
We acknowledge that anti-VAW campaigners put themselves in perilous situations to advocate for the safety of others and we are immeasurably grateful for their bravery. From women marching the streets to women combating harassment online, each and every action, large or small, counts.
So today, in honour of all VAW activists, nonprofits and grassroots groups who toil in such thankless situations to bring about positive change to the lives of women and girls facing violence, we present 16 of the most striking campaigns/programmes we have come across in the last year of our work.
What these campaigns have in common are:
- The built-in “water-cooler” factor that gets the community buzzing about the campaign and by extension, the issue of VAW.
- A good sense of what works in and for the culture and community where the activist/nonprofit/grassroots group is trying to effect change.
We hope that these campaigns and initiatives inspire you to take action and get on board the cause to end VAW.
It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.
Written and compiled by Rubina Singh. Additional content by Regina Yau
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #1: Brides do Good – Worldwide
Launched on International Day of the Girl Child this year by Chantal Khoueiry, Brides Do Good is a social enterprise and campaign with the aim of ending child marriage. In partnership with Plan International and Too Young to Wed, Brides Do Good provides a platform for women to sell their expensive bridal gowns and one-third of the profits are donated to charities working to end child marriage.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #2: #Everywoman – The Philippines
Using the hashtag #EveryWoman, women across the Philippines came together against slut-shaming and VAW in the country. An alleged sex tape of Senator Leila de Lima was made public leading to outrage against the video being used to shame her as a form of violence against women.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #3: Fancy Women on Bikes – Turkey
“Fancy Women On Bikes” is a national women’s movement in Turkey that is moving to reclaim public spaces for women through bike rides in groups. Founder Sema Gur used social media to mobilise her friends to cycle with her so as to raise awareness about the issues women experience in the streets and traffic. And so the Fancy Women on Bikes movement was born with clear and precise message: “We should go wherever we want, dress however we like, be visible, yet not be disturbed.”
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #4: Girls at Dhabas – Pakistan
Girls at Dhabas started in 2015 as an Instagram post by Sadia Khatri and developed into a movement to reclaim public spaces in Pakistan this year. Dhabas are small, open air restaurants found in South Asia where women are rarely seen alone. In their effort to increase women’s public participation, the movement encourages women to reclaim public spaces like dhabas.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #5: Give The Red Card – Pacific Islands
Launched on 10 November 2016, the Give The Red Card campaign is an effort by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and UNICEF to engage with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup teams to galvanise sporting champions who will stand together and speak out against VAW. Under this campaign, participating countries and football teams will engage with a celebrity male football player in their home country to stand with the team and help to advocate against VAW in their communities.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #6: “I’ll Never Be Silent” – Brazil
VAW is rampant across Latin America, with some of the worst cases taking place in Brazil. Triggered by the gang-rape of a 16 year old girl in April 2016, activist group Rio de Paz protested against VAW by showcasing photographs by photographer Marcio Freitas themed ‘I’ll Never Be Silent’ along with 420 pairs of underwear on Copacabana Beach. The number of underwear represents the number of women who are raped every 72 hours in Brazil.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #7: “Men wear Mini-skirts” March – The Netherlands
To protest against the violence against women in Cologne, Germany in January 2016, men gathered in Amsterdam wearing miniskirts. The protest was in response to comments blaming the assault on the women’s attire rather than addressing the behavior of the perpetrators.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #8: #MoreThanMean – United States of America
#MoreThanMean is a video and podcast to raise awareness about the harassment faced by women in sports. The video shows men reading some of the ‘mean tweets’ targeted at female sports journalists including rape and death threats. The men cringe as they read out these tweets to the journalists sitting in front of them. The underlying theme of the video is to showcase how these tweets are more than just ‘mean tweets’ and are actually abuse.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #9: #NeinHeisstNein (No Means No) – Germany
This year, a ‘No means No’ law was passed by Germany to address gaps in the law regarding violence against women in the country. Along with many protests and campaigns for years, the move was preceded by a campaign by UN Women Germany and activist Kristina Lunz using the hashtag #NeinHeisstNein (No means no).
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #10: #NotOkay – Worldwide
Following disturbing comments made by Donald Trump, President-Elect of the USA, Canadian author Kelly Oxford decided it was #NotOkay. She started tweeting stories about her own experiences with sexual assault and invited her followers to share more using the hashtag #NotOkay. 27 million tweets later, the hashtag has translated into a symbol for the unacceptability of sexual assault within and outside USA.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #11: Pinjra Tod (Break the Hostel Locks) – India
Women’s hostels and rental accommodations in India are known for stringent curfews and sexist rules like forbidding women from coming in late or staying out at night. Pinjra Tod, literally translates to ‘break the cage’, and that is precisely what this collective of women students, alumni and allies in New Delhi is trying to do. Their tactics range from open discussions to online petitions to graffiti. Along with trying to end sexism in educational institutions, they are also trying to ensure that anti-sexual harassment committees in colleges and universities are active.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #12: Silent Anti-Rape Protests Against President Zuma – South Africa
Four women came together for a silent protest against President Jacob Zuma during his address at the Independent Electoral Commission in Tshwane, South Africa. President Zuma was accused of raping his friend’s daughter, known in the media as Khwezi, in 2005. The charge was dismissed in 2006 amidst protests. The demonstration brought to light the sad state of the South African judicial system when it comes to addressing issues of violence against women.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #13: Stop it at the Start – Australia
Developed by the Australian government, Stop it at the Start is an ad campaign to highlight the need to address violence against women and violent behavior from the beginning. The campaign shows disrespectful behavior between a boy and girl which eventually converts into violent behavior as they age.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #14: Temporary Tattoos – Germany
Sexual assault against young girls in Germany is on the rise. To raise awareness about the issue, Veronika Wascher-Goggerle, the Women’s and Family Representative from Bodensee district in Baden-Wurttemberg has started an awareness campaign with temporary tattoos. Temporary tattoos were distributed to young girls to talk to young girls at swimming pools about sexual assault.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #15: The Pink Ladoo Project – United Kingdom and South Asia
In South Asian communities, ladoos (a traditional sweet) are traditionally distributed on the birth of a male child. Taking into account the sexism and violence against women that starts at birth, Raj Khaira initiated the Pink Ladoo Project to encourage South Asian families to celebrate the birth of a girl child by distributing pink ladoos and to address the gender bias from the start.
Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #16: The Unacceptable Acceptance Letter – United States of America
To address the issue of campus sexual assault in USA, a campaign was developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in collaboration with the production company PRETTYBIRD and the women’s rights advocacy group Ultraviolet. The campaign includes a print ad and six videos of high school students reading out their college acceptance letters, with a twist at the end highlighting the plight of campus sexual assault survivors.