16 days of activism against gender based violence

Think of three girls in your life - it could be your daughter, your friend, a little girl who sits near you on the train. Statistically, one of these girls will experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The outrage you feel inside is justified. That statistic is unacceptable. We must change it. And we will.

From 25 November to 10 December we’re joining with organisations around the world to demand an end to violence against women and girls.

It’s easy to feel powerless as individuals to stop the horrors faced by many girls and women, particularly when it comes to violence and abuse - but 16 Days of Activism is a way to take some small steps towards change.

Join us by taking one action each day to call out the gender inequality that underpins violence and abuse. The actions themselves are small, they might take a couple of minutes out of your day. But by joining thousands across the globe - they can mean real, life-saving change for women and girls.

Violence happens when someone believes they have the right to have control or power over another person. This power imbalance leads to a continuum of negative outcomes from rape as an act of war, forced marriage and sustained physical abuse at one end to everyday sexism - the kind of sexism that sees women still paid less than men, girls and young women avoiding going out after dark, girls and young women experiencing online harassment - at the other.

While clear cut cases of abuse are rightly rejected in the minds of most Australians, sexist attitudes and stereotypes that reinforce inequality remain a pervasive part of our culture.

Some people are quick to dismiss the connection between everyday sexism and violence against women and girls. Yet the ‘little things’ add up to a dangerous culture where both men and women believe men have power over women.

Right now, every day sexism is a cultural habit. But the good thing about habits is that they can be broken.

Our research with Our Watch, Australia’s peak body for ending violence against women and their children, shows how everyone has a role to play in tackling the problem:

  • Young women should be consulted so their opinions and ideas are heard by those with the power to make change
  • Young people must be supported to address online bullying and harassment
  • The media needs to get better at reporting violence against women and girls and challenge the culture of victim blaming
  • Schools and the government need to ensure respectful relationships are included in all curriculums
  • Everyone needs to call out unacceptable behaviour when they see it

With 16 days of activism based on these five recommendations we can bring gender equality into our conversations, our social media feeds, our schools, our media and change the norm to one where women and girls can feel safe, heard and valued.

Over 16 days we are asking supporters to take action, one for each day, to help stop beliefs and behaviours that ignore, excuse, justify and condone violence. Here’s a full list of the actions we will be asking supporters to take:

Date Action
Friday 25 November Tell your friends you’re taking part in 16 Days by sharing a special Facebook post
Saturday 26 November Join the conversation on twitter using the hashtags #16days #Becauseiamagirl
Sunday 27 November Share an infographic on Facebook to start a conversations about solutions to ending violence against women and girls
Monday 28 November Ask a friend “what is one attitude or stereotype about girls you would change if you could?”
Tuesday 29 November Ever heard someone say “women don’t make good music”? Let us prove that stereotype wrong - listen to this playlist of ace women musos.
Wednesday 30 November Write a letter to a child in your life (your own or a friend’s) and tell them how you’d like to see the world changed for the better when they grow up.
Thursday 1 December Support journalists who are responsibly reporting violence against women and girls by following them on twitter or sharing their best articles.
Friday 2 December Help make public spaces safer for women and girls by photographing a place you feel particularly safe and welcome and sharing it on social media with the hashtags #16Days #SaferCities
Saturday 3 December In Melbourne? Help shape the city for women and girls by adding to our Free to Be map and be heard by those who can make a difference.

Not in Melbourne? Tell us how you’d make your city more inclusive and welcoming to girls - email holly.crocket@plan.org.au
Sunday 4 December Ask a young woman to tell you about her experience of street harassment - how did it make her feel?
Monday 5 December Watch a video about how to end violence against women and girls.
Tuesday 6 December Ask a man or boy in your life what stereotype or attitude about men and boys they’d like to change.
Wednesday 7 December Send an email to your MP asking them to update you on how respectful relationship education is being included in the curriculum where you live.
Thursday 8 December Get inspired by reading about some fantastic initiatives happening around the world to end violence against women and girls.
Friday 9 December Watch a movie that celebrates solidarity and friendship (and passes the Bechdel test).
Saturday 10 December Thank your friends on social media for going on the 16 days of activism journey with you.

It’s the little things that can make a difference. So for 16 days we’re asking you to help us take little actions to make big change.

Related Stories