8 Reasons for the U.N.’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
The days should be a nice but ultimately unnecessary symbol. They are not.
We are in the midst of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. It began Nov. 25 — the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women — and will conclude Dec. 10 — Human Rights Day. During these 16 days, the U.N. seeks to “raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change.”
One might hope, in 2016, that gender-based violence would be so stigmatized that this project would be a nice but ultimately unnecessary symbol. Below are eight situations — one for every other day of the U.N.’s days of activism — to suggest this is not yet the case.
- On Monday, Australian aboriginal dancers performed to bring attention to the reality that they are 34 times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than other Australian women.
- On Nov. 23, Moroccan state TV shared “beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life” after domestic violence. The channel has since issued a statement saying that the segment was “completely inappropriate.”
- On Nov. 14, Russian legislators put forth a bill to soften punishment for those who commit domestic violence. According to Russian government statistics, 36,000 women are assaulted by their partners every day.
- In England, a study released earlier this month showed that, by the end of March 2016, almost half of the children documented as needing social services were victims of domestic violence.
- A new Eurobarometer poll found 21 percent of Irish people think sex without consent may be all right, depending on the circumstances. Twenty-five percent of Irish respondents said they know a family member or friend who was the victim of domestic violence.
- In Brazil, a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds, according to the non-profit Mapa de Violencia.
- Last week, federal police in Germany released national data on domestic violence. It showed over 104,000 women in 2015 were victims of domestic violence, including 331 of whom were killed.
- President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be the next attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Trump himself has been known to make the occasional offhanded comment about how women will let famous, powerful men grab them. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this month that Trump’s comments on women could hurt his efforts to curb NFL domestic violence.
At least the United Nations has set aside a little over two weeks for Goodell — and everyone else — to try to do something about it.
Photo credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images