Copenhagen, 22 November 2018 — Global movements such as “#MeToo”, “#TimesUp”, “#BalanceTonPorc”, “#NiUnaMenos”, “#HollaBack!” and “#TotalShutdown” and corporate walk-outs in recent times have exposed the magnitude of violence against women and girls and how often it is normalized. While research shows that violence against women and girls affects one in three women worldwide and that no country is immune to this pandemic, instead of holding perpetrators accountable, women and girls who experience violence are often blamed and their testimonies systematically put in doubt.
This year’s United Nations theme for the campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) “Orange the World: #HearMeToo” aims to support women and girls around the world who are coming together in a global movement of solidarity against the historic power imbalances in which sexual harassment and other forms of violence are so deeply rooted.
The theme calls to honour and further amplify these voices, to listen to and believe survivors, to end the culture of silencing and impunity, and to put survivors at the centre of the conversation and response. It aims to broaden the global conversation and highlight the voices and activism of all survivors of violence and advocates around the world—many of whom are often missing from the media headlines and social media discussions.
“The fear of reprisals, of not being believed, and the stigma borne by the survivor—not the perpetrator—have silenced the voices of millions of survivors of violence and masked the true extent of women’s continued horrific experiences,” said UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “In the recent past, however, grassroots activists, survivors, and global movements have converted isolation into global sisterhood. They are exposing the prevalence of violence from high office to factory floor and making offenders accountable.” Read the full statement.
Around the world, the 16 Days of Activism will be a rallying moment to bring together governments, communities, survivors, activists and the public to raise awareness on the urgent need to end violence against women and girls through high-profile events, rallies, and campaigns. In over 70 events including in schools and universities in Malawi and Barbados, public transportation hubs in El Salvador, Vanuatu, and The Philippines, soccer matches in Egypt, global citizens will stand in solidarity with survivors, advocates, the women’s movement and women’s human rights defenders around the world, many facing increased pushback and attacks with a shrinking civic space.
To draw global attention, iconic buildings and monuments will be lit up in orange, the official colour of the UNiTE campaign, symbolizing hope and a violence-free world. The National Assembly in Nigeria, the Place de l’Obélisque in Senegal, the Parliament in Morocco, the Panama Canal Administration Buildings, Brazil’s National Congress and Christ the Redeemer, Baiterek and the Pyramid in Astana, Kazakhstan, the EU Building in Lao PDR, and the President’s office and seven Parliamentarian buildings in Nepal will display orange on the Day.
Through several strategic initiatives, UN Women is at the forefront of efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, from the 500-million-Euro EU-UN Spotlight initiative, working alongside UN partners, which is the largest ever single investment in the elimination of violence against women and girls worldwide, to the work on Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces in 35 countries.
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman will join the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the only global multilateral mechanism addressing the pandemic, for a fundraising luncheon in Los Angeles, California, on 10 December, Human Rights Day, to close the 16 Days of Activism. The event will bring together the corporate sector, concerned individuals, and the United Nations in raising funds to end this human rights violation worldwide.
With more than 460 projects in 139 countries and territories over the past two decades, the UN Trust Fund has supported life-changing initiatives on preventing violence, implementing laws and policies and improving access to vital services for survivors for millions of women and girls worldwide. Last year alone, the UN Trust Fund reached over 6 million individuals.
To mark the campaign in Copenhagen, UN Women is setting up an exhibition in UN City on gender-based violence. The exhibition showcases with statistics and figures how shockingly commonplace gender-based violence is in all societies around the world. In line with the theme #HearMeToo, the exhibition also highlights the painful experiences of survivors. By scanning QR codes includes in the infographics on display, staff members and visitors to the UN City can access stories told by victims of gender-based violence. UN Women will also take the campaign to the streets of Copenhagen. The agency will be present at Rådhuspladsen on Human Rights Day on the 10th of December, the final day of the campaign, to share information and to discuss the issue with the public. Parts of the UN City exhibition will also be on display at Rådhuspladsen.
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Spread the word on all social media platforms using the hashtags #HearMeToo, #orangetheworld and #16days, and follow the conversation @unwomennordic and @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter.
See new stories, videos and more at http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women