International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2023

27 November 2023|Dee Dungy

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10th December, Human Rights Day.

A woman’s right to live free from violence is upheld by international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted at the UN in 1995, is an agenda for women’s empowerment. It aims at removing all the obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life by ensuring women a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural, and political decision-making.

The World Health Organization (WHO) found that a massive 30% of women in the world experience physical and, or sexual violence from an intimate partner, with rates as high as 66% in central sub-Saharan Africa, 42% in western sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, and 35% in northern Africa and the Middle East. The rate of partner violence dwarfs the number of women who experience sexual assault from a stranger by 7%.

Finding the most effective approach to engage with victims of domestic abuse is a big issue, especially in disadvantaged populations. While numerous attempts have been made to reduce the frequency and severity of domestic violence, the cost of IPV often exceeds spending on primary education and healthcare costs associated with this epidemic, according to the W.H.O. Substantial work must be achieved to break the cycles of abuse. Women need crucial support systems and portals to programs that include preventive and concrete solutions.  

Access to Mental Health Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), education, economic rights, and justice is crucial for women and girls to escape various forms of violence and poverty. Providing MHPSS can help mitigate the impact of traumatic events and empower women and girls with effective coping strategies, leading to improved educational outcomes. By doing so, women and girls will receive the necessary support to navigate the challenges of their lives and overcome the effects of their past experiences. These programs need to be culturally sensitive, gender-responsive, and patient-centered, ensuring that the needs of survivors are treated with empathy, respect, and dignity. By providing comprehensive MHPSS services, institutions, and organizations can help survivors of violence to heal, recover, and rebuild their lives.

Simultaneously, governments, institutions, and communities must acknowledge the intersectionality of economic rights and lead in a strategic direction that promotes financial access and resources for women. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to resources necessary to meet their basic needs, participate in the workforce, and maintain their dignity.

Comparatively, women’s participation in the labor market enhances social welfare, promoting community and cooperation. Social welfare and cohesion are promoted by women participating in the dignity of work and sharing in the prosperity as principled equals. Women need access to social services and financial resources to meet their needs and the needs of others.

It is crucial to recognize and address social structures that maintain male privilege. These structures should be challenged and dismantled through policies, education, and cultural shifts. The goal of achieving gender equality in all aspects of life is to create a fair and just society where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed.

In the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we are reminded of the importance of raising awareness about violence against women (VAW) and working together to end it. Although the issue of VAW affects individuals in all communities around the world, we have the power to make a difference and create positive change. 

Read suggestions from JRS’ EAR staff on ways to inspire action and encourage communities closer to the goal of creating positive change. By coming together and taking small steps each day, we can work towards a brighter future where gender-based violence is no longer tolerated.

  • Thank a woman in your life for supporting you.
  • Let a woman who inspires you know.
  • Share a fact about VAW on social media!
  • Empower trust in your wife or daughter by encouraging her to take driving lessons – be a compassionate passenger and pay for petrol!
  • Prepare my wife’s favorite dish, clean dishes, and take care of our children several days throughout the week.
  • Bring her tea the way she likes it.
  • Ask her about her day and ask her to take a stroll with me.
  • Do More: Talk about the signs of an unhealthy relationship; Seek help!
  • Engage in conversations about consent and respect her choice.
  • Support women’s sports.
  • Share in the community how ending femicide can improve communities.
  • Share in church groups and my community the devastation of early marriages for young girls.