By Ruchika Rawat
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from 25 November through 10 December, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry. Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day. Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence.
At the heart of this year’s theme, “Leave No One Behind – End Violence against Women”, for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and UNiTE Campaign’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women. (25 November – 10 December), is the imperative to support those who are particularly vulnerable. The UNiTE Campaign is calling on everyone to join the movement to end violence against women, using the colour orange to make your action visible.
One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime—that is one too many. It happens in every country and every society. It happens at home, in schools, on the streets, at work, on the internet and in refugee camps. It happens during war, and even in the absence of war. Too often, it is normalized and goes unpunished.
No matter where violence against women happens, what form it takes, and whom it impacts, it must be stopped. The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals—to leave no one behind—cannot be fulfilled without ending violence against women.
In Melbourne, we started with a “Picnic for Peace” to launch the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.Hosted by Kerry Gardner and Andrew Myer, we enjoyed a lovely day out with a beautiful picnic lunch on the stunning grounds of the ‘Cranlana’ Estate formerly Myer Mansion at Toorak. It was a great opportunity to discussabout supporting the protection and empowerment of the world’s women and girls.This is a time to galvanise action to stop violence before it starts, and to protect and empower women and girls so that they can be safe and realise their full potential.
Funds raised from the picnic will support UN Women Papua New Guinea’s violence prevention, education and awareness program, #SanapWantaim – meaning ‘Stand Together’. It is a youth-led initiative rallying men and boys to stand side by side with women and girls as partners and allies with the goal of creating a brighter future for women and girls in Port Moresby: a future free of violence, with equal opportunities to be safe, to lead and to learn.
(Ruchika Rawat is a Member UN Women National Committee Australia and Founder and Owner of Roo and Joey).