Each year from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10, International Human Rights Day, activists from around the world take action in their own lives and in their communities to end violence against women. These 16 Days also include Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women on December 6, in honour of the 14 young women who were brutally murdered at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal in a shocking act of gender-based violence.
Women and girls disproportionately are the victims of violence, and disabled and Indigenous women are more likely to be victims of violence than their white counterparts. The government of Canada reports that “lesbian and bisexual women are 3.5 times more likely than heterosexual women to report spousal violence. Women with a disability are nearly twice as likely as women without a disability to have been sexually assaulted in the past 12 months. Intimate partner violence and sexual assault cost our country over $12 billion a year. Given these statistics, almost certainly, you know someone in your own life who has been touched and forever changed by this pervasive, yet preventable epidemic.”
This year, the theme for #16Days is #OurActionsMatter. Each of us can join the conversation, question, call out and speak up against acts of gender-based violence. You can do the following at home and in your community to support this initiative.
- Wear purple on November 25 to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
- Add your voice to the growing chorus of survivors, advocates and partners and share what actions you are taking to end gender-based violence using the hashtag #OurActionsMatter.
- Start a conversation with the Government of Canada social media shareables on your networks and channels.
- Become an ally by:
- Listening: be open to learning from the experiences of others
- Believing: support survivors and those affected by violence
- Speaking out: add your voice to call out violence
- Intervening: find a safe way to help when you see acts of gender-based violence
- Acting: give your time to organizations working to end violence
There is also an Educator’s Toolkit that you can use in your classroom or community organization to start a conversation on ending gender-based violence.