IWTC Women's GlobalNet #312
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide
December 5, 2006
By Sofia Binioris, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Sylvia Braun and Lilla Osztrovszki
MARKING 16 YEARS OF 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE
Nov 25 to Dec 10, 2006
The theme for the 16th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign is “Celebrate 16 Years of 16 Days: Advance Human Rights -- End Violence Against Women.” Originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute that was sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991, this annual campaign begins on the International Day Against Violence Against Women (Nov 25) and ends on International Human Rights Day (Dec 10) to form a symbolic link between violence against women and human rights. This 16-day period includes other significant dates, such as International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (Nov 29), World AIDS Day (Dec 1) and the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (Dec 6). Since its inception in 1991, some 1,700 organizations in 130 countries have organized during these 16 days to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
For more information, visit: http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/about.html
UN SUPPORTS 16 DAYS CAMPAIGN
In his message for the International Day Against Violence Against Women, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan observed, “Violence against women causes untold misery, harms families across generations, and impoverishes communities. It stops women from fulfilling their potential, restricts economic growth, and undermines development. When it comes to violence against women, there are no civilized societies… Together, we must work to create an environment where violence against women is not tolerated… On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let all of us – men and women alike – join forces in this mission.” This statement from Secretary-General Annan also follows two important recent reports issued by the UN regarding violence against women and children. As reported on in GlobalNet 310, the Secretary General’s “In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence Against Women,” which was released only a few weeks ago, was the first of its kind to be emerge from such a high level within the UN. Similarly, the recent “Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations Study on Violence Against Children,” also a first-of-its-kind in its direct engagement with children, focused significantly on violence against the girl child.
The UN, through a number of its agencies including UNFPA and UNHCR, is organizing events for the 16-days under the theme of Gender-Based Violence. Activities organized to highlight under-reported issues include bride-napping, breast-ironing, the epidemic of traumatic fistula (tearing of the tissues between the birth canal from the bowel and/or the bladder often caused by gang rape), ongoing femicide, and child marriage. Other events will focus on the continued plight of women migrants.
For a copy of Kofi Annan’s full message, visit: www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sgsm10738.doc.htm
For more information on UN events, visit:
Also, the upcoming GlobalNet will include listings of UN and UN-related events.
GLOBAL INITIATIVES DURING THE 16 DAYS CAMPAIGN
Amnesty International’s “Shelter Stories”
Drawing attention to the statistic that “at least 1 in 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime,” Amnesty International has launched a project to enable individual action against domestic violence during the 16 Days Campaign. The Shelter Stories project kicked off on Amnesty’s website on Nov 25 and will feature shelters for domestic violence survivors from a different country on each day of the campaign. Visitors to the website will be urged to “tell the world about this human rights scandal and make governments act on their obligations to women” by writing letters on behalf of shelters in France, Paraguay, Georgia, Mongolia, Russia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Bahrain, Belgium, Venezuela, Denmark, Gulf of Cooperation Council, Turkey, USA, and Pakistan.
“Take Back the Tech” Campaign
The Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Program has launched a three-year “Take Back the Tech” campaign to promote the creative use of all forms of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) for activism against Violence Against Women (VAW). The first leg of the campaign is taking place during the ongoing 16 Days campaign and will include all online technologies that are used for emailing, chatting, blogging, developing websites and tools.
One way to participate is to craft a ‘postcard’ describing how ICTs and VAW connect in one’s own experience. The postcards should include the statement: If I had…” (use or control over a certain kind of ICT), “I could…” (do something concrete about your experience of violence against women). Examples: (1) “If I had a phone, I could call someone when he hits my mother;” (2) “If I had knowledge on how to track online users, I could find out who has been harassing me on these forums;” (3) “If I had a video camera, I could make erotica for women instead.” Postcards can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be featured on the website.
Organizations interested in participating in the campaign can (1) Carry the campaign logo on their website linking to www.takebackthetech.net; (2) Translate the call into local languages and disseminate it to their networks; (3) Ask other organizations to sign on to the campaign; and (4) Send the call out to other networks/ individuals.
For more information, visit: www.takebackthetech.net
REGIONAL INITIATIVES DURING THE 16 DAYS CAMPAIGN
ASIA and ASIA PACIFIC
Fiji – FemLINKpacific
FemLINKpacific is dedicating much of its media and radio work during the 16 Days Campaign to the theme of violence against women. Its Young Women’s Weekend Radio Broadcasts is featuring special segments on this topic over Dec 2 and 3, while FemLINK will broadcast from the office of the Fiji Disabled People’s Association (FDPA), an organization that advocates for the use of appropriate and accessible ICTs. Two visually impaired community radio volunteers from the FDPA women’s committee will co-host a broadcast about the double discrimination faced by women with disabilities. FemLINK will also produce two policy-based segments, featuring women’s advocate Angie Chand, on Fiji’s National Policy on Disability and the issue of e-accessibility. On Nov 30, FemLINK hosted a peace vigil where messages from women were recorded for the following weekend’s broadcast (Dec 9 and 10) when FemLINK also plans to record and broadcast messages of solidarity from the NGO Coalition on Human Rights Network.
For more information, visit: http://www.womensmediapool.org/grupos/femlink.htm
Sri Lanka – Walk to Commemorate the 16 Days of Activism
The United Nations Population Fund’s Gender-Based Violence Forum organized a walk to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism. The walk was led by national figures such as cricket champions Kumar Sangakkara and Harshan Tillekeratne, among others. A series of speakers addressed the audience concerning violence against women.
Southern Caucasus – Women’s Resource Centres
Market squares and streets in the Southern Caucasus were decked in red and white on Nov 25 as women from all countries in the region joined forces against violence and for peace. “We will be handing out red and white ribbons to people on the street and marching to the foreign office to hand over our open letter demanding women be included in the deadlocked peace talks. We will dress ourselves, doors and trees in red and white – the symbols of violence and peace – and demand women’s participation,” said Lara Aharonian, a member at the Women’s Resource Centre in Jerevan and one of the event organizers. Go to: www.iktk.se:16080/english/news/2006/061124_cauc.htm
Lebanon - KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation
“KAFA (enough) Violence and Exploitation” will take part in the campaign for its second year by continuing its “Silent Witness Exhibition” caravan, an exhibition of 30 wooden silhouettes of 30 women who were killed in Lebanon as a result of domestic violence or “Honor Killings.” The caravan will travel to 4 community centres affiliated to the Ministry of Social Affairs in different Lebanese areas. Each centre will host the Silent Witness exhibition for 4-5 days, hold local community debates on the issue of violence against women, and present a film documenting the exhibition’s tour throughout Lebanon since it began.
For more information, visit: www.kafa.org.lb/advoc1.html
Southern Africa – Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA)
In addition to coordinating activities around the 16 Days Campaign in 13 Southern African countries, GEMSA will also conduct several cyber-dialogues to generate participation and awareness on this topic. Themes for the cyber-dialogues include –
Dec 6: The role of men and boys; Dec 7: Gender Violence in Schools; Dec 8: Survivors Speak out in Mauritius (in Creole and French). All dialogues will be held between 1 pm and 2 pm South Africa time. Contact email@example.com , call +27 11 6222877, or visit http://www.gemsa.org.za/page.php?p_id=1
Southern Africa – GenderLinks
GenderLinks is running a series of “I” stories, or first-hand accounts, as well as expert pieces on different themes on gender violence as they relate to local and regional realities. Themes include: Media – Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution; Do Laws Make a Difference?; International Day Against Violence Against Women; Gender Violence and Sexual Orientation; Gender Violence and Children; Trafficking; ICTs/Cyber Dialogues; World AIDS Day; International Day of the Disabled; Men as Partners; and Gender Violence in Schools. Other activities include forums, debates, a Take Back the Night march, website commentaries, conferences, and cyber-dialogues.
Find a schedule on their website: http://www.genderlinks.org.za/page.php?p_id=1
Contact Loveness Jambaya at firstname.lastname@example.org or 011-622-2877.
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Colombia – UNIFEM and Mesa de Genero, SNU
UNIFEM has organized a presentation of the Secretary General’s “In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence Against Women” and a UNIFEM report entitled, “Situation of Women in Colombia” to be held in Bogota on December 5, in collaboration with the Mesa de Genero, SNU. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Haiti – Dwa Fanm
This Haitian women’s rights organization committed to empowering women and young girls will hold a series of events during the campaign. Each day, between Nov 25 and Dec 10, Dwa Fanm will feature a name and a photo of a woman or a man who has shown courage in denouncing violence against women. Other events include an interactive radio show that will feature specific steps the community can take to end violence against women. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dwafanm.org
Germany – Terre de Femme
Terre de Femmes has launched a two-year campaign entitled “Frauen schlaegt Mann nicht” (roughly “Man Does not Beat Women) on Nov 25. One element of this campaign was a musical theatre production on the theme of the 16 days, performed by young people, and broadcast on Main, Frankfurt’s AM radio station. Terre de Femmes will also re-hoist the flags that were first raised in 2001 to demonstrate solidarity with victims of violence against women. Flag-raising is a recognized symbol in Germany and in German-speaking countries, and a number of women’s organizations will do the same in their cities. Terre de Femme will also introduce the slogan “Gewalt kommt nicht in die Tuete,” roughly “Violence isn’t to be put in a paper bag” and idiomatically “That’s out of the question.” The slogan will be printed on paper bags of bakeries in Berlin, in both German and Turkish, in an effort to further publicize the campaign.
For more information, visit: www.frauenrechte.de
Armenia – International Conference on Domestic Violence
The Women’s Rights Centre in Armenia and the Secretariat of the International Consortium for Domestic Violence will hold the Second International Conference on Domestic Violence in Yerevan, Armenia, on December 4-6, 2006. Representatives of Eastern European, the CIS and Western European countries and the USA are encouraged to participate in the conference. Contact: email@example.com.
Hungary – Amnesty International
Amnesty International Hungary and NANE (Women for Women Against Violence) are organizing a silent witness exhibition to promote peace, healing and responsibility in relationships in order to eliminate domestic violence that leads to murder. The goals of the exhibit are to remember women who have been killed through domestic violence, to raise awareness about the global reach of domestic violence, to connect people with successful programs, and to contribute and collect data and statistics marking successes in the campaign against domestic violence. The exhibit features life-size, red, wooden figures of murdered women with breastplate shields that contain each woman’s name and story. A series of protest rallies will also be held, including - Nov 28: Protest for Iranian women suspected for allegedly being unfaithful and sentenced to execution by stoning; Dec 1: Protest for women in Afghanistan; Dec 8: Protest for women in Russia; and Dec 10 – Protest for women in Sudan. Visit: www.amnesty.hu or www.nane.hu