From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence
Since it was first launched in 1991, the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence international campaign has mobilized more than 4,100 organizations in 172 countries, raising awareness and educating the public worldwide about the pervasiveness of gender-based violence. it has intended to a) raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels. b) Strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women by sharing their stories and their strategies. c) Establish links between local and international advocacy to end gender-based violence against women. d) Provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies. e) Demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world working against gender-based violence against women. F) Create tools and information to allow governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women.
The dates 25 November to 10 of December is not a random date but it was chosen because 25 is an international day period that include many significant markers in women’s struggle to eliminate legal, cultural and social violence they continue to face. The most important markers are International Day Against Violence Against Women(25 November), 29 November international women’s human rights Defenders day, December 1, is AID’s day, December 6 is the anniversary of the University of Montreal Massacre where Marc Lepine entered Mechanical engineering classes and separated male and female students and shot women killing 6 of them while stating that he was “fighting feminism”, and finally December 10 (International Rights Day).
WLUML had participated in 16 days of activism from the year it was launched and has hosted a number of transnational actions in connection with the annual 16 Days Campaign against Gender-Based Violence. Indeed a search on its publication indicates the varieties of issues that it had tackled over the years during its 16 Days of Activism. Over the years exposing the ration between militarism and violence against women has been WLUML focus, each year has taken a different approach to its 16 days of activism.
In 2014 to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence WLUML coordinated a blogging series by women activists and hosted it under the ‘Public Square’ Blogspot of the WELDD web portal. This was intended to launch the Blogspot, and to give the young women involved in the WELDD programme (2012-2016) a chance to put out thoughts about their lives, their countries, their work and their ideas into writing. It also amplified their voices amongst an international audience, with bloggers coming from Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sudan, Somalia, and Tunisia.
The blogs were on the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence”, and covered topics from the situation of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Sudan, fieldwork in Indonesia’s conflicted communities, and the impact of military spending on Pakistani society. The blogging series was a success in raising the profile of the blog spot, and in reaching a wider audience of transnational women’s movements. It was also a success in encouraging activists who had never written before to contribute to blogs. Over the 16-day period, we gained reached many more women who also reached out to us through our Facebook and Twitter. This culminated in participating in Twitter Teach-in – a means of spreading awareness on our chosen topic of Culturally-Justified Violence against Women (CVAW). This Teach-In brought many interaction from Twitter users that do not usually engage with conventional women’s organizations, indicating there continues to be many different avenues to raise awareness of various forms of violence against women as a first stage of eliminating this long standing injustice against women and female children.
The campaign was intended to:
a) raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels;
b) strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women by sharing their stories and their strategies;
c) establish links between local and international advocacy to end gender-based violence against women;
d) provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies;
e) demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world working against gender-based violence against women; and
f) create tools and information to allow governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women.
Some of the WLUML network’s 16 Days initiatives include:
- In 2010, national partners of the VNC campaign in Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan and Senegal carried out a series of actions to highlight feminist resistance against CVAW;
- In 2012, the network highlighted 16 blogs and op-eds by and about members who have engaged in urgent activism, including Sudan, Iran, Mali, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt;
- In 2014, WLUML coordinated a blogging series by young women activists in the WELDD ‘Public Square’ platform – writing on the theme, ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence,’ bloggers came from the Philippines, Somalia, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, and Tunisia. WLUML also finished this year’s campaign with a Twitter teach-in on culturally-justified violence against women.