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The 16 Days are upon us again. What 16 Days you ask? Why is it happening again? And why are we talking about it?

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign which begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. It is an opportunity to place focus on the global challenge that is violence against women and girls, which continues to be the most pervasive human rights violation around the world.

Unfortunately, although this was started in 1991 – which may sound recent to some of us but is actually over thirty years ago! – we are still not in a position where this push for women’s rights is no longer needed. In 2021, around 45,000 women and girls around the world were killed by family members, of which 65% were perpetrated by current and former intimate partners (UN Women). And around the world really does mean around the world, with the highest numbers being recorded in Asia, followed by Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceana.

How does your region compare? Even the lowest region had 300 victims of femicide in 2021. That’s 300 too many women whose lives were preventatively and prematurely ended. More than ever, we need to “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls” – the aptly titled theme for 2022.

So come November, and every November, you will see us paint our social media platforms in the colour orange as we join with thousands of others to raise awareness on this important topic. You will hear us speak out about what our projects already seek to do in advancing the human rights and status of women. You will see us look back on past project work, re-sharing relevant information on what was done before, and continuously look forward to upcoming need. And in our respective Soroptimist spheres, we will be having the difficult conversations and promoting discussions with men and women, boys and girls, on how we can drive the societal and policy changes needed to protect ourselves and our sisters.

Written by Candace Maharaj