16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera. Rwanda.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera. Rwanda.

“Please just cut to the chase! What do I need to know?” my son Jack asked.

As the mother of a 13-year-old boy, I’m witnessing firsthand how Jack and his buddies are adopting cultural male norms that neither one of us fully understands or endorses.

I’m also dealing with my own emotional dichotomy. Since my teens I’ve worked fervently to support women and girls equality, while more recently I find myself sympathizing with my son’s feelings: being left out of the conversation when it is focused solely on giving girls support. Imagine my surprise when said son (Jack) asked me about the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign.

This was a teachable moment that I knew I had to seize.

You need to know some numbers, I said, how widespread the problem is, and why this campaign matters:

Say No to Violence Against Women: http://saynotoviolence.org/Say No to Violence Against Women: http://saynotoviolence.org/

saynotoviolence.org

Human rights, solidarity, awareness, strength, and resilience. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think about the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign (16 Days campaign).

Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of gender violence reaching 70% in some countries. Behind the numbers are the faces of women and girls whose lives are interrupted, their potential undermined, and their future compromised because of violence.

Started 21 years ago through the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, the 16 Days campaign spans from November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through today, December 10, International Human Rights Day.

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