16 Days to Make A Difference

By Devon White

Image from flickr.com

This year marked the 20th anniversary of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. This international campaign recognized the time between November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This campaign also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World Aids Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

This year’s 16 Days theme was structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women, which examines the role of militarism as a key component in all types of violence, sexual violence included, “Militarism neither ends nor begins in war zones, nor does it confine itself to the public sphere. The families of militarizes men and women may experience violence in their homes where ‘war crimes’ and armed domestic violence are hidden from public view, and women who serve in the military are just as easily victims of sexual assault by their fellow soldiers” (16 Days). This theme is especially relevant considering recent remarks by a judge, who advocated for “corrective” lesbian rape in the military.

Stories like this and Elizabeth Seeberg’s recent suicide at Notre Dame in the aftermath of a sexual crime necessitates awareness and prevention 365 days a year. We should all make the eradication of domestic violence a priority. Join the Violence Prevention and Response Project and the Women’s Center as we advocate for and remember survivors and victims of gender-based violence and AIDS, while pledging to always be the voice of the voiceless.