Two Programme Assistants at the Anglican Communion Office at the UN in New York, Rachel Jimenez and Ashley Lopez Olijnyk, on the Orange the World theme of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Sunday 25 November 2018 marked the opening of the annual international campaign for the elimination of violence against women – the 16 Days of Activism.
This year, UN Women is utilising the theme “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”. The colour orange symbolises a brighter future free from gender-based violence, while the hashtag echoes the many voices of women and activists on social media platforms. The trending hashtag campaigns that have flooded social media in recent years such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc, among others, have worked to highlight the struggles women face in terms of sexual, physical, and emotional violence in an effort to lobby policy makers to enact change.
Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, noted in a recent statement that we do not know the full extent of violence against women, as many victims are unable to speak out due to the fear of retaliation or ostracisation. For this reason, the #HearMeToo campaign aims to shed light on the silenced voices of thousands of women around the world.
In realising the voices of women and their stories, we can begin to build a standard of accountability and put an end to violence against women once and for all. Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka also announced this year’s specific objectives, which are to amplify voices of women’s movements all around the world and in different sectors, to advocate for specific changes within diverse institutions, and to call for specific financial commitments from UN Member States to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls.
The United Nations former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, launched in 2008, has been a synergising mechanism to unite the UN, UN Women, and existing international legal and policy frameworks.
The UN will have activities and workshops during the 16 days of activism. Policy makers and all UNiTE partners are encouraged to hold listening events with survivors and activists to create an open space for constructive dialogue.
The Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN) has additionally played an active role in engaging the Anglican community in prayer and action across the globe. To read more about actions taken by Anglicans around the world click here.
The 16 Days of Activism will symbolically end on 10 December: Human Rights Day.