16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence Campaign
(25th November -10th December)
The right to life, freedom from fear and intimidation, and guaranteeing the dignity of every woman is at the very heart of the principle of human rights. These virtues, which are indispensable for human dignity and well-being, cannot be attained unless the scourge of violence against women is eliminated in every society. Even in the 21st century women in many societies around the world are still plagued by violence and indignity of various kinds. There are social structures, traditional beliefs, and institutional practices that have kept women in a position of subservience and even threat because of their gender. Besides domestic violence in their own homes, women around the world also have had to face violence, threat and intimidation from the state, religious establishments, political systems, caste system, ethnic conflicts, and even from close family members.
In the backdrop of this pressing issue of violence toward women at the global level, the United Nations General Assembly had designated 25 November as the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’. The recognition of this day as world-wide campaign to sensitize and inform people and combat violence against women has important roots in political violence against women when they demand dignity, justice and fairness in a modern state. Particular mention may be made of the Mirabal sisters Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa of the Dominican Republic who were assassinated on 25 November 1960 by the dictator Rafael Trujillo for fighting clandestinely against his regime. The Mirabal sisters, including the fourth sister Dedé, since then have become ‘symbols of both popular and feminist resistance’. In recent years this important day is observed around the world by governments, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations to raise public awareness of violence against women.
Violence towards women in various forms is found in all societies and is sadly found to be culture specific and is significantly shaped by socio-economic conditions, power structures and political systems. Thus keeping in view the prevalence of violence toward women world-wide and the cross-cultural differences, the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’ is observed as a 16 days of activism against gender based violence. For 2019, the 16-days awareness campaign that starts on 25 November and culminates on 10 December – the International Human Rights Day – will endeavour to inform and sensitize citizens on the issue of violence against women grappling the society at the grassroots – in their own homes and communities. The campaign is a world-wide activity, but the focus will be aimed at the grassroots while maintaining a course of action having a global impact and vision yet addressing the local issues and problems. Just as good roads, infrastructures and health facilities are indicators of economic prosperity for a state like Nagaland, the well-being and dignity of women is an indicator of any healthy and progressive society, and therefore the Nagaland State Women Commission is observing the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ along with the global community to raise awareness of violence toward women in all forms. The theme is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape’.