Today is the first day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, kicking off on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that starts every year on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. Individuals and organizations around the world use the 16 days to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Coverage of the shocking murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman and Sabina Nessa has shone a light on how, in 2021, women are still not safe walking on the streets in the UK. We know that women’s safety is not just an issue on the streets. The majority of women who experience rape or sexual abuse are assaulted by someone they know, at home, in the workplace and in our communities.

Research conducted by The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) in 2019 estimates that, of the 773,000 adults aged 16 to 74 who were victims of sexual assault, 80% were female. Over the last year, there has been an 8% increase in recorded sexual offences, with the highest number of recorded rapes ever, according to research by the ONS.

This year, at SARSAS, our theme for the 16 days will be ‘Reclaim’.

  • In a world that objectifies women and girls, it’s time to reclaim our bodies.
  • In a world that’s designed around the needs of men, it’s time to reclaim our right to public spaces.
  • In a world where the voices of women from marginalised communities often go unheard, it’s time to reclaim our right to protest and raise those voices up.

We are calling on all people to join us in reclaiming the right of women and girls, from all walks of life, to live free from sexual violence, on our streets and in our homes!

This evening at 530pm, our awesome CEO, Claire with be in conversation with our patron, Laura Bates live on Instagram. Head to our Instagram page then for the first of our SARSAS Sessions.

We’ll also be hosting a Facebook Live on Tuesday 7 December at 6pm with CEOs from the Bristol Sexual Violence Alliance chatting about how they are marking the 16 days in their organisations and the importance of activism. Head to our Facebook page to watch live.

Up until 10th December, we’ll be posting and sharing different ways that you can take action against gender-based violence, so follow us on our social media channels if you want to get involved in the 16 Days of Activism.