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16 days of inspiring activism

SARSAS CEO, Claire Bloor, reflects on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

As we embark on another 16 Days, I find myself reflecting on the significance of this yearly campaign. For me, as CEO of a charity whose vision is a world without gender-based violence, the 16 Days are not just a campaign; they represent a call to action, a rallying cry for change and an opportunity to consider where we are now.

The figures around gender-based violence are stark. 1 in 4 women (and 1 in 18 men) in England and Wales have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult. Globally, almost 1 in 3 women have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence.

Violence against women and gender-based violence is a pervasive issue with a devastating impact, affecting millions of lives, both in the UK, and worldwide. It is a violation of basic human rights and a barrier to achieving true equality.

The 16 Days of Activism is an opportunity to shine a light on the urgency of addressing gender-based violence and amplify the voices of those who have been silenced.

This year, we are focusing on different ways to be an activist, acknowledging that activism can take various forms, each powerful in its own right. Activism is not limited to protests and marches; it can manifest through art, education, storytelling, community engagement or even self-care.

By highlighting the alternative avenues for activism, we hope to inspire more people to become advocates for change and recognise that every small act which contributes to the healing journey is a form of activism.

One of the highlights of our campaign this year is a spotlight on victim-survivor activists who have used their experiences to become advocates, speaking out against gender-based violence and inspiring others to do the same.

Amplifying and celebrating the voices of victim-survivors remains at the heart of our focus at SARSAS. We are so proud to be part of ‘Upfront Survivors’, an amazing project, which stands as a testament to the importance of victim-survivor activism through creativity, community-building and leadership. The project is led by Viv Gordon, herself an incredible survivor-activist, who is blazing a trail in this space.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence reminds us that change is possible and starts with us. If we come together as a community, acknowledging the strength within each of us to make a difference, whether through art, education, or other forms of activism, we can look forward, with hope, to a world where everyone can live free from abuse and its impacts.

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