November 25 kicked off the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, where people around the world unite to help fight violence against women and girls.
This year we’re celebrating the women and men who are helping to combat this violence, which has sadly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here at Islamic Relief, our theme and message this year is simple: #believeinher. The chances are that you may know a sister, mum, colleague, cousin or friend who is experiencing abuse behind closed doors.
We must acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk about experiencing abuse. Give her time to talk, believe in her and allow her to make her own decisions.
With the ongoing pandemic, things are harder than ever for those struggling at home with an abusive partner.
Covid-19: Exacerbating the challenges faced by women and girls
As is often the case with crises and disasters, women and girls have been hit the hardest by Covid-19. As a result of Covid-related lockdowns and the economic impact of the pandemic, reports of violence against women, particularly domestic violence, have increased in several countries.
Security, health, and money worries create tensions and strains which are accentuated by the cramped and confined living conditions of lockdown. The strict containment measures that apply worldwide have meant that many women and girls are exposed to sexual and partner violence more often than ever before.
Partner violence is on the rise worldwide now that women have been forced to live at home with their attacker.
In the past 12 months, 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 have been victims of sexual and / or physical violence by an intimate partner relationship. This number is set to soar this year as safety, health and money concerns heighten tensions.
To end violence against women, we need to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalise and normalise that violence, and deny women’s right to safety.
Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence. To see violence truly eliminated, the attitudes of men, therefore, need to change.
Shifting these behaviours is hard and slow, and at Islamic Relief we continue to advocate for gender equality and to campaign against gender-based violence, and this means all of us working together to bring about change.
Changing behaviours, creating brighter futures: Our aim at Islamic Relief
The aim of these 16 Days of Activism is to galvanise action that will make transformational change possible.
This includes speaking out on gender-based violence (GBV) and challenging the silence and stigma that have allowed violence against women to exist around the world in our towns, cities, across national borders and continents.
We all have a role to play in creating a culture of respect and taking meaningful action to ensure that violence against women is eradicated from our societies.
Add your voice to the conversation between 25th November and 10th December and share the ways you are being part of the solution to end GBV.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Share this blog: Show your support online to your friends, family and followers
- Take action: Get active throughout these 16 days by following our top tips here
- Be a role model: Speak out against abuse in your community, workplace or home. Stand with those affected, report anything you encounter and talk about the issue!
- If you’re male: it’s all the more important to show that you stand against gender-based violence. Be a loud and proud male ally – just like our colleague Abdulla!
Women and girls deserve better. Let’s take a stand against gender-based violence and work towards a better future for everyone post-Covid.
Join us and share your experiences, views and actions online. Tag us at @IslamicReliefUK (Twitter) and @islamicreliefuk (Instagram) and don’t forget to use the hashtag #16DaysofActivism!