The sixteen days between International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed on November 25th, and Human Rights Day, celebrated on December 10th, are dedicated to campaigning around the world to raise awareness of gender-based violence, and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change against gender-based violence.
“Violence against women transcends borders and cultures: one in three women experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. Unfortunately, these numbers have risen under the COVID-19 pandemic,” said USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa. “USAID’s partners have seen an increase of violence against women and girls as lockdowns disrupt livelihoods and access to affordable food and goods becomes harder.”
USAID has for a long time recognized the importance of addressing the various forms of violence that affect women’s ability to thrive and succeed.
“Under the Trump Administration, USAID has expanded our partnerships with non-governmental organizations, women's groups, private-sector firms, and government institutions to implement effective programs to increase awareness and prevention of the harmful impacts of violence against women,” said Acting Deputy Administrator Barsa.
For example, through U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, programs are working to protect women and girls from violence, exploitation, and abuse in the Agency’s development and humanitarian assistance efforts. Since 2017, USAID has enabled the participation of some 70,000 women in peacebuilding processes, and provided critical care, psychosocial support, legal aid, and economic assistance to over six million survivors of gender-based violence.
But it is a long, uphill battle. That’s because gender-based violence is too often normalized within a given society: the result of community and government failure to recognize and value the human rights of women and girls. That is why calls to action like 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, are so very important to the fight to eliminate gender-based violence. They shine a light on this scourge, and on the policies and practices that allow it to exist.
“We all have a role to play in ending violence against women; mitigating its harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities; and promoting the rights of all individuals,” said Acting Deputy Administrator Barsa.
“During these 16 Days and every day, USAID stands unified in preserving and protecting the dignity of women and girls worldwide.”