16 Days of Activism should be 365 Days of Activism

You are never restricted to make an impact in society. Use everyday as an opportunity to make a difference.

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Every year, from the 25th November to the 10th December is the annual 16 Days of Activism where organisations, leaders and individuals worldwide make an active effort to raise awareness about abuse and violence against women, children and non-binaries. This is an important time considering that we live in a patriarchal society and various problematic leaders, individuals and governments continue to perpetuate and endorse a sexist, misogynistic decisions and initiatives in society.

If we look at the worldwide statistics of abuse against women, children and non-binaries, one can only express complete disgust, sadness or despair. According to Child Help, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds on a global scale. When it comes to the abuse of women, UN Women reported that at least 70% of women have faced at least one account or form of violence or abuse in their lifetime. In addition to this, sexual violence is extremely high and rape continues to plague our society. Sadly, there has not been a proper survey regarding the worldwide statistics of non-binary individuals. However, in the LGBTQ+ statistics, queer bodies face high levels of violence and abuse in many countries. The concerning part about all of this is that this data is collected from reports which means that all cases of violence and abuse that have not been reported are not included in these data pools. Thus, we have an even worse crisis to deal with.

It is vital that we look at these statistics and acknowledge the fact that the issues were are dealing with are injustices involving people and not numbers. We have to take action and make a difference in whatever way possible. Although the 16 Days of Activism is a just and honorable step to bringing about change, we should not be limited to 16 days only. Instead, we should treat everyday as an opportunity to make a difference. Use the 16 Days of Activism as a stepping stone to launching your activism for change. Join organisations that seek to aid and assist abused individuals, seek justice for those who have been abused, and seek to empower all victims and marginalized groups in society who often do not have voices in many spaces. For example, UNICEF is currently running an #EndViolence campaign that raises awareness about violence against children and seeks to aid and empower them too.

An important aspect of activism, which should never be ignored, is to be an intersectional activist. By this, I mean acknowledging that various individuals and groups suffer from many forms of marginalization, oppression and discrimination in society. Many black queer women face violence and abuse in a society that is dominated by white, heterosexual men. Thus, it is paramount to acknowledge and identify the intersectionality that comes in when it comes to dealing with violence, abuse, inequality and injustice because at the end of the day, we need to ensure that spaces and society are not dominated by one particular group. Moreover, we need to ensure that awareness and education are spread to the masses and humanity is eventually restored to a society that continues to be divided on the lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity.

Use these next 16 days to spread awareness and see what you can do in your local communities to make a difference. Every single contribution counts and can play a role in changing our problematic society into one that unifies and empowers us. Change starts with you.

Written by

Luke Waltham is a BA Law Graduate. He is a BA Honours student and has been an activist for transformation, social justice and human rights. #BTSARMY

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