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CEASEFIRE NOW! Stop Gun Violence - in our homes, on our streets, and on the battlefields.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Join IANSA in the 16 Days campaign from November 25 - December 10, 2020!

This year’s call for a “Ceasefire” builds on the appeal for a ceasefire in conflicts around the world made by the United Nation’s Secretary-General. It also provides an opportunity to focus on various areas where gender-based violence (GBV) occurs – in homes, in armed violence and in armed conflict where sexual violence is often used as a tactic of war. It also allows for a greater examination of the variety of contexts and ways in which guns are used to perpetrate or facilitate GBV.

GBV involves the use and abuse of power and control over another person and is perpetrated against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. Violence against women and girls is one form of GBV. This useful toolkit by Graduate Women International explains what GBV is and outlines the links between gender-based violence and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There are lots of ways to get involved in this year’s campaign. While COVID-19 has impacted all of us, there are still many activities that can be done. Here are more than 16 ideas on ways to participate in the campaign. Please adapt these depending on where you live, the safety protocols in place and the level of restrictions.

Here's what you can do

Action 1

Support and promote the UN Secretary-General's call for a global ceasefire. A call for a ceasefire was also issued for violence in the home, noting that “for many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest: in their own homes”. COVID-19 has made this situation much worse.

Action 2

Promote gender-responsive small arms controls. Putting the different realities of violence that men, women, girls and boys face at the heart of small arms and light weapons controls will make the measures more effective and just. GBV affects everyone, not only women and girls but also men and boys—who are less likely to report it, talk about it, or receive support for it because of stigmas attached to it. As an example, read about the sexual violence perpetrated against men, boys, and transgender women in Syria here.

Send emails, postcards, and letters to your national authorities demanding change. Create a phone campaign to call officials and demand that national laws on firearms and conventional arms are reviewed to identify gaps and ways to improve small arms control laws and policies that better address the reality of how arms circulate and are used in society. This handbook by Pathfinders provides seven strategies to accelerate action on gender-responsive small arms control.

Action 3

Promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 5 is focused on achieving gender equality. SDG 5.2 sets the goal of ending all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. Circulate this Gender Snapshot 2020 Report and call for your government to enact or implement legislation on GBV.

Action 4

Engage more men and youth in ending GBV! Circulate the IANSA “10 Things Men Can Do to End Violence Against Women” flyer. Join the White Ribbon Campaign, an international campaign that is working to change negative, outdated concepts of manhood. IANSA member Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence, has many useful resources that can be found here, including this report on “Understanding How to Engage Men in Gender Transformative Approaches to End Violence Against Women”.

The UN Beijing Platform for Action (1995) stated the principle of shared power and responsibility and argued that women’s concerns could only be addressed in partnership with men. While most men may never use or condone the use of violence, the simple fact is that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence. Men are also more likely to be victims of gun violence. Men need to be engaged to reduce and prevent gender-based violence.

Action 5

Ask community members to post a “We support Ending Violence Against Women and Girls” sign (option 1 or option 2) in their windows at home, in their shops and businesses. Bringing GBV out into the open and part of the public dialogue is an important step towards being able to take measures to address it.

Action 6

Share the campaign with your friends and colleagues! Change the settings on your email account to create an automatic message at the end of your emails that says: Join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from November 25-December 10 and call for a ceasefire to gun violence now!

Action 7

Promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda with your government. Governments also need to be encouraged to support women’s engagement in all aspects of peacebuilding and to develop National Action Plans (NAPs). NAPs serve as a tool for governments to articulate priorities and implement the WPS at the national level. Advocate for the involvement of civil society in the development of these NAPs. This toolkit can provide lots of ideas.

Action 8

Encourage local faith-based organizations to address gender-based violence and gun violence in their faith activities. Alternatively, organize an interfaith gathering and invite religious leaders of different faiths to come together and share a unified message of ending gender-based violence.

Action 9

Write, share information and educate others! Write an opinion piece for your local newspaper, or write a blog and post it on your website or Facebook. Participate in radio or TV interviews.

Some ideas of topics to write about:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on GBV in your community,
  • how firearms can facilitate or be used to perpetrate GBV,
  • steps your local and national authorities should take to address GBV and small arms controls.

This publication can help generate ideas and advocacy ideas. The UN MOSAIC module on gender and small arms can also provide ideas to share. This UN publication discusses the impact of COVID-19 on women.

Action 10

Dismantle the myth that a gun in the home provides protection. A gun in the home does more to expose women to danger than offer protection. It makes her more, not less, likely to be killed. Family killings are the only category of homicide in which women outnumber men as victims. Circulate this graphic illustrating how much more at-risk women become of gun violence when a gun is present. Advocate for the creation of legal regimes that address the presence of firearms in the home which have been shown to save women’s lives. Read more about the global problem of femicide here.

Action 11

Plant trees for peace! Work with a local school, government office, or community group to plant trees along with the vision of future generations being able to sit under their shade in a community free of gun violence and gender-based violence. Invite the media to cover the activity! For inspiration, see what IANSA member Jamaican Violence Prevention Alliance did this year. Use the message developed by IANSA youth concerned about the nexus between armed conflict, climate change, and GBV here, including the “1 billion trees, not 1 billlion guns” logo they created.

Action 12

Get media attention. Are you organising an event during the 16 Days? Send out a press release from your organization announcing the campaign and its aims, and publicise your event. Hold a press conference about GBV, to urge authorities to take action, to encourage gender responsive arms control.

Action 13

Advocate for better firearms laws. Hold a meeting (in person or virtually) with a government official of your country (parliamentarian, mayor, assembly person, police chief, etc.) to advocate for laws, policies, and programs that are gender responsive and effective at addressing GBV. Use this handbook to help identify gaps in your national legislation and call for stronger controls on civil possession of firearms, strict licensing criteria, improved storage requirements and criminal sanctions that adequately reflect the severity of crimes committed with a firearm.

Action 14

Encourage your government to sign and implement the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). If your government has not signed the Arms Trade Treaty yet, urge them to do so. The ATT is the first ever legally-binding treaty that recognizes the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade, and it calls on all States to assess the risks of arms transfers directly on women.

Find out if your country has signed the ATT here. Find out more about gender and the ATT with this fact sheet from Control Arms. Share this practical guide “How to Use the Arms Trade Treaty to Address Gender Based Violence” with officials in your country.

Action 15

Involve youth and children! Provide a platform for children and teens to use their creative talents to imagine a world free of GBV. Organize an essay writing or video making competition for youth and children that focuses on the ceasefire theme. Have a drawing competition that lets youth people use their imaginations and their paintbrushes. Use the power of the internet and share on your website and on social media.

Visit the UNODA new website on youth for disarmament for more ideas and resources.

Action 16

Share experiences and solutions with your community. Organize a webinar, a seminar or workshop and invite panelists to discuss challenges and solutions to GBV and SALW issues in your country or community. Invite people who have been affected by gender-based violence and gun violence to share their testimonies, and provide a platform for their voices to be shared.

Other Activities

  • Carry out an online photo campaign to promote ending violence against women and girls. Take a photo of yourself with this sign supporting an end to violence against women and girls.
  • Help promote an understanding of the link between gun violence and gender norms by sharing this article on the topic by Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will.
  • Hold a community talk or seminar on the topic of gender and gun violence. Useful information on the topic can be found in a module on gender and small arms produced by the International Small Arms Control Standard (now known as MOSAIC) here.

Contact us at: iansa.network@gmail.com

IANSA’s 16 Days campaign is an activity under its project entitled “Civil society engagement in support of gender mainstreamed policies, programmes and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda”, funded by the United Nations through contributions received from the European Union (EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/2011).