November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marks the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16-day-long global campaign, ending December 10 on Human Rights Day, is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. Every year, The Hunger Project joins this global movement to shine a spotlight on the issue of gender-based violence, while promoting the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.
The 2019 campaign theme is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”
Rape culture is alive and well throughout the world, and while the #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc movements are helping to lessen the fear of speaking out against abuse, the subtle more pervasive influences exist, feeding the devastating statistics around rape and violence against women.
In much of the world, this sexual violence is normalized within socially-accepted practices around child marriage. Millions of young girls each year are forced into marriages and, subsequently, motherhood at ages much too young to consent to either. It’s a cycle that perpetuates not only inequity and abuse, but significant malnourishment for both mother and child.
Under the UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women is calling us to take a stand. By questioning prevailing attitudes and dismantling discriminatory laws, we can empower women to share their stories and stand up for their right to a violence-free life.
To create the space of empowerment, The Hunger Project practices strategies that end gender discrimination, promote equality and place an emphasis on the education and empowerment of girls — a proven method of reducing child marriage. One such example is our work with Her Choice — a global coalition of organizations working to end child marriage in 11 countries around the world. As a coalition, we are creating child marriage-free communities in which girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry.
Stand with us to promote strategies that activate local leadership to create an environment in which child marriage is not tolerated. Stand with us to advocate for research, learning and programs that prioritize the equality and safety of women. Stand with us to end violence against women.
Facts and Figures
- 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives and for some nations up to 70% from an intimate partner.
- Evidence shows that women who have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence report higher rates of depression, having an abortion and acquiring HIV, compared to women who have not.
- It’s estimated 650 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage often results in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupts schooling, limits the girl’s opportunities and increases her risk of experiencing domestic violence.
- Approximately 15 million girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex at some point in their life. In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of forced sex by a current/former husband, partner or boyfriend.
- Eighty-two per cent of women parliamentarians who participated in a study conducted by the Inter-parliamentary Union in 39 countries across 5 regions reported having experienced some form of psychological violence (remarks, gestures and images of a sexist or humiliating sexual nature made against them or threats and/or mobbing) while serving their terms.
*(Source: UN Women)
What We Do
- At its core, putting an end to gender-based violence means working for a world in which women and men have equal rights and where women are empowered to be the leaders of their own change. In 2018, The Hunger Project trained 129,659 through our Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops. VCA Workshops combine leadership training with a public commitment to realize that vision and the identification of a clear set of actions necessary to achieve the vision.
- In 2018 in Africa, we trained 95,562 people (60,968 women and 34,594 men) through our Women’s Empowerment Program, which empowers women to be advocates for human rights and gender-based issues within their communities. At The Hunger Project we believe that if gender equality is to be fully realized, both women and men need to be involved in the conversation.
- Empower girls and raise awareness of the harmful effects of child marriage: At The Hunger Project, we encourage girls to go beyond their comfort zones and challenge existing barriers and stereotypes. In 2018, THP-India led a group of visionary young girls on a life-changing journey from India’s state of Bihar to the state of Rajasthan. On their journey, the group promoted the empowerment of women and girls and shared stories and experiences about the negative effects of child marriage, which leaves girls vulnerable to many forms of violence.
- Global programs to end child marriage: Through Her Choice, a global alliance of organizations who believe girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry. The coalition includes The Hunger Project and Netherlands-based organizations Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) and the University of Amsterdam. Her Choice works to end child marriage local leadership to create an environment in which child marriage is not tolerated, and we do this through programs, research, learning and advocacy.
- Promote girls’ safety in schools: In Bangladesh, we have also implemented the “Safe Schools for Girls” program. The program, which runs in partnership with USAID-funded organization International Television Service, seeks to increase girls’ attendance in school, reduce dropouts, improve the quality of education available to girls and promote additional opportunities for girls in and out of school.
From November 25 through December 10, lend your voice to the global movement! Let the world known that you are aware of victims of abuse and that you stand with them. Join the conversation online with #16days, #orangetheworld and #generationequality.