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1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. In 2012, 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family. 

 The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign designed to raise awareness about gender-based violence (GBV) as a human rights concern both nationally and internationally.

There is never a shortage of headlines reporting incidences of violence against women, particularly in conflict areas. Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive human rights abuses in the world, with one in three women experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. And yet, access to resources to pay for critically needed services in the aftermath of violence is often scarce and buried under burdensome bureaucratic processes. That fact, almost never makes the news cycle.

Starting today, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through December 10, International Human Rights Day, Vital Voices will publish blogs from women leaders and partners in our network who are dedicated to eliminating GBV in their home countries.

At Vital Voices, the women leaders we work with bring this to our attention and they stress the critical need for both a rapid response mechanisms and a victim-centered approach to addressing gender-based violence. For this reason, in March of 2014, Vital Voices Global Partnership launched a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the Avon Foundation for Women, called the Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative or GBV Response Initiative.

Last week at the Trust Women Conference, Cindy Dyer, Vice President for Human Rights, presented the initiative and the key ways it is addressing GBV:

  • It provides assistance for the most egregious of GBV cases with targeted grants to pay for emergency medical, psychosocial, legal, relocation, shelter and other related expenses. 
  • It works with local communities to strengthen and address the deficiencies in local responses to gender-based violence.
  • It is working to improve GBV regional and international networks. 

In the United States, victim services are critical and have recently come under threat. Congress’ recent budget deal siphons $1.5 billion from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund and reallocates it towards federal spending. The fund does not come from the U.S. taxpayer but instead is composed entirely of fines and other monetary penalties paid by those who have committed federal crimes. Millions of victims of crime in the United States depend on the thousands of domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse treatment centers, and other facilities that receive VOCA funding. We would like to urge Congress to fully fund VOCA and other victim programs, and to not redirect these funds to non-VOCA activities.

We hope you use the #16Days campaign and our blog series to learn more about leaders in our international network and throughout the US who have dedicated their lives to eliminating violence against women around the globe.

Engage with us throughout the campaign using #16Days and @VitalVoices

November 25-December 10
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Follow our blog series presenting voices of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network women and men who advocate on behalf of women and girls globally.

December 7
Voices of Solidarity
A presentation of the Vital Voices Solidarity Award, to recognize men who have shown courage and compassion in advocating on behalf of women and girls in the United States and around the world.