16 Days of Action

"16 Days of Action to end violence against women and girls" is an international campaign, backed by the UN. It all kicks off on the 25th November - the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  The campaign calls on individuals and groups around the world to take action to end all forms of violence against women and girls. There are events happening all over the world, and here in Devon.

So we have come up with 16 ways in which individuals and groups can participate. No matter how big or small your action, everything helps. If you can, take on a challenge and try doing just one of these things each day of the campaign.

1. Find out about campaign events in your area

Take part in one of the events and show your support. Check out 16 days of action website to find out about events happening in Exeter.

2. Tell your friends and family about the campaign

Do you know someone who doesn't know about the 16 days of action? Make them aware, take them to an event.

3. Create your own 16 days of action

Create your own 16 days of action and post it on our Facebook page @StopAbuseForEveryone sharing the actions you will be taking to help end violence against women and girls. Use the #16days to share even more widely.

4. Write to your local MP

Tell them this issue is important to you and demand ringfenced funding to protect domestic and sexual violence services from closure, including those for BME women, LGBTI women and/or those with a disability.

5. Challenge sexism

Be an active bystander. Stand up and speak out against sexism when you see it, whether that's in conversation with family or friends, at school, at work, in the street or on public transport, if it's safe to do so. It doesn't have to mean being confrontational or putting yourself in danger, it can be just disrupting the situation and saying you are uncomfortable with that type of talk and explaining why. 

6. Don't succumb to gender stereotypes

Be aware of gender stereotypes. Is your language gendered when you talk to the children and young people in your life? Think about the messages you may be inadvertently giving.  Be the cool aunt or uncle who buys your niece a chemistry set and your nephew a toy stove.

7. Check in with the victim of sexism or abuse in the workplace

If you have witnessed something, let the victim know and assure them it wasn't acceptable by everyone who saw it. Workplace discrimination often goes unreported because people think they have to just put up with it. Its often the same with sexual assault. 'Groping' is actually a form of that. If they don't realise it, let them know that it's illegal and they have the right to report it. Support them.

8. Say NO to sexist advertising and products

Write to the companies that use sex and sexism to sell their products. Tell them it is not acceptable and that if they want your custom they need to change their advertising and products to reflect respect and equality rather than supporting sexism and violence.

 9. Fundraise to help domestic and sexual violence services

Host a coffee morning for your friends to raise money. Bring some baked goods into work and ask for donations to a service of your choice from your co-workers.

10. Donate

Donate toys to a local refuge, for children who will be living there at Christmas. 

11. Join a local action group 

Come along and find out more about Allies Against Abuse - a local community group in Devon that aims to engage boys and men in violence prevention. The group is holding an informal launch on Thursday 7th December 6pm at the City Gate Hotel in Exeter. You can find out more about Allies Against Abuse on our website here Allies Against Abuse.

12. Volunteer 

As above with fundraising, giving up some time to help an organisation, group or individual is one of the most valuable things we can do. Seeing someone smile, opening a door or just being there for someone in need is so very important for the victim, and we feel good too. Volunteering makes a big difference! You can find out more about volunteering at SAFE here Volunteer.

13. Educate yourself and others

Find out more about violence against women and girls and what we can all do to end it. Invite a local organisation to speak at your workplace or community group to find out more. 

Develop an awareness of the cultural supports for violence in our society and increase your ability to recognise the myths. Challenge your own ideas and beliefs - are these based on myths and misconceptions?

14. Write to your local MPs asking them to get training

Ask your local MPs to undertake training in understanding and responding to domestic and sexual violence from specialist organisations, and to find out how, as our elected representatives, they can make a real difference. We want our representatives to be as well-equipped as they can be. 

15. File a complaint with the media

If you come across inappropriate, misleading and offensive coverage of domestic and sexual violence, write a letter and record your complaint and your expectation for better standards in reporting.

16. Get in touch with us at SAFE

Get in touch with us at SAFE to share your ideas about what can be done to end violence against women and girls via our Facebook page @StopAbuseForEveryone. Remember to use the #16days to share even more widely.

Do say hello if you see SAFE at one of the campaign events, we would love to know that you are with us and many thousands of others taking action to end violence and abuse.