The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise. Economies crashed; whole countries went on lockdown, and millions of people died with numbers reaching as high as 1.27 million people.
Individuals and entire demographics were affected by the virus in different ways. But for certain members of the society, the pandemic and ensuing lockdown uniquely affected them.
Violence against women and girls tend to increase in case of emergencies, and the Covid-19 pandemic was no exception. The removal of social and protective networks due to the virus increased economic hardships and decreased access to emergency services can exacerbate the risk of violence against women and girls.
Isolation and other measures used to prevent the spread of the infection have a significant impact on women. The chances of women and children being exposed to abuse from intimate partners are greatly increased.
Due to the family members spending more extended time in confined living spaces, women are trapped in their homes with their abusers.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is a global campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign typically runs from the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. The campaign typically introduces a theme or continues with an older theme.
The campaign was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.
It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
The theme of this year’s campaign: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” seeks to fund and support women and girls, who reports have shown are at a higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The significant days of the campaign are:
- November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
- November 29 – International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
- December 1 – World AIDS Day
- December 5 – International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development
- December 6 – Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, which is observed as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada
- December 10 – International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights