16 Actions to take over 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
Take part in protests and public marches against gender-based violence.
If you can, take part in as many protests, marches and public demonstrations that support a world free from violence. The main international marches against gender-based violence are November 25: International Day for the Elimination of VAW; and March 8: International Women’s Day. Research what other events are on in your local area.
Vote women & gender diverse people into power.
Currently in Australia only 34.3% of our government body is women. Your vote can help to change that! Next time there is an election, consider supporting representatives that are women & gender diverse people, from different backgrounds. Before election time, check out EMILY’s List, or other organisations which support female candidates. Or, run yourself! Here’s an inspiring book to get you started.
Investigate whether your local member has a stated platform on addressing violence against women.
If your local member doesn’t have a platform, write to them to express your concerns on this issue. Volunteer and vote for members who have a platform on stopping violence against women. To find your local member, and for guidance on how to write a letter to your local member click here. You can also show your support for people like Tarang Chawla who have entered politics purely on a platform to end violence against women.
Donate to organisations and services that support women who have experienced violence.
If you have the means to do so, then your donations can make such a difference. Give a shout out to the organisations in your area, or who you would support that would benefit from a donation. Here is a list of our local organisations:
Get inquisitive on issues which affect women & gender-diverse people.
It’s important to be curious and learn more about issues which affect women & gender diverse people. It’s on you to understand these issues and there is a wealth of resources available to help! We’ve put together a little guide below.
To learn about different forms of violence against women and girls, click here.
To learn about how social norms contribute to violence against women and girls, click here.
To learn about sexual harassment, click here.
To learn about the connection between everyday sexism, sexual harassment and gender based violence, click here.
To learn about issues that sexual assault survivors face in the criminal justice system, click here.
To learn about how different communities experience family violence and what what we can do about it, click here.
To read the Australian national framework for the prevention of violence against women and their children, click here.
To learn about violence against men and boys, click here.
To learn about gender, identity and the transgender community, click here.
For more great articles about gender, feminism, race and sexualities, go to https://everydayfeminism.com
Share information and spread support on social media.
Share information around gender inequality and violence against women in your networks. The more educated we all are, the more change we can create! Start by sharing something from our 16 Days campaign.
Start a conversation with the men and boys in your life.
Violence against women is not a women’s issue. It affects everyone and the solution involves everyone doing their part. Start a conversation about gender inequality with the men and boys in your life. See our list of conversation starters below.
Open up discussion about gender roles that they might be aware of. How can you work together to change their perceptions?
Be direct and open about gender diverse people and families.
Teach them how to ask for consent & respect both their own boundaries and other peoples’ boundaries.
Teach them about history: not only about women’s rights movements, but also share historical figures that are gender diverse.
Open up discussion about representation of different genders in books, films, adverts, schooling, etc. Get them to think about who isn’t being represented.
Open up discussion about gender inequality and how it affects the women in their life.
Ask them what actions they know of and have taken to reduce gender inequality.
Ask them if they’ve ever been a bystander in an act of sexism or violence and what they would do differently next time.
For more information on gender inequality and how this causes and contributes to violence against women, click here.
Write to your local police, asking them what they do to protect women and children from violence & how they can improve systems for survivors.
Be investigative – ask your local police force what their systems are to protect women and children from violence. Challenge them to do more. The more that people communicate that violence against women is an important issue, then it becomes a priority.
Print out a feminist poster and put it up at your workplace/uni/school.
Know The Line has free posters to download and put up in your office against sexual harassment in the workplace. Our Watch have a free A-Z of preventing violence poster. Or, try one of these great free downloads from designers around the world who have donated their art to fight for feminism.
Support women-led organisations and brands.
When we support women-led organisations, we are supporting women in leadership and women who are financially independent. Both these things are contributing factors to reducing rates of violence against women. See our list below of organisations that you can consider supporting today.
Start a conversation with a friend that you think may be experiencing intimate partner violence.
It’s important to reach out to friends if you believe they may be experiencing intimate partner violence. To learn more about the warning signs, click here. A good conversation starter with your friend is: “I’m worried about you because I’ve noticed you seem really unhappy lately.” Be careful not to push your friend too hard, but let them know that they are safe and are able to talk to you, whenever they are ready. Some helpful tips on what to do and how to help can be found here.
Speak out and report harassment and sexism.
If you witness sexism or harassment going on, then speak out. To learn more about how to speak out against harassment and sexism, click here. If an incident occurs in your workplace, then report it. You are also able to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission where necessary. If you experience harassment or stalking, then report it to your local police. To learn more about cyber-bullying and what you can do about it, click here.
Challenge gendered stereotypes with the children in your life.
Harmful gendered stereotypes are imprinted on children as young as four. Breaking down these gender roles and encouraging gender equality is important from a young age. Start with the toys they play with – children should be encouraged to play with whatever toys they like without attributing gender to them (i.e. trucks are not just for boys & tutu dress ups are not just for girls). When shopping for clothes, try to buy gender neutral clothing or clothes with bold & positive messaging that don’t reinforce gender roles (i.e. avoid the “daddy’s little princess” tee shirts). Encourage all children to play sports – your boy should feel able to do ballet if he wishes & your girl encouraged to play team sports. Use the right terminology with children – from body parts to how you praise them, be direct & gender neutral where possible. Be a role model for the children in your life – treat all people equally, try to avoid gendered stereotypes and share household duties. At the end of the day, just encourage children to be themselves. Support their curiosities, talents & desires and be open and honest with them. To learn more about how to raise children without gender roles, click here.
Tackle your unconscious bias.
Everyone carries with them unconscious bias. To learn more about it, click here. Dismantling that unconscious bias takes time & energy and requires you to be critical about things. One of the best techniques is to approach everything with a gendered lens. If you’re hiring someone for your workplace, consider what attributes you’ve associated with their gender and whether or not these are accurate. If you’re raising your children, consider how you might be treating your daughter differently from your son & what you can do to treat them equally. To learn more about how you can tackle your unconscious bias, click here.
Watch films and media directed/led/written by women & gender diverse people.
Supporting films and media created by women & gender diverse people is vital to change representation to be more equal, to show narratives that explore different perspectives and to support women in positions of leadership. Check out our list of films and television to watch below.
The Beguiled: Directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman & Kirsten Dunst
Belle: Directed by Amma Asante, written by Misan Sagay and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw
The Diary of a Teenage Girl: Directed by Marielle Heller and starring Bel Powley
Daughters of the Dust: Created by Julie Dash and starring Cora Lee Day & Alva Rogers
The Kids Are All Right: Directed by Lisa Chodolenko and starring Julianne Moore & Annette Bening
In Between Days: Directed by and starring So Yong Kim
Zero Dark Thirty: Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jessica Chastain
Hidden Figures: Co-written by Allison Schroeder & based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Tale: Directed by Jennifer Fox and starring Laura Dern
Suffragette: Directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Carey Mulligan
Mustang: Created by Deniz Gamze Erguven
Lady Bird: Directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan
Girlfight: Created by Karyn Kusama and starring Michelle Rodriguez
The Hate U Give: Written by Audrey Wells & Angie Thomas and starring Amandla Stenberg
Transparent: Created by Jill Soloway
Big Little Lies: Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine, co-directed by Andrea Arnold & co-written by Liane Moriarty
Speechless: Co-directed by Christine Gernon & co-written Carrie Rosen & Elizabeth Beckwith
Broad City: Created by Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson
UnREAL: Created by Marti Noxon & Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and starring Shiri Appleby & Constance Zimmer
Great News: Created by Tracey Wigfield and starring Briga Heelan & Andrea Martin
Fresh Off The Boat: Created by Nahnatchka Khan and starring Constance Wu
To learn more about how women are represented in film, have a look at the Bechdel Test. For a comprehensive guide to which films have people accused of sexual assault in them (and more importantly, which don’t) check out Rotten Apples.
Access information on your rights and resources if you are or know a sexual assault survivor.
If you have experienced sexual assault, or know someone who has, then head here to access resources and learn more about your rights. The Australian National hotline is 1800RESPECT and you can chat online to the hotline here.