16 Days of Activism 2020


16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2020
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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2020

Respect Victoria has launched a new campaign, Respect Women: Call It Out 'Respect Is' to coincide with the United Nations (UN) initiative 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, 25 November - 10 December 2020. 

To raise awareness throughout 16 days of activism we encourage you to download the 16 Days of Activism toolkit.

To learn more about the origins of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence including the 2020 UNiTE Campaign Theme: "Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!" visit the UN Women website.

Walk Against Family Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence commences on Wednesday 25 November and will launch with the annual Walk Against Family Violence (WAFV). Respect Victoria is principal partner of this event and we encourage the community to register and take part. To register visit the Safe Steps website.

In true coronavirus (COVID-19) style the event requires participants to 'walk from home'. Considering the evolving landscape of Melbourne and regional Victoria's coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions, we are unable to host a group walk. Happily, this means all Victorians can walk their own way to raise awareness.

Participants can sign up for this free event as either an individual, a group or an organisation. For group and or organisation registrations we urge participants to stay updated regarding outdoor gathering restrictions and ensure that your team are participating in a coronavirus (COVID-19) safe fashion.

For the latest information regarding restrictions, face coverings and testing site locations visit the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates page.

Orange is the themed colour of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. We encourage WAFV participants to wear orange when they walk.

Gender-based violence

‘Gender-based violence’ includes all forms of violence against people based on their gender, or violence that affects people of a particular gender disproportionately. It is most frequently used to describe men’s violence against women. Men’s violence against women is where the strongest evidence base exists and is consistent with the historic and current focus of the UN’s global campaign.

Gender-based violence causes severe harm to families and communities. The designated 16 Days of Activism provides an opportunity for the community to band together to reject violence and encourage conversations about preventing violence. Respect Victoria's forthcoming campaign will explore the notion of respect, demonstrating the ways we can all shift and question misguided and outdated attitudes that allow gender prejudice to fester, creating a climate where violence is more likely to occur. 

Gender inequality

Gender inequality has been identified as a key driver of family violence and violence against women. 'Change the story' is a national framework developed by Our Watch Australia. It's goal was to pool international research plus real stories from perpetrators and survivors of family violence to identify effective prevention strategies to end violence. To learn more about the Change The Story framework, visit Our Watch's website.

Change the Story makes clear that gender inequality is at the core of the problem. Numerous sexist gender norms, practices and behaviours have rooted themselves deeply into the societal landscape, manifesting in disrespect and controlling behaviours displayed by men, leaving women facing structural inequality plus inequality in their relationships.

From the seemingly innocuous sexist remarks we shrug off, to the more sinister and pronounced manifestations of gender inequality, society has reached a point where gender equality has been normalised.

There is work to be done to restore balance and equality, to make our communities safe for all people. We all have a role to play in championing gender equality and preventing violence against women. Calling out behaviour that condones or dismisses discriminatory behaviour is a good place to start. Because gender equality benefits everyone. And words matter.

Bystander action

The term bystander describes a person who is present or witnesses an event or incident but is not actively involved in it. Sadly, we know gender-based violence occurs where we work, learn, socialise and rest. In the work-place, at schools/universities, in social settings and primarily, the home. 

Bystanders may observe gender-violence in any of the aforementioned environments and have the capacity to take action. Bystander action refers to 'how' a bystander calls out, or engages others in responding to incidences of violence, sexism, harassment or discrimination. Importantly, there is no 'right way' to be an active bystander. Depending on the situation at hand, various forms of intervention can be deployed, and a bystander should consider their own comfort and safety above all else.

Some common bystander interventions include:

  • Vocally calling out inappropriate behaviour
  • Physically repositioning yourself closer to the victim as a show of support
  • Take note of the inappropriate behaviour witnessed and report the incident to the relevant authorities after the event

For a more comprehensive list of bystander interventions, read through the 'how to be an active bystander' section of Respect Victoria's Respect Women: Call It Out campaign page.

To learn more about bystander approaches read through the 'become an active bystander' prevention handbook, available on the Our Watch website.

Get involved

Respect Victoria will post daily across the 16 days and we encourage you to either like and share our posts or take inspiration from the suggested copy and post your own.

For information about structuring engaging 'Respect Is' statements access the 'Respect Is' statement guidelines and tips.

To align with the Respect Women: Call It Out campaign we encourage councils, NGOs and other organisations to get involved by writing their own 'Respect Is' statements and sharing these statements via social media across the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Before creating your own statements, read through the 'Respect Is' social media statement guidelines.

If you’re posting on your own social media accounts, feel free to tag us:

Facebook – @RespectVictoria
Twitter – @Respect__Vic
Instagram – @respectvictoria

We also encourage you to use one or all of the campaign hashtags (characters permitting) #respectis #callitout #16dayscampaign

Social media support kit

To access 16 'Respect Is' social media tiles (sized for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) download the 'Respect Is' suite of digital assets below. We encourage you to post a tile each day for the duration of the 16 Days of Activism campaign (Wednesday 25 - Thursday 10 December).

Social media suggested posts across 16 Days of Activism (copy fits both Twitter and Facebook character count). We also encourage you to use one or all of the campaign hashtags (characters permitting) #respectis #callitout #16dayscampaign

  1. Violence against women is recognised as one of the most persistent and devastating human rights violations of our time. It is an issue every day of the week #16DaysOfActivism is dedicated to raising awareness, educating people about the drivers of violence and uniting to eliminate it.
  2. By promoting respect and equality, you can shift the attitudes and behaviours that drive violence against women. 
  3. As a cohesive, well-functioning society, we have a responsibility to take care of each other. If you see someone being harassed, and you feel safe to do so, step in and offer assistance.
  4. How you choose to respond to sexism matters.
  5. Gender inequality is real. Women and men deserve the same opportunities and outcomes in life.
  6. Talk to your children about gender equality. Read books that challenge gender stereotypes, inspire imaginations and expand children's sense of what is possible.
  7. Calling it out doesn't need to be a big deal. Speak up when a joke is offensive.
  8. Respect shouldn't be 'awarded' to people because they fit a predetermined check list of external factors. All people are deserving of respect.
  9. Diverse communities’ gift us with different perspectives.
  10. Respect is the building block of all healthy relationships.
  11. Families don't need to follow a formula. Biological families, adoptive families, blended families, chosen families. Respect is celebrating all family units.
  12. Consider your own attitudes towards gender. Do you expect men and women to behave in certain ways, to move through the world differently? Your preconceptions could be fueling the exhaustive list of excuses used to condone violence.
  13. Safe, healthy and respectful communities are created when we embrace diversity and reject discrimination.
  14. Respect is creating safe spaces for people to be themselves.
  15. Gender equality and inclusion frees men, women, gender diverse and non-binary people from the stereotypes that set limits on who they can be and what they can achieve.
  16. The information and resources showcased during #16DaysOfActivism can and should be used year-round. Being an active bystander is about community. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can eliminate family violence and violence against women.

Respect Women: Call It Out (Respect Is) campaign collateral

To access a range of digital assets, download the files below.

Selfie frame with text 'Respect Is' running across the horizontal border
Respect Is selfie frame
Virtual background artwork, orange tile featuring Respect Is text
Respect Is virtual background
Respect Is campaign banner for email signatures
Respect Is email signature

Support pathways

If you are experiencing family violence, concerned for your safety, or in an emergency situation please call 000 for urgent police assistance.

For a comprehensive list of recommended specialists support organisations refer to the contact us section of Respect Victoria's website.