Societal drive to confront gender-based violence is on the rise, and Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) is helping lead this movement in Edinburgh by investing in social responsibility and active citizenship through their Changing Perceptions initiative. As a prime example, this year ENU is a core organiser of the Edinburgh Chapter of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – which is a series of events aimed at promoting gender equality, raising awareness about gender-based violence (GBV), and providing safe and supportive environments for community discussion about GBV.
This annual movement began at Rutgers University‘s Center for Women’s Global Leadership. In 1991, they convened the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute (WGLI), a non-governmental committee formed by a diverse group of women. After discussing the injustices that troubled women, they decided to establish the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, choosing a symbolic link between November 25th (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10th (International Human Rights Day). The initial aim of the 16 days was to recognize gender-based violence as a global human rights issue by the United Nations. This was in 1993, before online digital content-sharing was widely available. The petition was translated into 23 languages and circulated around 124 countries. As of 2017, this launch has seen more than 5,000 partner organisations and campaigns being organised in over 180 countries. We are extremely proud to count Edinburgh as a host city for the 2017 session of the 16 Days, and for Edinburgh Napier University to be an integral part of this year’s Campaign.
But why do we need this campaign?
To start, recent news is filled with an unprecedented amount of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations of men in power. From Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to US President Donald Trump, women have begun speaking out publicly about the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault. This was mirrored in wider world with the #MeToo movement – where women all over the world exposed the pervasiveness of sexual abuse.
But these are just the stories that reach the headlines. What about GBV in Scotland and the stories that don’t reach the headlines? From 2009-10, there were 51,926 incidents of domestic violence recorded by police in Scotland, with 82% being perpetrated by men against women. In the same year in Scotland, there were 884 recorded cases of rape of women. Additionally, 78% to 86% of stalking victims in Scotland are female. The horrifying statistics continue, for honour crimes, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, commercial sexual exploitation, and more.
For these reasons and many more, Edinburgh Napier University is actively involved in the organisation of Edinburgh’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. For over 20 years this Campaign has aimed to facilitate constructive discussion and transformative collaboration around the oft-ignored topics of gender equality and gender-based violence. And we are honoured to join the effort.
Edinburgh Napier University is not alone in this partnership, dozens of other organisations and volunteers have come together to make this initiative possible. Some of these partnership organisations are SACRO, Bright Choices ,ELREC, Edinburgh Council, The University of Edinburgh, IKEA, Filmhouse, Sikh Sanjog, and Edinburgh Jitsu Youth.
Events will be dominated by amazing speakers, facilitators, and contributions.
Some of these are: Ruth McQuaid Equality Champion for COPFS; Ben Macpherson, MSP, Scottish Parliament, Linda Rodgers, CEO of Edinburgh Women’s Aid; Gordon McCreadie, National Lead for Domestic Abuse at Police Scotland. There will also be first hand stories and testimonials from survivors of domestic abuse and Gender-based Violence.
All the events are free, registration is done through Eventbrite. Here is the list of events with their respective Eventbrite URL: