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Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence
Fundraising event held in Los Angeles to finance the work of the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence against Women, with the voices of the #Listen to me initiative in the foreground
Commemorating Human Rights Day and the global campaign "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence", the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women (UN Trust Fund) held a fundraising lunch today in the town of Santa Monica, California. In the city where the #Metoo (# MeTo) movement was born, the event brought together large numbers of survivors of gender-based violence, dignitaries, United Nations officials, gender specialists and famous personalities from Hollywood.
Hosted by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman, the event celebrated groundbreaking initiatives that have been supported by the UN Trust Fund around the world to over the last 22 years and highlighted the work that remains to end this violation of human rights that affects one in three women worldwide. The UN Trust Fund is the only global grant-making mechanism dedicated to ending all forms of violence against women and girls. Its management is in the hands of UN Women, on behalf of the United Nations system.
Today's event put the final touch on a global mobilization campaign: the 16 Days of Activism. The theme chosen this year by the United Nations for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25) and the 16 Days of Activism was “Paint the world orange: #Listen to me too”. This has amplified the voices of women and girls around the world who have survived violence and are fighting to defend women's rights. Many of them do it anonymously or far from the headlines.
Nicole Kidman, a goodwill ambassador for UN Women and a tireless advocate for the need to end the global pandemic of violence against women and girls, emphasized the reasons that lead her to personally confront this problem, which must be a crucial priority for everyone: “Since I became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador long ago, I have met women and girls who have survived violence and who have benefited from the support of the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women. I have seen for myself the real impact it has on women and girls. Today I am here to continue this work and to amplify the voices of surviving women through the media, and to help raise funds for programs that meet this challenge, ”she said.
“We are witnessing the power of a global sisterhood that seeks to end the normalization of violence against women and girls, and that is telling perpetrators that their time is up. We must continue to amplify the voices of all survivors and activists, especially those who are often marginalized or whose voices have been silenced, and unite in a global movement of solidarity for change, ”said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, underlining the strength of the mobilization that has taken place around the world and the need to give it even greater momentum.
Actress and activist Gabriella Wright captivated everyone at the event with the powerful story of Alice Mathe, a young survivor of violence in Zimbabwe who is also deaf. Unlike many other women in her situation, Alice was able to access justice and bring her attacker to court, with the support of a UN Trust Fund initiative that provides specialized services to women and girls with disabilities. Her attacker is currently in jail.
Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, who was honored during the event, received the Orange Heart award. Among other notable speakers, the event featured Aldijana Sisic, Head of the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence against Women, and Clea Guerra Romero, representing the Flora Tristán Women's Center, a beneficiary of the Fund in Peru. With Sherwin Bryce-Pease, Chief of the United Nations Office of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, as master of ceremonies, and a musical performance by David Hernández, a unique touch was added to this important event.
The luncheon highlighted the continuing scarcity of resources in interventions aimed at ending violence against women and girls globally, and attendees were encouraged to contribute to the support interventions funded by the Fund. Trustee of the UN, which has supported 460 organizations in the last 22 years, reaching more than 6 million people just last year.
Aldijana Sisic, Head of the UN Trust Fund, stressed the importance of investing in the elimination of violence against women and girls, which is a violation of human rights: “The test that all of us faced for a long time is not if we are able to defeat a few powerful men, but if we are able to ensure that we do not abandon or leave behind millions of women and girls around the world. Now we have the opportunity to rely on the courage of the survivors in the wake of the # YoT Also movement, which was born in this very city, and demonstrate the systemic nature of violence against women and girls.
Since November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) this year, the 16 Days of Activism have brought together governments, communities, survivors, activists and the general public with the aim of raising awareness about the urgent need to end violence against women and girls. More than 600 activities have been organized within the framework of this campaign in more than 90 countries around the world, illuminating iconic buildings and monuments in orange (such as the Angel of Independence in Mexico City, the majestic pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Yangon City Council, in Myanmar) to demand a future without violence.
In the powerful public events held in dozens of countries around the globe - including several public concerts organized in Chile, Colombia and Bangladesh, the use of murals in Afghanistan and in public transport centers in El Salvador, Vanuatu or the Philippines - citizens it has demonstrated its solidarity with the victims and with those who defend the rights of women and girls.