December 10 marked the last day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign catalyzed by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. This year, the campaign focused specifically on informal women workers, whose lives and livelihoods have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and the economic crisis that has followed.

For those unfamiliar with the term gender-based violence, it is violence directed against a person because of that person’s gender or violence that affects people of a particular gender disproportionately. Gender-based violence and violence against women are often used interchangeably, since it disproportionately affects women. Gender-based violence can be seen as a more all-encompassing term because it includes violence against men, boys, gender-nonconforming, and other identities.

Gender-based violence includes many forms of violence, including human trafficking, child marriage, domestic violence, honor killings, and others. Gender-based violence is not solely physical violence, in addition gender-based violence can be verbal, psychological, socioeconomic, or sexual.

Junior Leagues across the Association are taking action against gender-based violence through anti-trafficking initiatives and support for survivors of domestic violence. As an organization of women, taking action against gender-based violence, a practice that disproportionately affects women, is critical.

Here’s how you can take action:

  1. Listen to and believe survivors
  2. Teach the next generation and learn from them
  3. Call for responses and services fit for purpose
  4. Understand consent
  5. Learn the signs of abuse and how you can help
  6. Start a conversation
  7. Stand against rape culture
  8. Fund women’s organizations
  9. Hold each other accountable
  10. Know the data and demand more of it

From UN Women’s “10 ways you can help end violence against women even during a pandemic”