Today, November 25, is the beginning of an international effort by activists to raise their voices and bring attention to the issue of gender-based violence and its damaging effects on women all over the world. The effort begins today, which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and culminates 16 days later on December 10, International Human Rights Day. The "16 Days Campaign" originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991. They chose the dates, November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights. This year's 16 Days Campaign is dedicated to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and underscoring the idea that human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hundreds of thousands of women and girls are being raped and brutalized in a decade of conflict. As women's rights activist Immaculée Birhaheka described in this month's RAISE Hope podcast, women are "treated as things" and the poverty of women is "organized by the society." Yet it is because of the brave activism of women like Immaculée that the women of Congo have hope for their future and for their country.
Over the next 16 days, we have to stand in solidarity with Immaculée and the thousands of Congolese women and girls fighting for a better future by recruiting 16 friends to join RAISE Hope for Congo and sign the petition to President-elect Obama asking him to take immediate action to end the violence against women and girls in the Congo. And then ask those 16 friends to recruit 16 of their friends. Because when thousands of voices become millions of voices demanding an end to the violence, our leaders will act. Our voice is powerful.
We have no time to waste. Raise your voice now. Realize how powerful your voice can be.
Please watch the campaign video. Perhaps the video will convince you to raise your voice.
You can also see the online photo journal "Through Their Eyes"
Please don't turn away, thinking you can not do anything to help. You have your voice, and it's your greatest strength. Sign the petition.
Please share with family and friends. Our goal is to get at least 16 others to sign the petition each. Social bookmark it below to get the campaign further (stumble, reddit, digg, myspace, facebook, twitter, etc)