The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year. It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. A staggering 1 in 3 (33%) women1 have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Gender based violence (GBV) is a global issue that affects all countries through various forms, including sexual abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking. In some places in the world, the situation is even worse with some 70% of women and girls reporting they have experienced violence due to their gender.

Violence – be it sexual, physical, psychological and/or economical – occurs anywhere at anytime, whether that is in private or public spaces.

GBV has both immediate and long-term physical, mental and sexual impacts on women and girls, ultimately affecting their well-being and preventing them from fully participating in the society. GBV does not only cause pain and suffering but also devastates families, undermines workplace productivity, diminishes national competitiveness, and stalls development.

Gender-based violence is widespread and systematic in Ukraine. Moreover, women are survivors of gender-based violence in 90% of GBV cases. According to the National Representative Survey on the prevalence of violence against women and girls conducted in 2014, at least 22% of women in the age between15-49 have experienced at least one form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Women facing multiple forms of discriminations, such as women with disabilities, women living with HIV, ethnic minority women, LBTIQ, internally displaced women etc, are much more vulnerable to all forms of gender based violence and they are more likely not to report to police and other institutions due to their status, stigmatisation and systemic discrimination. For example, 1 in 3 women living with HIV (35.3%) experienced violence from their partner or spouse.

This year the United Nations Country Team in Ukraine, through its Gender Theme Group, is joining efforts with more than 75 partners in support of the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women (UNiTE). United around common goal we are organizing various events during 25 November – 10 December to raise awareness and take action to end gender-based violence across the country. The 2018 global campaign theme adopted in Ukraine is “Hear Me Too: End Violence against Women”, reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first.

We encourage you to join the kick-off public event symbolizing the start of the campaign on 26 November, 2018 at 12 o’clock in Kyiv (Shcherbenko Art Centre, Mykhailivska st., 22v).