16 Days of Activism: Stopping Violence Against Women and Girls 25 Nov - 10 Dec.

Violence against women and girls is a global issue, and affects us all personally. One in three women experiences some form of gender-based violence in her lifetime. This means most of us know someone who has had her human rights violated. Perhaps you yourself have been a victim. Whether it is a little girl left malnourished or uneducated, a woman beaten or raped, or a widow ostracized from her community, the cost to human lives and societies is staggering.

Nigeria also pays the price for gender-based violence. Nigerian women die needlessly for lack of proper health care, are forced into prostitution and human trafficking, face poverty for lack of an education, and cannot live up to their potential to contribute to a democratic and prosperous Nigeria.

The world must offer up more than words to free women and girls from violence. “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” commencing November 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ending December 10 with International Human Rights Day. These 16 Days remind us that gender-based violence is not solely a “women’s issue.” It is an affront to human rights and dignity, and its brutality destroys our economies and communities.

Violence against women and girls damages everyone -- men, women, boys, and girls alike. We must stand up to the impunity that leaves perpetrators unaccountable for their crimes. We must redress the low status of women and girls around the world that renders them undervalued and vulnerable. And we must include men and boys in this discussion on how to change attitudes and help our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters.