14/12/2017 09:10 SAST | Updated 14/12/2017 09:11 SAST

16 Days Of Activism Should Be 365 Days Of Activism

Change starts with you. We need to ensure that awareness and education are spread to the masses and humanity is eventually restored.

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Every year, from November 25 to December 10, is the annual 16 Days of Activism in which organisations, leaders and individuals worldwide make an active effort to raise awareness about abuse and violence against women, children and non-binaries.

This is an important time, considering that we live in a patriarchal society in which various problematic leaders, individuals and governments continue to perpetuate and endorse sexist, misogynistic decisions and initiatives in society.

If we look at the worldwide statistics of abuse against women, children and non-binaries, one can only express complete disgust, sadness or despair. According to Child Help, somewhere in the world a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.

When it comes to the abuse of women, UN Women reported that at least 70 percent of women have faced at least one form of violence or abuse in their lifetime. In addition to this, sexual violence is extremely high, and rape continues to plague our society.

Sadly, there has not been a proper survey regarding the worldwide statistics relating to non-binary individuals. However, in the LGBTQ+ statistics, queer bodies face high levels of violence and abuse in many countries.

The concerning part about all of this is that this data is collected from reports –– which means that any and all cases of violence and abuse that have not been reported are not included in these data pools. In other words, we have an even worse crisis to deal with than statistics suggest.

An important aspect of activism, which should never be ignored, is to be an intersectional activist.

It is vital that we look at these statistics and acknowledge the fact that the issues were are dealing with are injustices involving people and not numbers. We have to take action and make a difference in whatever way possible.

Although the 16 Days of Activism is a just and honourable step towards bringing about change, we should not be limited to 16 days only. Instead, we should treat every day as an opportunity to make a difference.

Use the 16 Days of Activism as a stepping stone to launch your activism for change. Join organisations that seek to aid and assist abused individuals, seek justice for those who have been abused, and seek to empower all victims and marginalised groups in society, who do not have voices in many spaces.

For example, UNICEF is currently running an #EndViolence campaign that raises awareness about violence against children and seeks to aid and empower them too. An important aspect of activism, which should never be ignored, is to be an intersectional activist.

By this, I mean acknowledging that various individuals and groups suffer from many forms of marginalisation, oppression and discrimination in society. Many black queer women face violence and abuse in a society that is dominated by white, heterosexual men.

Thus it is paramount to acknowledge and identify the intersectionality involved in dealing with violence, abuse, inequality and injustice, because at the end of the day, we need to ensure that spaces and society are not dominated by one particular group.

Change starts with you.

Moreover, we need to ensure that awareness and education are spread to the masses, and humanity is eventually restored to a society that continues to be divided along lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity.

Use time during and beyond the 16 Days campaign to spread awareness and find out what you can do in your local communities to make a difference.

Every single contribution counts and can play a role in changing our problematic society into one that unifies and empowers us. Change starts with you.