16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

16 days logo printed on paper bags with lights within


Each year, SVPRO and the University of Waterloo joins campus partners, along with Kitchener-Waterloo organizations, as well as with varying levels of government and groups worldwide to participate in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence to remind us all that we can take action in our everyday lives to stop gender-based violence.

The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) will be paying tribute to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign which begins on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. We will be hosting initiatives across to show support and stand in solidarity in the fight against gender-based violence, and are looking forward to you attending. 

The campaign started in 1991 to call out and speak up on gender-based violence, and to renew our commitment to ending violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them and urges global recognition of gender-based violence. Human Rights Day honours the date the United Nations General Assembly's adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It is a milestone in the history of human rights, and has been translated in over 500 languages, holding the Guinness World Record as the most translated document. In Canada, we also observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women during the 16 Days to remember the women who were murdered during the tragic mass shooting at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989.

Gender-based violence in a local, national, and global issue.

16 Days is used as an organizing strategy by governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the globe call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls and show support and solidarity with women’s rights activists and mobilizers advancing gender equity. 

Awareness-raising is central to our work in addressing gender-based violence – here are some starting points, drawing from the United Nation’s Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 

Affirm that violence against women, in all of its forms including sexual, reproductive, psychological, emotional, economic, and others, constitute a violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms of women – women’s rights are human rights.   

Recognize that violence against women is a manifestation of historical unequal power relations between men and women. This has led to domination and discrimination against women by men, and to structural barriers limiting the full advancement of women  

Understand that some groups of women, such as women belonging to minority groups, Indigenous women, racialized women, women part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community , refugee women, migrant women, women living in rural or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, female children, women with disabilities, elderly women, and women in situations of armed conflict, are especially vulnerable to violence.

How can you get involved? 

  • Participate in one of SVPRO’s initiatives during the 16 Days campaign – check out their website for a fill listing of initiatives, events, and workshops.  
  • Volunteer with an on-campus student group or non-governmental organization (NGO) working to address gender-based violence.  
  • Have conversations about the reality of GBV in your everyday life – consider those in your life who may have experienced GBV, whether they have shared or not – the prevalence and impacts of gender-based violence remain an systemic and everyday struggle.  
  • Engage in online activism to show your solidarity and engage in conversation using the #16Days hashtag and #Purple4Prevention. 


November 10
Closing Ceremony - Bridge: Honouring the Lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People - 10AM-12PM at the Ceremonial Fire Grounds, United College

November 20
Acts of Resistance Self-Defence Workshop for 2SLQBTQIA+ Students - 12-2PM

November 21
Healthy Relationships and Consent Workshop - 1-3PM via Teams

November 28
16 Days Booth - 12-4PM in SLC

November 29
Wen-Do Women's Self-Defence Workshop for Staff & Faculty - 12-2PM
Wen-Do Women's Self-Defence Workshop for Students - 2:30-4:30PM

December 6
National Day of Remembrance - 10:30-11AM in E7

December 7
16 Days Booth - 12-4PM in SLC

16 days logo with a purple background and yellow sun

If you have an organized 16 Days event you'd like us to share on our website, please fill out this form