16 Days of Activism

What is 16 Days of Activism?
Each year the international campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, commonly referred to as “16 days”, commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and concludes on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The annual event has been coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership since 1991 and is used globally to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls and to:
  • Raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels

  • Strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women

  • Establish a clear link between local and international work to end gender-based violence against women

  • Provide a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and effective strategies

  • Demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world organising against gender-based violence against women

  • Create tools to pressure governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women

To learn more about 16 Days, have a read on the Global 16 Days Campaign website.

How to deal with backlash and resistance

Australian Sociologist Dr Michael Flood suggests resistance is an inevitable response when we talk about the social change that promotes gender equality, coming in multiple forms such as blaming the problem on the victim, denying that the problem exists, that the message is untruthful or exaggerated or questioning the credibility of the messenger. The most common form of resistance is the rejection of the claim that women are disadvantaged and men are privileged.

It is important that when a group or individual decides to participate in the promotion of gender equality and events such as 16 Days, they are prepared for resistance and backlash from others.

There are a number of great resources for organisations, community groups and individuals to help prepare for and deal with backlash and resistance whilst participating in the 16 Days and, more generally, when engaging in prevention activities. Have a look at some of these resources to ensure you are prepared for resistance: Our Watch Practice Guide, Women’s Health East’s Responding to Backlash resource, and Respect Victoria’s 16 Days Toolkit, which contains a section dedicated to Dealing with Resistance and Backlash.

You can also check out VicHealth’s practical guide for preparing for and responding to backlash and resistance which contains the eight forms of resistance and 13 ways to tackle gender discrimination!

Campaign resources

We have prepared a series of resources to help you show your support for the 16 Days of Activism campaign. You can download posters, virtual backgrounds, and add a frame to your Facebook profile to spread awareness. Check out all the resources here.

Where to get help
Call 000 for Police or other emergency services if you require immediate assistance.

The Orange Door

A free support service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have previously experienced family violence.


The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service, available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre

Victoria’s state-wide first response service for women, young people and children experiencing family violence.

Ask Izzy

A free and anonymous search of over 360,000 services to find housing, meals, healthcare, counselling, legal advice, addiction treatment and more.