16 Days of Activism

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence 2018

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender based Violence is a global campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and its impact on a woman’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing. 

The 16 Days of Activism begins on 25 November on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on December 10 which is International Human Rights Day. These two dates highlight that violence against women is a human rights abuse and that human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women.

During the 16 days, activists around the world use the campaign to further raise awareness about the prevalence and devastating impact of gender based violence, to celebrate victories gained by the Women’s Rights Movement, challenge policy and practice that allow women to be targeted for acts of violence and demand that violence against women be recognised as an abuse of human rights.

Council has a history of promoting this important campaign, and have an ongoing commitment to stand up and call out negative and harmful attitudes to women, and to raise awareness of how violence begins in society.

The theme for 2018 is Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative. 

In solidarity with the global theme, Council will light the Hobson’s Bay Civic Centre orange on 25 November until 10 December as a visible symbol of Councils strong stance against violence towards women.

The 16 days Activist Challenge  

16 Days Activist Challenge

The 16 Days Activist Challenge is an initiative led by Women’s Health West, on behalf of the Preventing Violence Together (PVT) partnership, of which Council is a member.

During the 16 Days Activist Challenge, community members across the western region (and beyond) are invited to commit to undertaking a range of actions to promote gender equity and prevent violence against women during the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Join others taking action to end violence against women by signing up for the 16 Days Activist Challenge.

What’s involved? It’s simple. As a 16 Days Activist, you pledge to undertake actions to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women during the 16 Days of Activism. You can pick from the list of suggested actions, or add one of your own.

To take the challenge, please register here and select the actions that you pledge to undertake in order to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women.

Why is blue for boys and pink for girls? A children’s booklist: promoting gender equality and challenging gender stereotypes

On the 30 November, Hobsons Bay City Council is launching a new gender equity resource fighting negative gender stereotypes, as part of a special children’s Storytime event.   


Why gender stereotypes? Gender stereotypes are generalisations about differences between men and women, boys and girls.  In childhood, this includes assumptions about the kinds of characteristics and interests that girls and boys have, what they like and what they are good at. For example, there is a common assumption that girls are naturally gentle, cute, passive and sensitive, enjoy playing with dolls and are good at looking after others; while boys are naturally active, adventurous and noisy, enjoy playing rough and are good at figuring out how things work.  Gender stereotypes reinforce the idea that men and women, boys and girls, are better suited to certain roles in society, and studies suggest that children become aware of what is considered ‘appropriate’ for their gender from as early as two years old.

Rigid gender stereotypes are also one of the drivers of male violence towards women along with men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public life and relationships and male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women.

At an individual level, the strongest predictor of a man choosing to use violence against a woman is his beliefs and agreement with strict gender roles, sexism, and male privilege. Starting to challenge this as young as possible is crucial to making long lasting societal change, which Council is committed to.

Silent Tears

On the 3 December, International Day of People with a Disability, Council will be honouring the voices and power of women with a disability through selected portraits from an exhibition by award winning artist Belinda Mason.

Belinda worked with three emerging artists with disabilities and 20 women to create the Silent Tears exhibition.


Hobsons Bay City Council is privileged to be able to showcase six portraits from the exhibition, two each in three urban locations; Williamstown, Altona and Laverton.

The power of the exhibition lies in the hands of the women who have shared their stories.  Silent Tears will shift perceptions and raise awareness of the issue of violence against women with disability.
Silent Tears fall at the moment when we feel the most alone and the most lost. But they also symbolise a turning point to look for hope and strength.

The art reveals the lived experience of women with disability who are subjected to violence and women who acquired disability as a result of violence, and this exhibition is an important part of Councils support of #HearMeToo.

Capturing healthy masculinity - Photo Project

Capturing Healthy Masculinity is a project developed by the Building Equality & Respect Western Region Interfaith working group, of which Council is a member.

This project encourages men of different faiths to send in photos of themselves capturing moments of healthy masculinity, to lead by example in their communities, places of worship and families. The photos will then be displayed through a series of exhibitions and online platforms, which will be made available at the beginning of December 2018.

What do we mean by ‘Healthy Masculinity’? From a very young age, boys not only learn what it means to be manly and masculine, but that they need to be these things in order to be accepted and valued. However, there are many different and rich ways to be a man.  Moving beyond traditional gender stereotypes, healthy masculine roles can include broad and gentle emotional expression, active and loving parenting, working in non-traditional roles like being the primary carer for children and also showing vulnerability, compassion and strong communication skills.

What happens after 16 Days? What else can we do?

Men’s violence against women is preventable, but first we need to change people’s attitudes. To change attitudes and behaviours that support men’s violence against women in our community we need to promote equal and respectful relationships between men and women, and build cultures of respect and non-violence.

Actions that will prevent men’s violence against women are:

  1. Challenge the justification and disregard of violence against women
  2. Promote women’s independence and decision-making
  3. Challenge gender stereotypes and roles
  4. Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relationships

Do men experience violence too?

While family violence is experienced by both men and women, it is clear that men and women do not assault each other at equal rates or with equal effect.

Council would like to note that most men are not violent - they are loving, caring and respectful partners, brothers, fathers, friends and colleagues. But around 95% of all victims of violence, whether women or men, experience violence from a male perpetrator. Experiences of violence are also gendered, with men subjected to violence mostly from other men in public spaces, and women mostly from men they know in private contexts. Women are far more likely than men to experience sexual violence and violence from an intimate partner, and with more severe impacts. Women are more likely than men to be afraid of, hospitalised by, or killed by an intimate partner.

Regardless of gender, violence against anyone is unacceptable. But to prevent violence against women, our explanations and understandings must account for these gendered patterns, particularly that violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men.

Help and Advice

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre  Ph: 1800 015 188

Sexual assault crisis and counselling line  Ph: 1800 806 292

Women’s Heath West  Ph: 9689 9588

Intouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence  Ph: 1800 755 988

Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women’s Service  Ph: 9482 5744



Related Websites and Valuable Reads













Factsheet: What is Family Violence?

Factsheet: Family Violence Myths and Misconceptions

Factsheet: Responding to a Disclosure of Family Violence