‌‌What is the 16 days of Activism Against Sexual and Gender-based Violence?

‌‌The Global 16 Days of Activism was first launched by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at its first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. Run annually from November 25 (International Day Against Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day), the 16 Days of Activism has since been used  to call for the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) around the world.

‌‌What do we mean by SGBV?

‌‌SGBV is a broad, umbrella term that refers to the spectrum of aggression, violence, harassment, abuse, and threats that are target people because of who they are under the terms of a patriarchal, settler colonial, heternormative, and white supremacist society.

SGBV is not simply an individual event that occurs between two people, but is a system and culture of abuse that occurs when a society values white, male-identifying, able-bodied, and straight people more than others, and normalizes violence against those who do not fit into these narrow categories.

Note that SGBV often inappropriately assumes that cisgender and white women are the main subject of these targeted violences, effectively silencing how SGBV differently and disproportionately affects Black women, Indigenous women, Women of Colour, queer men and women, children, disabled women, transgender women, Two-Spirit and non-binary people and people who exist at many of these crossroads.

It is important for us to not repeat this mistake. We understand SGBV to include all the violence that targets people differently, unequally, and specifically, under not just the terms of being a woman in a patriarchal society, but being a Black woman in a white supremacist society, being an Indigenous woman in a settler colonial society, being disabled in an ableist society, being LGBTQIA2S+ in a transphobic and heteronormative society, and being located where these intersections meet.

What is Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (WPCH) doing during the 16 Days?

From November 25 to December 10, we will be publishing our own content on the WPCH blog that delves into a range of issues regarding the intersections of abolition, justice, the prison industrial complex, and SGBV. We also dedicate this as a time to continue to push against the ongoing genocidal violence against Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S+) in man camps and across the stolen land of ‘Canada.’ Note that we are also actively seeking Black and Indigenous self-identifying women, Two-Spirit, and non-binary folks to share their own writing and analyses on the WPCH blog. You can forward pitches (less than 300 words) to wpgpolicecauseharm@gmail.com with the subject line “Blog Pitch—[Potential Headline].”

It is our goal through these 16 Days to not only share work that we’re doing at WPCH, but also amplify those who have already been doing this work. We will be sharing articles, toolkits, and resources from other organizers and authors as part of an Instagram campaign on our sister account @WhenWPCH. We make space for and honour the fundamental works of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour collectives that have long advanced the knowledge that prison abolition and anti-SGBV work are intertwined missions that depend on one another for either to succeed.

Furthermore, we are currently developing a resource list of community organizations in Winnipeg who provide programming and services for Survivors of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence. When completed, this list will be permanently housed on the WPCH website and updated frequently. Throughout the 16 Days, we will be highlighting a number of organizations that are included on our list on Instagram (@WhenWPCH) to both promote the great work that is being done in our community and, even more practically, provide local resources to those who experience SGBV in Winnipeg. This list underlines not only the vital importance of defunding the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), but also the tangible significance that these reallocated funds would have on life-sustaining services in our city.

Join us over the next 16 Days as we explore the many connections that exist between abolition and SGBV. Together, we are creating a safe and just future that does not require police or prisons.