My #16DaysofActivism Campaign on Violence against Women

Ever since I was aware that there was a particular day/month in the year to raise awareness on this wretched phenomena, I have been trying my hardest to advocate on behalf women. Not because it is the ugly truth, but because someday you might be faced with a situation where you need to help someone suffering from abuse.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is a global initiative allowing feminists such as myself to become vocal and put a stop to violence against women. Movies, marches, educational workshops and creative social media activities, you name it- they are all a methodology to put an end to an existing problem in our society. I still believe 16 days are not enough to save more than half of the world’s population from mental, physical and verbal torture. But it is a start and a way of putting the issue to the forefront of discussion.

Last year, I did a social media campaign where I managed to get my friends from around the world to hold up a placard with a message about violence against women and say where they were from, i.e with love, France, Norway and India. The support for this campaign was overwhelming. Friends from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan and Libya were all on board, as too were many friends from other countries. For me it was an example of showing everyone that violence exists in every country, however, there are many within those countries who abhor the act and will be vocal despite cultural and societal stigma.

Interestingly, since the campaign I am now seeing more people become more creative and take a stance against violence. Popular figures and youtubers are raising awareness to highlight the importance and concern. There is also a new video going viral about young Italian boys being asked to slap a young girl standing in front of them. The boys, aged between 12-16 refuse to do so on the premise that it is wrong to hit a girl. This is a fine example of educating and gaining the thoughts of young minds, to whom it’s obvious that hitting and slapping a girl is wrong. So then what about adults? What about men and women who are educated but still do not see the wrong in committing such a heinous crime?

Last night I watched a movie about a woman who thought she had the perfect life and family, become a victim of abuse by her husband who was highly educated and of great social standing. It just illustrates to you that the education of violence against women in particular is still necessary. You can gain all the degrees and have all the power in the world, but if you don’t know the value of women then you have understood and gained nothing from life.

Shaista Ali

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New Year…New Me…New What??

As the new year approaches, we become so haste in making our new year goals as if we had such a terrible year, that we must rectify it. Reassurance or stupidity? Let’s just call it reflecting carefully and wanting to reinforce the goals we first set ourselves but failed to meet. I too, like many, have set myself a number of goals in the past. With great enthusiasm and excitement, I begin the new year confidently and by the 31st Dec, I’m exhausted! Not from having successfully met my goals, but from the mental exhaustion of discovering the year has already come to an end!

So what is it about the new year that makes us more determined? Is it really a new beginning or another opportunity to do things differently? For many, it really is a new chapter- whether it be a new job, a house move, or getting married. They are all milestones for people to look forward to in the coming year. For some, the previous year has been so overwhelming, it is time to put it behind them and move onto different ventures.

12 months, 365 days, 52 weeks… comes with a range of different adventures, roller coaster of emotions and bi-polar weather conditions…that is, if you live in Scotland! Before you know, the year has come to and end and in the blink of an eye, you experienced so much in such a short space of time. As I said in a very recent post, let us all reflect on what we experienced and be thankful of another opportunity to set ourselves some more targets. Regardless of having successfully met your goals for the year, go ahead and set them anyways. Trust me, you will be surprised how much you can achieve by putting your heart and soul into them. It just takes a little confidence and self-belief to achieve what you wish to achieve.

Life is a gift and we must do something everyday to realize this.

Shaista Ali