The Jordanian National Commission for Women launches the international advocacy campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ under the theme “Speak Up, Harassment is a Crime”

The Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and the Shama’a Network - in collaboration with the United Nations in Jordan, the Delegation of the European Union to Jordan, World University Service of Canada and Hivos in Jordan- launches the international advocacy campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ under the theme " Speak Up… Harassment is a Crime ". JNCW and its partners have been actively engaged in commemorating the campaign since 2007, which takes place annually from 25th November until 10th December to raise awareness on gender-based violence.

JNW has launched a study entitled "Sexual Harassment in Jordan", which includes a field statistical survey conducted on sample of 1366 persons where 322 of the selected population were perpetrators of actual harassment incidents. Also, the study concluded with a number of multi-layered recommendations and interventions inclusive of: amendments of legislations and support of a zero-tolerant environment; revisiting prevention, protection and rehabilitation mechanisms and building of relevant capacities; scaling-up reporting mechanisms and response services; pursuing networking, synergies and partnerships to counteract the phenomenon; tapping into the influential role of media to raise awareness and stigmatize the behavior; building databases to measure the severity of the phenomenon and steps taken to eradicate it; devising a full-fledged national strategy to offset sexual harassment through a participatory and inclusive approach, which engages all national and governmental institutions as well as relevant civil society organizations; and drafting action plans and programs to prevent, protect and respond to the phenomenon.

The Secretary General of JNCW, Dr. Salma Nims, affirmed that the launch of the outcomes of the study comes in the context of the Jordanian National Commission for Women efforts to provide data and information that can contribute to a better understanding of the different forms and realities of gender-based violence in Jordan. The study further aims at assessing the level of social awareness of the definition and manifestation of gender-based violence and social trends towards such practices, which would guide efforts to prepare needed strategies and plans; launch and direct awareness and media campaigns to address the root causes of the multi-faceted forms of gender-based violence, create a zero-violence-tolerant environment and adopt legislation, mechanisms and measures to confront it.

Echoing the importance of filling the data gap to understand the extent of gender-based violence and its implication in the society as a whole, the UN Women Representative, Mr. Ziad Sheikh, affirmed that ‘We need to confront harmful social norms and amplify the voices of women and girls who have suffered such violence in silence. To achieve this, we need support from civil society organizations and youth, as well as strong international partnerships for change.’

EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Fontana said: “We are here today, not only to echo our continued commitment to women empowerment, but also to say loud and clear: let us stop all forms of gender-based violence and harassment. This behavior against women and girls should not be tolerated anymore. It is time to move from words to actions. Combatting violence against women and girls is a common responsibility that each one of us shoulders.”

Sexual Harassment is a globally denied phenomenon. Attempts to study and understand it are usually confronted with resistance, denial and underestimation of its presence as a social phenomenon, and victims still face a culture of blame and bear the burden of proof. This has led to decades of “silence on the gravity of harassment”, even at the global level, and within cultures that are considered liberal. Silence and denial of facts have led to impunity, iteration of the incident and emergence of more aggravated forms of the phenomenon. In other words, events evolved from gestures to verbal insinuations, physical contact, indecent assaults and sometimes even rape.  Therefore, the campaign among local communities, as well as school and university students, on the definition of sexual harassment and the importance of combating the phenomenon of harassment and raising community awareness on the importance of reporting cases of harassment and non-acceptance of society and ending the culture of tolerance with the perpetrators. the campaign further seeks to engage men, boys and the youth in ending gender-based violence and harassment phenomenon. Also working with stakeholders to facilitate procedures and mechanisms for reporting and judicial follow-up of cases of sexual harassment.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign will be sustained by the distribution of awareness-raising material tailored for local communities, including infographic videos defining the concepts of harassment and how to criminalize it through the Jordanian Penal Code. The infographic videos will be circulated as a TV spot on Jordan TV and Ro’ya TV during the campaign. In addition, radio spots have been produced highlighting key messages, which will be broadcasted on local radio stations during the campaign. To complement the TV and radio spots, the production of advertising and information materials within an integrated plan on social media networks will be utilized to reach a wider audience from the targeted groups. In addition, a broadcast of educational series and live testimonies through social media networks addressing the phenomenon of harassment and how to defend oneself in case of exposure.

Furthermore, a specialized workshop focusing titled: “Interventions to Combat Harassment”, involving stakeholders from decision makers, civil society organizations, private sector etc. In addition to awareness sessions targeting local communities in all governorates.

To commemorate the global campaign, JNCW and its partners will engage social media users during the ‘orange hour’ that will take place on 1st December at 7pm, calling upon the public to share related advocacy messages.

Advocacy efforts will be also sustained by a dedicated street campaign displaying awareness raising messages addressing all age groups and comprising 135 street billboards, 10 pedestrian/street bridges placed in all Governorates and also on 10 public buses. Overall, the Commission, in collaboration with the “Shamaa Network” and other partners, will implement 300 activities across all governorates of Jordan.  All activities will be covered and promoted on JNCW and its partners’ media and social media channels. Radio and television interviews will also be conducted on various audiovisual broadcasting stations.

Overview on the 16-days of activism campaign against gender-based violence

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year and runs from 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, Human Rights Day. It was originated by activists at the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and is coordinated each year by the Center for Women's Global Leadership. In support of this civil society initiative the 16 Days of Activism, under the leadership of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign (UNiTE), calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share of knowledge and innovations.

Since 2007, Jordanian civil society organizations, the Jordanian National Commission for Women, UN agencies and members of the international community joined efforts to inspire social mobilization in the Kingdom through the implementation of several events in the country advocating for the elimination of gender-based violence. Everyone is invited to join the campaign on social media using the Hashtag #Speakupjo and #16daysjo and through visiting the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/16DaysJo.

Overview on the “Shama’a Network”

On December 10, 2007, and in conclusion with the 16 Days of Activism campaign, and in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Shama’a Network was founded as a national network to eliminate violence against women. In recent years, the Sham’a Network helped to raise awareness on violence against women and its devastating consequences which not only harm the victim's personal life but also the safety of families and community. The Sham’a Network is a way to unite the efforts of a large number of individuals and organizations working at the local level to combat violence against women.

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