Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  And for the first time, our island community is taking part in an annual international campaign to end gender-based violence. 

Today marks the start of the 16 days of activism campaign.  KUAM News spoke to the director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Jayne Flores, who said what our island community is doing to participate for the first time this year.  "Days of Activism is from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it runs through December 10, which is Human Rights Day," she explained.

The bureau is partnering with the Guam Coalition to promote the International 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Violence Campaign. Flores said the campaign started in 1991 under the global women’s leadership institute and today it’s coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership to call for the end of gender-based violence against women and girls. 

But it’s the first time the island community is taking part.

"Globally, we saw the shooting in Colorado at the LGBTQ bar and we’re seeing issues in Qatar where the world cup is happening and they’re not allowing people to wear the rainbow armbands. And I believe they’re not allowing the captains of teams to participate if they wear those. And we’re basically seeing a lot of violence and discrimination against people who are basically different," said Flores.

She says it’s important to bring awareness with the campaign this year because of the pervasive violence and discrimination against marginalized people happening around the world and even in our local community.  She continued, "On Guam, we’re a much smaller community and we are much more accepting of people, but yet we still have a very high domestic violence and sexual assault rates. So that’s why we’re focusing on this this year."

Some ways you can participate in the 16 Days of Activism campaign is by wearing something orange, participating in a virtual Zoom proclamation signing that will be held next week on November 28, and by knowing the Victim Advocates Reaching Out's (VARO) 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline number at 671-477-5552.