The international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence takes place annually from 25 November to 10 December 2023, starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence and ending on Human Rights Day. In a display of solidarity, the Sussex Student Union created a line-up of events to show support and raise awareness against gender-based violence. The campaign was created to reduce gender-based violence and to raise awareness on the issue.
The SU hosted a series of events that included workshops and discussions to encourage productive conversations and engage the campus community in solidarity. Events included Clay Crafts and a charity football tournament, for which the SU collaborated with Active Us to raise money for Brighton-based charity RISE, which helps victims of domestic abuse. The SU events aimed to empower students whilst educating them on the complex issue of gender-based violence.
The University of Sussex recognises the importance of addressing gender-based violence within its community and beyond. The SU prioritises the mental well-being of Sussex students, especially when addressing gender-based violence. Whilst the events were taking place, a safe and inclusive environment was created with the support of the Survivors Network, a local charity that aims to reduce sexual violence, alongside access to RISE and the Saturn Centre for additional support. Counselling was available for students who may have experienced the emotional aftermath of gender-based violence.
The SU’s participation in the campaign showcases university-wide efforts to create an environment that reinforces a culture of respect, equality, and justice. The events also gave students the chance to show their support for a serious issue through fun activities that would bring students together. By actively participating in the 16 Days of Activism, the SU encouraged students to not limit their support to just campus, sharing online resources of social media to amplify the voices of those affected by gender-based violence. The hope is that the efforts of the Student Union and Sussex students will inspire the university community but also individuals and institutions globally to participate next year.