In Focus 2017: Leave No One Behind - End Violence against Women and Girls

Young school girls organize themselves before the March to End Gender-Based Violence in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  One sign reads: "Refrain from using abusive language for Women and Children"  Photo: UN Women/Deepika Nath
Young school girls organize themselves before the March to End Gender-Based Violence in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  One sign reads: "Refrain from using abusive language for Women and Children". Photo: UN Women/Deepika Nath

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A life without the threat of violence for everyone: leave no one behind

In a message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says, “Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. There are many ways to prevent violence in the first place and to stop cycles of violence repeating…At the heart of today’s theme of ‘leaving no one behind’, is leaving no one out.”Read the full message►

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign spanning from 25 November through 10 December, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry. Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day. Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence. 

At the heart of this year’s theme, “Leave No One Behind – End Violence against Women”, for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and UNiTE Campaign’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women (25 November – 10 December), is the imperative to support those who are particularly vulnerable. The UNiTE Campaign is calling on everyone to join the movement to end violence against women, using the colour orange to make your action visible.

One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime—that is one too many. It happens in every country and every society. It happens at home, in schools, on the streets, at work, on the internet and in refugee camps. It happens during war, and even in the absence of war. Too often, it is normalized and goes unpunished.

No matter where violence against women happens, what form it takes, and whom it impacts, it must be stopped. The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals—to leave no one behind—cannot be fulfilled without ending violence against women.

Interactive – Explore the facts: Violence against women

Violence against women: Facts everyone should know

Interactive – Explore the facts: Violence against womenViolence against women and girls manifests itself in many different forms. Whether at home, on the streets or during war, it is a human rights violation of pandemic proportions that takes place in public and private spaces. Explore the issue ►

Top Stories

Ending violence against women and girls is possible. There are proven solutions for supporting and empowering survivors to stop the reoccurrence of this violence. Laws and policies are powerful tools to punish perpetrators, provide justice and services, and end impunity. There are many ways that we can resist and prevent violent norms, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women, and everyone has a role in it.

While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable—for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those in humanitarian crises.See our top stories from around the world that show what it means to leave no one behind, and what people are doing to stop the cycle of violence against women.

Resist violence against women

Violence against women is not inevitable. There are many ways to prevent it from happening. Everyone has a role to play, and prevention must start early.


Empower women and girls, support survivors through adequate services so that they can rebuild their lives and stop violence from reoccurring


Survivors around the world are speaking out, turning their lives around, holding perpetrators accountable, and inspiring others.


Transform the culture by enforcing laws that protect women’s rights and changing the attitudes that condone violence against women.

Speaking up

Speaking Up is an audio series dedicated to documenting the voices of women worldwide. Our hope is to give women the opportunity to make meaning of their experiences through the stories they share.

Faten and Ayah discuss partner violence and divorce

When Faten* sought to escape years of abuse and divorce her husband, he refused and left her destitute. Faten sought the help of Ayah, a lawyer at the UN Women-supported Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). In their conversation, Faten looks back at the time Ayah stepped in to ensure she was not left behind.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the survivor.

Rodica and Ion discuss violence and emotional support

Rodica Carpenco from Moldova endured years of domestic violence in her marriages. Trying to cope with the mistreatment that also affected her children, she turned to alcohol. The only person who stepped in to support her was her village Mayor Ion Lupascu. In their conversation, they discuss the importance of accessing services and providing emotional support.


Justice now infostory

Justice now: an interactive experience
This interactive infostory explores the various paths to justice for sexual and gender-based violence crimes. See more►

Video: A fact you should know...
One in three women and girls will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.



A host of public events—from marches, exhibits and concerts to sporting events—are being organized under the banner of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women by 2030, using the signature colour orange. As in previous years, iconic buildings and monuments will be ‘oranged’ to call for a violence-free future, including the parliaments in Bangladesh, Liberia, and Morocco, Rio’s iconic Corcovado, the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, Mexico, La Scala theatre in Milan, the City Hall in Bogota, the National Theatre of Algiers, and Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. See more ►


Join the conversation

#Orangetheworld in #16days

Join the conversation and Orange the World in 16 Days on social media! Hashtags: #orangetheworld and #16days

Join the ‘Orange the World’ Event page on Facebook and post photos and actions happening in your country during the 16 Days of Activism.

Orange your Facebook wall, Instagram and Twitter accounts with a variety of images, banners and promotional material. A social media package with sample messages in English, Spanish and French is available here.

Facebook Live camera effect

Facebook Live filter - Orange - 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

In line with the global theme “Leave no one behind”, we call on you to share your own story on how you have taken action, and what needs to be done to end violence against women and girls. In your Facebook mobile app, go to Live, click on the frame icon at the bottom, and select our camera effect. Go Live and speak out!

Facebook frame

Facebook profile filter - Orange - 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Use our Facebook frame to orange your profile picture on Facebook!

Twitter Twibbon

Twitter Twibbon - Orange - 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Orange your profile picture on Twitter to show your support!

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