Statement on the occasion of the International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders



Defend women's human rights. Declare our culture free from violence!

Joint Action by the Take Back the Tech and Violence is Not Our Culture Campaign

29 Nov 2010

Take Back The Tech! partners with the "Violence is Not our Culture" global campaign to mark this year's International Day on Women Human Rights Defenders and the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women (VAW) . On 29 November 2010,  we join hands in solidarity and call for all of our campaigners and allies in different parts of the world to support the work of women human rights defenders to demand an end to violence against women justified in the name of "culture", "religion" or "tradition".  

The "Violence is Not our Culture" campaign defines culturally-justified violence against women (CVAW) as acts of violence against women that "are justified and condoned through a politicization and misuse of cultural, religious, or traditional beliefs, values, and practices intended to impose control over women and girls. This may include control over her body, her sexuality, who she loves, who she marries, how she expresses herself, what she knows and what she believes and the exercise of her own free will." The newly renamed "Violence is Not our Culture" campaign was launched in 2007 - then called the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women - to end the relentless misuse of religion and culture to justify the killing, maiming and torture of women as punishment for violating imposed "norms", especially those relating to gender roles and sexual behaviour. 

The ability of women and girls to exercise their freedom of expression is critical to countering the continued dissemination of cultural messages that are used to justify acts of violence against women. This includes the rights of women and girls to freely hold and express their own opinions and beliefs, and to freely seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers (Article 19, UDHR). It also includes the right to freedom of association and assembly (Article 20, UDHR).

Information and communication technologies (ICT) such as the internet have great potential to enable women and girls to participate in the development of their societies and in evolving a culture that upholds and respects human dignity and rights.  The "Take Back The Tech!" campaign calls for women and girls to create our own media, to challenge and disrupt repressive or mainstream notions of culture and  identity that dictate rather than respect women’s basic right to self-definition.  By promoting the creative and strategic use of technology by women and girls, we are supporting their power  to document and express their diverse realities, their self-representation and their contestation of  beliefs, attitudes and practices  that perpetuate and excuse acts of violence against women.  Since Take Back the Tech!  began in 2006, hundreds of campaigners and human rights defenders in more than 30 countries have used the internet, mobile phones, radio and more to take action against violence against women.

Join us on this year's International Day on Women Human Rights Defenders, 29 November, part of the 16 Days of Activism Calendar.  

The joint action can be viewed at  and at 

Defend women's human rights. Declare our culture as free from violence against women!

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