Press Release

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign launched with a performance of theater play „Perseids“

24 November 2023

The campaign "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence", conducted under the slogan Let's Turn Off Violence Together, was launched at the Youth Theatre Sarajevo with the performance of the theater play "Perseids" by Emina Kovačević – Podgorčević, directed by Karmen Obrdalj. The goal of this year's campaign, implemented by UN Women BiH with the support of Sweden, is to draw attention to the importance of the broader social community's responsibility in preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls.

Despite significant invested efforts that have contributed to protection from violence, it still remains a serious problem in BiH. Data indicates that every second woman in BiH has experienced some form of violence from the age of 15 onwards. Therefore, creating a society that does not look for excuses for violence is crucial and must involve all of us, stated UN Women BiH.

Caption: Theatre play "Perseids" opened the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign in 2023

Sweden has a strong commitment to combatting violence against girls and women globally, said Sara Lindegren, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Sweden in BiH, at the campaign opening. „I want to acknowledge all those who work every day to build local capacity, change stereotypes and behaviours, and care for survivors. But more is needed to help survivors and change norms. We hope that the upcoming campaign can contribute to creating a society where a life without fear of threat and violence will be a reality for every girl and woman in BiH,“ she added.

„The power of art can promote women’s rights and gender equality. Artists have a special role in disrupting harmful social norms, and in promoting zero tolerance to violence against women,“ said Resident Coordinator of United Nations in BiH, Ingrid Macdonald.

Caption: Ingrid Macdonald, UN BiH Resident Coordinator, at the opening of the campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence 2023

Jo-Anne Bishop, UN Women BiH representative, said that despite many invested efforts, we still witness violence against women in its many forms, including the gravest one – femicide. „Violence against women is preventable with increased efforts and investments to transform social norms and stereotypes, empower women economically, and strengthen essential services for survivors. UN Women, with the support of Sweden and our partners, continues to advocate for an end to violence against all women and girls. I want to extend a call to everyone – be our ally in this. Every effort invested in preventing violence is a profound step towards a safer world for all women and girls.“

As part of this year's campaign, UN Women BiH will reflect on partnerships with numerous organizations from the governmental and non-governmental sectors, and collaboration has also been established with influencers and artists. The campaign partially focuses on reflecting achievements in preventing gender-based violence but also emphasizes the message that there is #noexcuse for violence against women and girls.

Caption: Audience at the Youth Theatre Sarajevo, at the performance of theatre play "Perseids"

One of the collaborations was realized through the performance of the play "Perseids," the first engagement in the theater scene for the young director Karmen Obrdalj. She stated that the work on the play originated from her strong need to address violence against women. "Complex female characters are rarely seen in domestic audio-visual arts. We wanted to finally give space for a female story to be heard," said Karmen, adding that she believes that art and theater are means through which essential topics can be communicated.

During the campaign, panel discussions on strengthening community responses to violence will be held in Tuzla (29 November) and Banja Luka (7 December); an exhibition of illustrations and a discussion on the role of art in violence prevention will take place in Sarajevo (8 December); and another performance of the play "Perseids" will be performed in Mostar (5 December).

Masha Durkalic

Masha Durkalić

UN Women
Communications Associate

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Goals we are supporting through this initiative