A Blackburn woman is taking the lead during the annual 16 Days of Action against gender-based violence campaign. 

Activist Saima Afzal launched SAS Rights to support victims of sexual abuse and violence in Blackburn and bring together members of the community to fight against the issues.

In a bid to fight against patriarchal norms, Saima is shining a light on the challenges faced by women's groups and individuals who challenge the status quo during the campaign running from November 25 to December 10.

In last year’s campaign, Saima focused on addressing rape culture including issues like sexual assault and harassment which she still continues to address.

In addition to focusing on gender-based violence, this year Saima has posed questions about the “unequal promotion of women's groups compared to those led by influential men.”

Her call challenges the “culture where male figures often take the spotlight in the fight against gender-based violence” in the country.

Saima said: “My commitment is that I will do what is in my gift and what is needed to support the causes of women.

“I can only urge statutory bodies, commissioners, and funders to stop allowing male-led organisations to capitalise on the causes of women.”

Saima is calling for a more inclusive dialogue allowing for more nuanced perspectives on women’s issues.

As part of the 16 day campaign, Saima is running a variety of difference sessions for the community including wellbeing, exercise and chat sessions throughout December.

SAS Rights is currently run by volunteers only so welcome support from the community so they can continue help marginalised and vulnerable residents in Blackburn with Darwen.

Saima said: “Lack of funding limits us, but we generally self-fund and internally donate to offer free or subsidised costs for our activities, events and trips to our members so that they remain affordable.”

To find out more about the campaign and SAS Rights visit the website or social media.