A LOCAL women’s advocacy and support organisation will turn the city orange for 16 days to raise awareness of the worsening situation of violence against women in Australia.
Starting today (November 25), the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Zonta Club of Canberra will turn locations orange including light rail stops and the Malcolm Fraser Bridge as part of its “Zonta Says No” campaign, says Zonta Club of Canberra breakfast president Christine Magner.
The campaign aims to raise awareness to worsening conditions for Australian women in recent years, she says.
“In Australia, 45 women and girls have died so far over the past year due to intimate partner violence, and many are suffering due to the lack of freedom of movement during covid,” she says.
“Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive human rights violations. It knows no national or cultural barriers. It takes place at home, in the workplace, in open spaces, and affects millions of women and girls across the world. It includes psychological, physical and sexual violence, and harmful practices such as rape, female genital cutting, child marriage and human trafficking.
“The numbers of women requiring assistance following violence has grown over the past few years and more support is needed to ensure the families have the necessary support to restart their lives.”
The campaign in Canberra will be the club’s fourth, and will include a display at Civic and Dickson libraries with names of the women who have died this year.
“Reading out the names and the ages of the women recognises each of them as individuals, and highlights that violence against women and girls can impact their whole life – from newborn babies through to women in their 80s and 90s,” she says.
“[The club] has two displays, one in the Civic Library which includes a large ‘NO’ with the names and ages of those who died through violence during the past year.
“The second display is at the Dickson library and includes bunches of flowers to highlight the number of women who died as a result of violence.
“The display includes 45 pairs of shoes equal to the number of women that have died to date in this year and 21 for the children that died this year and one pair of shoes to represent the men that have died through violence.”
As for the colour orange, Christine says it represents the United Nations fifth goal, which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The 16-day campaign will then end with the ringing of the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell in Canberra’s Nara Park on International Human Rights Day (December 10).