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  • Writer's pictureWakai Muganiwah

Orange The World: Elimination of Violence Against Women

Orange The World is a global UN campaign marking the 16 days of activism towards ending violence against women. The UN Women’s calls for Urgent Government action towards implementing concessions and commitments towards eliminating gender-based violence. The international activism campaign which started in 1991 by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute, aims to galvanise resources and awareness for the cause.

With violence against women increasing during the Pandemic and reaching epidemic levels, the campaign is more needed than ever. Violence against women takes on many forms, from sexual violence and domestic violence to hidden harmful practices and rites like female genital mutilation, ‘honour’- based abuse/killings and forces marriage.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggested that Black or Black British and Mixed ethnic groups were significantly more likely than those in the White, Asian or Other ethnic groups to experience sexual assault.

Marginalized communities are, as usual, being disproportionately affected by the effects of violence. Change begins with ‘Believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls’.

Politicians, particularly during the aftermath of the Sarah Everard case, have been scrambling to suggest solutions; flagging down buses, rape alarms, staying ‘vigilant’ etc… but when will there be less focus on the actions of women and more focus on the actions of perpetrators and bystanders.

With hundreds of events taking place in over 70 countries and thousands of people around the world continuing to campaign, the urgency of the matter is clear.

Photo: Bruce Sutherland - Table Mountain, Cape Town: Table Mountain was lit white and orange on the International day for the Elimination of Violence against women.

Photo: UN Women/James Neiss - Niagara Falls, US and Canada: Niagara Falls was illuminated in orange light on the 24th of November on both the American and Canadian sides.

It is time to begin asking some fundamental questions about our society and the social conditioning which has created such an issue. Why are women’s rights and freedoms continually neglected? And what can we do to eliminate violence against women.

Activism for ending violence against women should NOT be an annual campaign, but a 365 day commitment. Countries, Governments and citizens around the world are being called upon to imagine and execute a brighter future, especially as the ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women has been exacterbated by the pandemic, climate-affiliated natural disasters and conflicts.

The colour ‘Orange’ symbolises a future without violence. We no longer have to imagine, We have to Unite to make it a reality.


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