District 30 dedicated its district conference (Saint Vincent, Italy 20-22 September 2013) to support the ZI campaign “Zonta Says NO”.
The Governor Nadia Biancato opened the conference with these words: “This conference’s motto is: the time is now! The Opening Ceremony is devoted to a specific issue, fighting the violence against women, because it is time to say: NO TO FEMINICIDE, NO TO PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND TO ECONOMIC VIOLENCE, NO TO DISCRIMINATION.Saint Vincent’s City Council has adopted our goal as its own and, after already doing its very best in cooperation with the Consorzio in Saint Vincent to make things easier for us, it has also decided to donate a stamp cancellation “INSIEME contro la violenza sulle donne- ZONTA Says NO”. A stamp cancellation which will make the District Conference of District 30, as well as our commitment for ending violence against women, known all over Italy”.
The 10th district conference contributed to strengthen and support the ZONTA SAYS NO campaign in many strong and visible ways: each Zontian received the “Zonta Says NO” Conference Bag manufactured by the convicts women of the prison in Turin, a service in a service.
The Foundation Ambassadors gave the possibility to buy the “Zonta Says NO” pochette, thus supporting the ZISVAW Fund and the District Conference Committee offers orange Zonta Says NO official ribbons to all the participants ( Zontians, guest, local authorities) at the Opening Ceremony and sold special Zonta Says NO postcards to receive the stamp cancellation too.
Very appreciated the Governor’s speech to raise awareness for violence: “Violence can take many forms, and often discrimination is not seen as what it actually is: to deny a girl the right to study is a form of violence comparable to physical violence. To prevent a woman from working is a form of violence which robs her of her self-esteem, while making her vulnerable to other forms of violence.
What can Zonta do to combat violence? A lot.
It can teach respect for and acceptance of differences
It can raise awareness for violence
To teach respect means to communicate in schools, among young people.
To teach respect means to make people understand that a woman’s body is not a merchandise, to be sold, exchanged or thrown away when it no longer satisfies. A woman’s body is not garbage to get rid of.
To teach respect means to accept the decisions of others: how many young women do everything to appeal to a man who, when refused, may one day tell them “if you won’t belong to me, you won’t belong to anyone”.
To raise awareness for violence means to ask oneself uncomfortable questions: So often we hear that prostitution is a social evil, so often we feel that prostitution is disturbing our morale, our calm lives, but how often do we actually become aware of the fact and make others aware of, that 90% of prostitution is a direct consequence of human trafficking of women and girls, brought to our countries under false pretense, the willful misrepresentation of a better life?
To raise awareness for violence means to support antiviolence centers, to communicate with women, to transmit messages of faith which help to reach out, to instil courage, making victims of violence understand that they are not alone, that violence has to be reported, that a violent partner has to be abandoned, because to be beaten up has nothing to do with being loved.
But violence against women also involves men, and women can’t solve this problem without involving men, too.
This year the District Conference takes place in Italy, in Area 03 which last November has started the campaign HANDS OFF OF WOMEN (GIU’ LE MANI DALLE DONNE) to strengthen the campaign ZONTA SAYS NO at an international level. The Opening Ceremony is part of these campaigns. I am happy to see men and women side by side in this hall: men play a fundamental role in combatting violence. Men need to inspire other men to change their behaviour, to get help when needed, to renounce violence.”
A lot of interest for the speech by Vittoria Luda di Cortemiglia, Program Coordinator of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and Member of the Zonta Club Moncalieri that informed: “The European Agency on Fundamental Rights has commissioned UNICRI a survey on women’s well-being and safety in Europe. The aim of the survey is to produce comparable and robust data on women’s experiences of violence in the EU. The target population was women between 18 and 74 years of age living in private households, speaking the language of the country of residence. Respondents were interviewed face-to-face with a total of 42,000 interviews carried out in 28 countries. The results will be presented on 25th November in Bruxelles and Vienna”.
The Opening Ceremony has been closed by the PID Karin Nordmeyer, Council of Europe Committee Chair, member of ZC Freiburg-Schauinsland, that gave all details about the new “Istanbul Convention”, the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”, CETS 210, which is a fundamental text and a benchmark at the international level. “The Istanbul Convention is the first ever legally binding instrument to addressing all forms of violence against women in a comprehensive way – it provides for a detailed set of measures to prevent violence, protect its victims, prosecute the perpetrators and finally will there be a monitoring process with independent experts to measure the extent to which state parties have implemented the Convention” said Nordmeyer.
During the District Conference a big banner invited all to join the campaign ZONTA Says NO and all over in the town poster and banner communicated our involvement to fight violence against women.
District 30 and Zonta Club Aosta that organized the District Conference had a big exposure on the press during the long weekend of the meeting in Aosta Valley.