Orange was the new black Monday for about a dozen area residents out to take a stand against violence toward women and girls.
Led by Southwest Florida Zonta clubs, the women and a few men dressed in orange and armed with orange signs, spent the morning tying orange ribbons to power poles and streetlights near the intersection of U.S. 41 and Cypress Lake Drive.
“Globally, gender-based violence is the most pervasive and least recognized human rights violation, Sanibel resident Karen Pati said. “It affects women of every race, class, culture, age, ethnicity and country.”
Zonta International, an organization with more than 30,000 members in 65 countries, is dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide.
Pati serves as the lieutenant governor for Zonta’s District 11, which includes clubs in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Sanibel, Naples and Port Charlotte.
The event was part of the Zonta Says No campaign, a global initiative to raise awareness and help end violence against women and girls.
Zonta chose Monday and the color orange for its initiative to mirror the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
“We’d like to prevent all kinds of violence, but it’s particularly an issue with women,” she said.” Pati said
Pati said Monday’s event was about awareness, and referenced the recent arrest of a FGCU student on sexual assault and battery charges related to incidents of three FGCU students.
“A boy went to a girl’s room, and she said no, but he didn’t know no means no,” she said.
Fort Myers resident Marcie Kaveney said she attended the event because she wants victims of abuse to know there is support.
A survivor of abuse, Kaveney works at Abuse Counseling and Treatment Inc., a not-nonprofit agency that serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
“Our message is we will always be here,” she said.