The heartbreaking rates of domestic and family violence continues to be a stain on Australia, with an estimated 2.2 million adults reported as victims of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner from the age of 15.
To raise awareness, the Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast (ZCCB) is hosting the Zonta Says No campaign with several significant events as part of the United Nations (UN) International 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Orange is the official theme of the Zonta Say No Campaign, the same colour as the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, gender equality.
Beginning tonight, on the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Thursday 25 November, Old Parliament House and the National Carillon will light up orange.
The ACT Government will also be illuminating light rail stops this evening, and the Canberra Times fountain and the Malcolm Fraser Bridge for the entire 16 days.
ZCCB president Christine Magner said in the past 12 months alone, 38 women and girls across Australia have died as a result of domestic and family violence.
“While this is the lowest – so far – since numbers were first recorded in 2012, it might not tell the full story,” Ms Magner said.
“And from our work in delivering home starter packs to women rebuilding after violence, we know COVID has exacerbated the shortage of affordable housing options for women.”
The Zonta Says No campaign will conclude on Friday 10 December, International Human Rights Day, with the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell at Canberra Nara Peace Park tolling 38 times – one for each woman killed at the hands of domestic violence.
On Tuesday 30 November, author Heidi Lemon, who wrote the story of Tara Costigan’s murder in The First Time He Hit Her, will feature in a discussion presented by Libraries ACT and hosted by ZCCB Vice President, Serina Bird.
ZCCB’s social media feed during the 16-day campaign will feature poignant photos of 38 pairs of shoes, representing every woman killed by domestic violence in Australia in the last 12 months.