In the News: Local women’s club fights against gender violence

Missouri ranked the second-highest state in the country for violence against women in a 2021 study by Violence Policy Center. Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau members want to shine light on the issue.

“Incidents of gender-based violence is an epidemic worldwide,” Zonta member Cheryl Mothes said. “It is pervasive, and in some ways getting worse because of social media for young girls in particular.”

Every year, Zonta clubs across the country advocate to end gender-based violence through 16 days of activism.

The campaigns begin Nov. 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and end Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. The time frame was chosen to highlight how violence against women and young girls is a human rights violation, according to Mothes.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Bob Fox read a proclamation at Monday night’s City Council meeting to recognize the 16 days between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Local Zonta members have events planned in Cape Girardeau for their campaign.

From 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 27 at Capaha Park Liberty Corner, Zonta will host a memorial service for Missouri women who were murdered in 2020.

From 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at Capaha Park Liberty Corner, Zonta will organize a peaceful assembly for its Zonta says No to Violence Against Women Event. Other community organizations including Safe House of Southeast Missouri and Honorable Young Men Club will attend to stand in solidarity, Mothes said.

Bringing awareness to violence against women has long been a personal motivation of Mothes’.

“I was a victim of sexual harassment, but, long before that, I was wired to elevate the status of women; not by bringing men down, but by leveling the playing field,” Mothes said.

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