The Zonta Club of Fredericksburg, USA, has partnered with the Fredericksburg Fire Department, Fredericksburg Police and Sheriff’s Department and Fredericksburg EMS to say “NO” to violence against women and girls during the recent Zonta Says NO campaign.
For 100 years, Zonta International has contributed to achieving a world free of violence against women and girls through service and advocacy. Locally, the Zonta Club of Fredericksburg participates each year in a 16-day campaign, running from 25 November to 10 December, to remind their community that gender-based violence and trafficking is not only a worldwide problem, but also a local issue.
On 16 November, as one of his first duties as their new mayor, Charlie Kiehne signed a proclamation declaring 25 November as Say NO to Violence Against Women Day in Fredericksburg, Texas. The support of their mayor, along with the Fredericksburg Police Department, Fire Department and EMS is truly appreciated by the club. Their campaign slogan this year is “Red and Blue back the Orange”.
The club’s campaign, which started nine years ago, continues to grow and evolve each year. It is amazing how much of a difference each action has made for various communities, families and women.
While the world continues to hold its breath during this pandemic, clubs in District 24 wanted to review how much we were able to achieve during the 16 Days of Activism in 2020, despite all the challenges faced in this period. Clubs displayed strength and conviction in getting the message out that violence against women is not acceptable either in New South Wales and The Australian Capital Territory nor the rest of the world.
All District 24 clubs had to use and adjust to Zoom to plan their campaigns as they were under lockdown for much of the preceding period. Many clubs went on to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on each of the 16 days. Other clubs were able to mount public displays, especially in public libraries, when other venues used in the past such as riverfront walks and beach fronts did not allow walks/marches or banners.
One club was able to organize the ringing of a Rotary Peace Bell alongside the main lake in the nation’s capital; one ring for each woman killed as a result of violence. A number of politicians attended, so this club was able to take advocacy directly to the people who can enact legislation.
Another club made a marvelous short clip that was played in a major cinema complex and would have grabbed the attention of every attendee at the movies.
Other clubs sought interviews with politicians and also advocated and continued to bring pressure to extend domestic violence legislation.
Other fantastic projects included lighting displays on bridges and clock towers, stickers for the backs of toilet doors and visits and displays for high school students.
Those clubs using social media and public displays made a point of drawing people’s attention to the non-physical, as well as the physical aspects of violence directed at women. These include financial, emotional and other intimidating behaviors that coerce women. These are often the triggers that precede a homicide and yet many people seem unaware or do not recognize this.
In the middle of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Kungälv community in Sweden was shocked by several attacks against women.
A group of young men allegedly attacked three women walking their dogs during early evening, in the middle of the small town. After the third attack, the Zonta Club of Kungälv spoke with several local hockey, soccer and handball teams to ask them to join forces against the violence and to create security in the area.
The teams were asked to move their training sessions to the area and to exercise outdoors during a couple of weeks and the Zontians made COVID-19-safe power walks. Several sports teams joined and two companies sponsored vests for the Zonta club.
The local media wrote two articles and the Zontians have continued the power walks once a week and will continue during the pandemic, of course while following all safety regulations. The police have increased their presence in the area and no more attacks have been noticed since.
The 16 days of activism took place between Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, according to Zonta Club officials.
Due to the pandemic, club officials showed support against violence via Facebook and Instagram during the 16 day period.
Topics that were covered by Zonta included Orange Day, Bullying, Zonta Says No, Gender Equality, #HeForShe, Ending Child Marriage, Domestic Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, Human Trafficking, Human Slavery, the Red Dress Project and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, according to officials.
The Santa Clarita Zonta Club’s website blog page also shared valuable information that mirrored the social media campaign.
Advocating with the City of Santa Clarita on an annual basis is an important part of the club’s 16 Days of Activism.
Once again, the club received a proclamation from the City of Santa Clarita in 2021, according to officials.
Club members wore orange shirts to signify “Orange the World,” with the color orange being used for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which is on November 25, according to officials.
The Santa Clarita Valley Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women banner was prominently displayed on McBean Parkway at Sunset Hills Drive, according to officials.
On 10 December 2020, the University of Jamestown Golden Z Club, North Dakota, completed their 16 Days of Activism activities by hosting a Zoom event.
Transformational speaker Kel Humphries, a native of Queensland, Australia, shared her story of surviving childhood sexual abuse by a family member. Kel, who is now a policewoman, delivered a powerful message of self-discovery, forgiveness and redemption. She answered questions from participants afterwards. The event was free and open to all Zontians within District 7.
With the support of Anne Spiegel, Minister for Family, Women, Youth and Integration of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Zonta Club of Mainz, Germany, held multiple activities on 25 November 2020 to kick off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.
Along the most remarkable landmarks of the city illuminated in orange, Zonta members brought attention to the issue of gender-based violence with posters and roll ups advocating for combating this human rights violation.
In a joint venture with the Zonta Club of Wiesbaden, the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge over the broad River Rhine was lighted in bright orange. Not only a symbol of connecting the two neighboring cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden, but also connecting the two neighboring Zonta Clubs in a common statement to say NO to violence against women in an unforgettable visualized moment. Together with the two Soroptimist International clubs in Mainz there were other awareness raising actions, like posters in buses and billboards throughout the city.
To draw attention to the personal story behind a case of violence, a special activity took place in front of the theater: Under the initiative of the club’s Young Women in Public Affairs winner, Lucia Wagner, students had collected personal stories, an activity which had been announced in the social media. More than 30 slips of paper with personal stories hung from a leash and made passersby aware to the fact that violence against women is a prevalent violation of human rights.
A week later, a follow-up event took place with Minister Spiegel dealing with the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention tracing how well the requirements of the Convention have been implemented in Germany, with focus on the situation in Rhineland-Palatinate and with another view under the pandemic lens of COVID-19.
The Zonta Club of Mainz invited members and guests to this remote event, which highlighted the various measures of the Istanbul Convention, the achievements and gaps in an open and motivated discussion. Even though there are quite a number of satisfying and positive results, the Zonta Club of Mainz calls on all parties to do their utmost to ensure service provision and to keep offering support for and protection to women and girls at risk of violence and domestic violence—all the more in the pandemic crisis.
The Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II, Philippines, decided to involve men in its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women activities.
On 13 December 2020, the club held an event in an economically disadvantaged area in Towerville, San Jose del Monte—a community where the prevalence of latent/tacit and overt violence against women is high.
At least 100 men attended the “Men Only” session that was facilitated by a certified male speaker on the role and responsibility of men in the family and society. The speaker highlighted how men have degraded the dignity of women through violence inflicted on them verbally, psychologically, physically and even denial of economic advantages.
Participants were educated on the Philippine law on violence against women and children (VAWC), which would imprison men convicted of violation. One of the participants, visibly affected by the discussion, commented, “I did not know that what I am doing to my wife is being violent to her. I thought that it was being manly.”
At the end of the session, participants requested another seminar that will tackle behavioral change for any one of them that would need assistance on how to deal with violent behaviors against their wives. Club organizers were inspired by this development because the event was considered an important step in minimizing, if not eradicating, violence against women in the area.
The Zonta Club of Punta del Este-Maldonado, Uruguay, made an agreement with local bus companies to place Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women posters in their buses during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The posters reference the Zonta Center for free attention to women victims of violence that the club maintains and encourage female survivors of violence to seek help.
The Zonta Club of Northwest Wayne County, USA, hosted a presentation on human trafficking education and awareness on 2 December. The club partnered with their local library for the virtual presentation, which was attended by 40 people.
Dr. Laura Starzynski, one of the club’s newest members, led the presentation. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wayne State University and a member of the Southeast Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce, which is dedicated to spreading education and awareness about human trafficking in our communities.
Information provided during the lecture gave participants an understanding of local resources for victims, how to identify situations of human trafficking, and helped reduce misinformation that commonly surrounds this topic.