In the news: Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley speaks outs against gender-based violence

Thirty-five percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence—an international campaign that aims to inspire action and end violence against women and girls around the world—the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley along with members of the local community, displayed the SCV Red Dress Project last Saturday, Oct. 16, during Child & Family Center’s Purple Palooza Walk. We have several dates this fall at Saugus Swap Meet and on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd at City Hall. Check our website for the full schedule. Please visit

At the local level, Zonta clubs across the world have organized activities and events as part of the 2021 Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, which focuses on the service and advocacy actions of Zonta clubs and districts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in their local communities.

“As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of gender-based violence are on the rise. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we work together to end violence against women and girls,” said Sharon Langenbeck, Zonta International president and a member of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley. “Through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, Zonta clubs around the world are uniting to raise their voices to bring awareness to this issue and advocate on behalf of gender-based violence survivors.”

Each year during the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which runs from Nov. 25 – Dec. 10,, Zonta International encourages its clubs to participate in advocacy efforts that focus on prevention, protection and prosecution.

The SCV Red Dress Project was inspired by the original REDress Project. The first year our club displayed the Red Dresses was in 2016. It was created to advocate and to share the awareness of domestic violence within our community.

The REDress Project was created by a Canadian artist, Jamie Black in 2010. She initiated this project in response to the missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) epidemic in Canada and the United States.

At one of her art exhibits at a college in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she hung about 100 red dresses around the campus, both indoors and out, as part of The REDress Project. Black said the dresses are empty to represent death and absence. She chose the color red because it signifies many different things. It’s the color of love, and also spilled blood. It has meanings of both the positive and the negative aspects of being an aboriginal woman in Canada.

By her dedication to this project, the Red Dress Day was initiated and is commemorated on May 5th annually since 2017 in Montana. Then in 2021, it was instituted as a national holiday. Red Dress Day is one of many campaigns that have started to call attention to disproportionate rates of violence against Indigenous women.

Then in 2016, the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley decided that this should be the new project for our club. It became a joint effort with the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, and the city of Santa Clarita. The red dresses were displayed around the SCV for 2 weeks during the 16 days of activism. The club has decided to display them throughout the year, so the awareness of the project won’t be limited to the two weeks. Our community should be aware of the issues and the effects of domestic violence. Our club advocates to stop violence against women and girls. ZI has made gender-based violence an issue that we should focus on and to help eradicate here in our community and the world. No woman should live in fear of violence.

The red color of the dresses is meant to symbolize the intimacy and blood of domestic abuse. Our club started with six dresses to represent the lives lost between 2015-2016. Then a seventh life was lost was in 2017, so another dress was added. Plus, that year, a young man was the eighth life that was lost, so we added a red sweater in his honor. The seven dresses and the sweater are hung up in trees in various locations throughout the city, where they are exposed to the weather and animated in the wind to represent the lives lost. Future dates will be announced on our website.

Founded in 1974, Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is a dynamic organization of professional women working together to advance the status of women and girls in the Santa Clarita Valley and around the world.

Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women began in November 2012. To learn more and join the campaign, please visit Zonta International’s ongoing efforts to end violence against women and girls at the international level are carried out through the Zonta International Strategies to end Violence Against Women (ZISVAW) program and through Zonta’s partnerships with the United Nations and its agencies. Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than US$9.5 million has been provided to support projects to prevent and end violence against women and girls in 46 countries.

Zonta Internationalis a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. More than 28,000 members in 63 countries work together to make gender equality a worldwide reality for women and girls. Since 1923, Zonta International has pro-vided more than US$45.9 million to empower women and girls and expand their access to education, health care, economic opportunities and safe living conditions. For more information, visit

In the news: Zonta Club of Milwaukee marches in silence to bring awareness to domestic violence

The marchers walked silently for a mile through the blocks of downtown Milwaukee.

They held flags, each one carrying the story of someone whose life ended because of domestic violence.

They passed out cards to onlookers, explaining their mission of memorializing victims and their commitment to ending domestic abuse.

The Zonta Club of Milwaukee’s sixth annual walk, “Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women,” came at the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and less than two weeks after a report found Wisconsin experienced a record number of domestic violence-related homicides in 2020.

Fifty-eight people were killed in acts of domestic violence last year, according to the annual report from End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

In addition, eight perpetrators died by suicide and two others were killed by responding law enforcement, for a total of 68 people dying in domestic violence incidents, the report found. 

That’s about one death every five days.

Behind every number are a host of loved ones left to grieve — people like Carrie Scott-Haney. Her daughter, Audrey “TuTu” Scott, went missing in 2017 from a downtown bar and was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Scott-Haney came to Monday’s walk to push for change. She has started a petition to create a “Purple Alert” system for adult women who go missing and have previously been victims of domestic violence.

“There’s so many people that go missing and when their remains are found it’s never determined if it’s domestic abuse, but their families know” that it was, she said.

Scott-Haney was among the speakers at City Hall, where the nearly 50 marchers gathered after the walk sponsored by Zonta, a women’s service organization seeking to end gender-based violence and empower women.

Karin Tyler with the city’s Office of Violence Prevention shared some of her personal experiences with domestic abuse.

“I am a survivor,” she said, her voice echoing in the City Hall rotunda. 

She had been strangled and threatened with a gun, and she focused on keeping her children safe, she said.

“It infuriates me when I hear people say ‘Why did she stay?'” she said, describing how abusers can return again and again, and how women run into barriers when trying to leave.

And men have to be part of the effort to end domestic abuse, said Shawn Muhammad, director of The Asha Project, which serves African American women in Milwaukee.

“In order for us to eradicate intimate partner violence it will take all of us, and if the sisters could do it on their own, it would be eradicated already,” he said.

Deaths from domestic violence are the tip of the iceberg, said Carmen Pitre, executive director of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

“What it sits on is thousands of other situations right here in Milwaukee, where people are living in terror, who are suffering and who are living in isolation,” she said.

She called on those gathered to reflect on the stories they had carried. She shared how, at one point in the walk, a gust of wind tore her flag from her hands and sent it tumbling down the block. 

She chased after it, thinking of the 60-year-old woman honored on it, a woman only a year older than her.

“She was lost once, she doesn’t need to be lost again,” Pitre said.

Zonta Club of Kitakyushu and Seinan Jo Gakuin University Golden Z Club plan local Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women exhibit

The Zonta Club of Kitakyushu and the Seinan Jo Gakuin University Golden Z Club are taking part in one of the largest events about SDG in their Kikakyushu City, Japan called “Eco-Life Stage.” The clubs will be hosting a Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women exhibit on 27 November and 28 November. During the event, the clubs are planning to light up the Kokura Castle, a symbol of Kitakyushu, in orange – the symbolic color for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

They are also planning on making a video collage with a message that both empower women and voice their opposition to violence against women. Therefore, the clubs are asking for other members in the Zonta community to submit a small video to them, if interested. The final video will be featured at the event and the website of “Eco-Life Stage.”

Their video guidelines are:

  • The video must be less than one minute long.
  • A script must be submitted alongside the video.
  • Everything must be submitted by 30 September.

All submission or any questions should be emailed to Asuka Takahasi, chairperson of the Golden Z Club.

Fredericksburg, Texas proclaims official Say NO to Violence Against Women Day

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.

University of Jamestown Golden Z Club hosts self-defense class for students

As part of their 16 Days of Activism, the University of Jamestown Golden Z Club, USA, partnered with the North Dakota Safety Council to host a self-awareness and self-defense class.

The students were taught how to be aware of their surroundings in public. They were also taught “Krav Maga” techniques to respond to potential attacks.

The students appreciated learning ways to keep themselves safe. The club applied for and received an NDSC scholarship to help pay for this course, which was offered free to the student body.

District 24 reinvent 16 Days of Activism in wake of pandemic

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.

Zonta Club of Kungälv partners with sports teams to stand up against gender-based violence

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.

In the news: Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley receives proclamation from the city for its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign

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.

University of Jamestown Golden Z Club hosts virtual event featuring policewoman and sex abuse survivor

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.

Zonta Club of Mainz advocates ending violence against women with various activities during 16 Days of Activism

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.

Bridge over the Rhine, (c) W. Weichselbaum

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.