Zonta Club of Sofia encourages students to say NO to cyber violence

As a part of its “NO to cyber violence against women and children” initiative, the Zonta Club of Sofia, Bulgaria, held a training session about cyber violence with experts from the Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime. Held at the National School of Dance Art, more than 250 students from grades 7 to 11 attended the session.

Inspired by the presentation, some students volunteered for the club’s project to raise further awareness of cyber violence prevention by becoming peer educators.

The club is grateful to the school for the opportunity to enlighten its students about cyber violence for to its partner for their constant support.

Zonta Club of Toowoomba Garden City gets actives for 16 Days of Activism

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, the Zonta Club of Toowoomba Garden City Inc, Australia, made headlines and grabbed attention on social media in their local area due to their numerous actions saying no to violence against women.

Bringing orange
The club lit a local bridge orange throughout the 16 Days. On 25 November, club members marched back from that bridge to the downtown area. They also hung a ‘Zonta Says NO’ banner across one of the main streets and displayed Orange Ladies in businesses across town.

Engaging the youth
Club President Charmain Searle visited the Toowoomba State High School to inform the students about gender-based violence and Zonta’s mission.

Market stall
In collaboration with the Zonta Club of Toowoomba Area Inc and the Zonta e-Club of Queensland Inc, the club held a Zonta Awareness market stall to spread Zonta information and merchandise. Zontians Ansmarie Van Erp, Vanessa Priebe and Marie Cameron were also involved.

Campaign letter
Tarsh Francis, Advocacy Chair of the club, proposed conducting a letter-writing campaign to house local women experiencing domestic violence, which was touted in the local shopping centers. The letter garnered many signed letters and increased awareness in their community about Zonta and its mission.

Human Rights Day ceremony
On 9 December, the club participated with local authorities to hold a Human Rights Day flag-raising ceremony in the village square.

Zonta Clubs in Bulgaria and Romani say NO through flash mobs and more

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, Zonta Clubs in Area 5, District 30, Bulgaria and Romania, did multiple actions to say NO to violence against women. Some of these actions included flash mobs, holding an art gallery and more.

Watch this video to learn more about how the clubs took action to say NO.

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley concludes 16 Days of Activism through film

On the final day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, USA, hosted a screening of Crushed Wings at the Santa Clarita International Film Festival (SCIFF). Written, directed and produced by British filmmaker Lalit Bhusal, Crushed Wings portrays the lifelong nightmare of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The club has been associated with the film festival since last year through its Zonta’s Wome in Film initiative. When selecting the films for the festival, Lisa DeSousa, Founder and CEO of SCIFF, immediately thought of Zonta when she viewed Crushed Wings. She understood Zonta’s mission to fight violence against women and girls, including international initiatives against FGM. 

Zontians Cherise Moore and Lois Bauccio sat on a panel following the film to interview Lalit, who virtually joined the event from the United Kingdom. During the discussion, Lalit explained that he wanted to make a film about child abuse. People kept telling him about FGM as the ultimate example of abuse entrenched in certain cultures and wrongly attributed to religion. He has created the story of Ria, an innocent and happy seven-year-old village girl who is led to her nightmare by her mother in ignorance. The film goes through her childhood, adolescence, marriage and ultimate metamorphosis into a brave and independent woman. Some actresses in the movie are actual survivors of FGM.

Cherise and Lois explained the importance of ending global FGM and child marriage, which also addresses medical conditions such as obstetric fistula, crushing emotional health disorders and suicide and the social problem of keeping women in a subservient permanent under-class in cultures that practice them. 

Zonta Club of Dhaka IV spreads Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women awareness through rickshaws

On 30 January, the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV, Bangladesh, engaged 50 rickshaws in the Pallabi and Mirpur area to carry “Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women” posters in their local language.

The club hopes that the posters will raise local awareness of gender-based violence.

Zonta Clubs in Belgium unite to say NO to cyber violence

During the 16 Days of Activism, Zonta Clubs in Belgium united their voices to say NO to violence against women, especially cyber violence. The clubs kicked off the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign with a press conference and panel discussion at Brussels City Hall.

The club addressed the prevalence of gender-based cyber violence at the press conference. Statistically, 2 in 10 adults using social media have experienced some form of cyber harassment, but the figure is twice as high amongst adolescents. They urged that special attention be paid in the country to not only support and guide victims but also prevent harassment from happening.

Cyber violence is an increasing problem and is too often gender-based. It can take many forms, ranging from harassment and revenge porn to threats of rape, sexual assault or even murder. Perpetrators can be partners, ex-partners, colleagues, schoolmates or, as is often the case, anonymous individuals.

Cyber violence disproportionately affects women and girls, causing severe psychological harm and deterring them from digital participation. Some are particularly exposed, such as young girls, women’s rights defenders, journalists, public figures and politicians. Online abuse and harassment limit women and girls from expressing themselves freely and without fear. They are being silenced and isolated.

Joining Area Director Régine Claeys to speak at the event were UN Women-Brussels Office Director Dagmar Schumacher, Eleanora Esposito, a gender-based violence researcher at the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Professor Lisebet Stevens and Erika Frans, a senior expert on sexual health. Each speaker provided insights on how to work together to end gender-based violence and support victims.

At the end of the press conference, the clubs unveiled a graffiti artwork commissioned by EIGE on the theme of digital sexual violence for the City of Brussels by Belgian street artist CAZn. After the campaign, city hall plans to find a permanent place for the artwork to continue inspiring, stimulating, and guiding Brussels youth in their personal and professional development – a message of hope.

Click here to watch a video the clubs made for the event.

Zonta Club of Makati and Environs kicks off the 16 Days of Activism through art

To kick off the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs, the Philippines, presented an art exhibition featuring the paintings, sculptures and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the artist Carlos from 24-27 November. The exhibition took place at the Power Plant Mall, and a portion of the proceeds was donated to the Zonta Foundation for Women.

Carlos is a painter and sculptor whose career has spanned 40 years. He is best known for his vibrant colors, which are just as much a subject as the idyllic scenes he paints on his canvases. His work focuses on the joy of life, depicted in his subjects. His color palette encourages his viewers to savor and relish life’s moments of beauty, romance and love.

In honor of the 16 Days, several paintings and sculptures featured women as the subject of the works, together with their different roles. Beyond their roles in the family, which are usually depicted in art by renderings of mother and child, and which Carlos takes as a subject that goes beyond the literal, the artworks also offer depictions of their chosen professions, with some sculptures touching on figurative meanings rather than literal translations of their chosen roles.

Zonta Club of Austin MN Says NO to Violence Against Women

This year, the Zonta Club of Austin, MN, USA, did several projects to raise awareness for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, such as:

  • Planting 16 orange flags surrounding a larger orange flag with Zonta’s logo on it at the Peace Plaza in Austin.
  • They purchased signs around Austin strategically to raise public awareness of what the club does locally.
  • Mower County Law Enforcement Center was lit in orange throughout the 16 Days.

The club plans to continue with the same projects and more for the following year.

Zonta Club of Montevideo raises awareness of gender-based violence

To raise public awareness of violence against women, the Zonta Club of Montevideo, Uruguay, visited several populous locations in their city with the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women banner and handed out Zonta Says NO flyers with the number of help hotlines for those experiencing domestic violence.