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.
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.
Advocacy Chair for the Zonta Club of St. Louis, District 7, promoted the posting of a billboard with the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women messaging.
Judy Jensen promoted the posting of the billboard to support the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
Past President Sherri Brooks designed the display, which included the international ZI logo, and Barbara Meyer negotiated a discounted rate with the local vendor, DDI Media.
Club members asked passerby to contact their legislators and listed zonta.org for references.
The ad appeared for 10 seconds at a time every minute in rotation with other ads and ran for two weeks.
The Zonta Club of Kankakee supported the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign with the assistance of local law enforcement and others within the criminal justice system.
Law enforcement and criminal justice officials stepped forward to support the 2019 campaign.
The Zonta Club of Offenburg, District 30, took part in this year’s international campaign to say no to violence against women. From 16 to 26 November, the historic town hall in Offenburg, a city located at the brim of the Black Forest and close to the French city of Strasbourg, was illuminated in bright orange and attracted a lot of visitors and passers-by.
As in Offenburg, the Christmas lighting and the Christmas Market started 26 November and the Zonta club had to organize the campaign before that date. At the same time, a cooperation with the bakers’ association was initiated and 40,000 bread bags were printed that were distributed to all the local bakery shops. They had the slogan “Zonta Says NO” printed on one side and “Gewalt kommt mir nicht in die Tüte” on the other side. “Das kommt nicht in die Tüte” is a German saying meaning “this is an absolute no-go”, so the inscription reads “Violence is an absolute no-go”.
On 25 November, the international day against violence against women, various local celebrities distributed bags filled with pretzels for free. Among these were the Mayor of Offenburg and Christina Obergföll, gold-medalist in javelin throwing.
The press coverage was excellent. All in all, the fourteen club members of the Zonta Club of Offenburg were very content with the outcome of the campaign and would like to repeat the campaign in 2020.
Members of the Zonta Club of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, District 28, are proud that they managed to illuminate numerous public and private buildings for one week in orange light in honor of the Zonta Says NO campaign and Zonta’s centennial anniversary.
The Hambach Castle, the Hornbach Tower, the Cineplex, the Wolfsburg, the town hall and other city buildings, the Stiftskirche and the Gimmeldinger church, along with many other buildings, were illuminated.
The lighting of the Hambach Castle was particularly successful as it is one of the most important symbols of German democracy. At the Hambacher Fest in May 1832, the German flag was carried in black, red and gold for the first time. Which is why the Hambach Castle is known as the cradle of German democracy. This was very important as a symbol of the campaign.
During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of Pontiac-North Oakland, USA, District 15, had a display at the Oakland County Courthouse.
The display included silhouettes of women, which represented the 17 Oakland County residents who died from domestic violence last year.
There were also 42 paper dolls, each representing 100 assaults, for a total of more than 4,200 reported assaults last year.
“This is nothing to be proud of. Domestic Violence is not about love; it is all about power,” Gail Johnson, Zonta Club of Pontiac-North Oakland president, told The Oakland Press.
The Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast Inc in Australia, District 24, held a somber service this week to memorialize the 52 women and eight men who died from intimate partner violence.
A garland of orange flowers shaped the word NO, the color a reminder of the fifth UN sustainable development goal of equality. December 10 also marks the conclusion of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of London lit a famous landmark in orange, drawing attention from many passerby.
The club lit the Marble Arch in central London in orange light on 25 November and club members stood nearby to share information on Zonta International and Zonta’s campaign to say NO to violence against women.
The Zonta Club of East Auckland Area, District 16, partnered with a local organization to raise awareness of ending child marriage.
The club, along with Shakti, a women’s refuge organization, installed a display at a local library.