Zonta Club of Darmstadt knits to end violence against women

The Zonta Club of Darmstadt, Germany, joined Viva Vittoria, a project in Italy to end violence against women by knitting blankets to raise funds to end violence against women.

Viva Vittoria is a relational shared work and spreads the message that once a woman understands her value, she automatically becomes the creator of her existence and can bring about change in herself and society. Knitting serves as a metaphor for self-creation and self-development. It is also a tool to help realize this project. It proved a perfect medium because it consists of a widespread and quickly learned creative mode. In adults, it connects to familiar images, brings out memories, and creates an attitude of encounter and relationship.

Anja Kernchen, who lives partly in Italy and Darmstadt, brought the project to the club. The club collected and knitted hundreds of blankets together in the past 1.5 years. Through an article, many across Europe and Australia sent in blankets for the project.

In the end, more than 2,000 blankets were sewn from the squares by many hands, with at least seven people working on each blanket to create an impressive statement against violence.

On 4 and 5 March, the club covered the 1,000 meters squared Friedensplatzwith the blankets, which could be purchased for a donation of at least 20 €.

The club sold all blankets and raised more than 50,000 euros. All proceeds were donated to Wildwasser Darmstadt e.V., a professional counseling center for girls and women affected by sexualized violence, and the help fund of the Frauenhaus Darmstadt.

Prowers Z Club says NO to teen dating violence

The Prowers Z Club, USA, conducted several awareness-raising and educational projects to raise teen dating violence awareness and prevention. They developed and distributed an informational slide show about healthy and unhealthy relationships, which included data about dating violence and helpline numbers and websites at both Lamar High School and Lamar Middle School.

The club also conducted a “Wear Orange” awareness day and “treasure hunt” announcements, including information posted around the school and handed out lollipops with information about the Teen Dating Violence Awareness website.

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.