In the news: Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast Inc marks this year’s victims of domestic violence at a somber gathering

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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!”

Continue reading about the impactful event.

Zonta Club of Burg Staufenberg/Giessen Area hosts event in honor of women who have experienced violence

On 25 November, the Zonta Club of Burg Staufenberg/Giessen Area, District 28, organized a ceremony in Giessen’s main church.

During the event, attendees heard four reports from women who were victims of violence.

This was followed by a short period of meditation and words of condolence spoken by a cleric. The singing of the gospel choir increased the feeling of empathy and compassion. At the end of the ceremony members lit candles in memory of all women who have suffered violence in the city and in the world. The church, along with other prominent buildings, was illuminated inside and outside with an orange light which made the whole even more of a spiritual experience.

In the news: Zonta Club of the Black Hills’ display fights back against blaming victims of sexual assault

Zonta Club of the Black Hills, USA, District 12, created a display, “What Were You Wearing?” that incorporates sexual assault survivors’ experiences with clothing similar to what each person was wearing when assaulted.

“‘What were you wearing?’ is a question rape and sexual assault victims are often asked and infers that somehow victims are to blame for their assault,” said Mary Kaiser, chairman of Zonta’s Advocacy Committee. “You wouldn’t think in 2019 it would still be an issue, but it is. So many sexual assaults go unreported and part of it is the victims feel guilty. The assaults are the perpetrator’s fault only.”

The “What Were You Wearing?” display fights back against victim-blaming and raises awareness about gender-based violence. The display shows that sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, Kaiser said.

The survivors’ stories are real. Most are culled from a similar display in Montana and from online research, Kaiser said. One story comes from a local Zonta Club member. The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Rapid City donated clothing that Zonta club members used to replicate the survivors’ descriptions of what they were wearing, Kaiser said.

“There’s everything from a teacher’s business wear to a child’s pajamas,” Kaiser said. “We really wanted to … point out that it doesn’t matter what the victim was wearing.

“The response has been overwhelming,” she said. “Victims are so grateful for shining light on this issue. Usually, when sharing what they were wearing and sharing their stories of (assault), they felt like they were blamed. The response has been extremely positive.”

In the news: Zonta Club of Cradle-Coast highlights gender-based violence with shoe displays

The Zonta Club of Cradle-Coast, Australia, District 23, has put shoes and personal stories into more than 20 shops on the Coast as a way to bring awareness to gender-based violence.

Each shoe, which could be a high heel, flat, boot or sandal, had a survivor’s story with it.

“We should always challenge the ‘myth’ that the way a woman dresses somehow suggests ‘asking for it’ or ‘inviting’ discrimination, violence or abuse,” club secretary Karli Franks said.

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The displays are part of the Walk in My Shoes project, started by Zonta clubs in South Australia.

Women survivors of male violence wrote their stories, which were then published in a booklet.

“We hope these stories inspire those experiencing domestic violence or supporting someone who is, to seek help and support. Our aim is to raise awareness of the fact that abuse and violence can happen to anyone in our community; it doesn’t discriminate.”

Continue reading.

A different road to take: Ending child marriage

For many girls, child marriage can seem like the only option. Watch what happens when we give girls choices.

By the end of this year, the Ending Child Marriage Project has the potential to reach 2.5 million girls in 12 countries.

As we begin 2019, reinvigorate your dedication to ending child marriage by joining Zonta International in saying NO to the violating practice.

Zonta club members unite during the 16 Days of Activism

From 25 November to 10 December, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Zonta club members embraced the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign and advocated to end violence against women and child marriage in their communities.

Watch the video below to see a few examples of how club members said NO during the campaign.

2017 Zonta Says NO recap

Zonta clubs across the world participated in advocacy and awareness efforts from 25 November to 10 December as part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism Against Gendered-Violence campaigns.

Watch select highlights here and read stories from other clubs at www.zontasaysno.com/zontiansinaction/

Read a recap of the 16 Days of Activism campaign from the President’s Corner Blog: http://ow.ly/kfL930hcMRe

Zonta Club of Hamilton 1 recognizes community newspaper project dedicated to ending violence against women

On the fourth day of the 16 Days of Activism, the clubs of District 4, Area 2 in Canada presented two local advocates with the 2017 Zonta Says No Award for their efforts to raise awareness for the issue of gender-based violence.

At the meeting of the Zonta Club of Hamilton 1 on 28 November, the award was presented to Doreen Nicoll and Brandon Braithwaite. The two led the way for a local newspaper in the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada area to focus specifically on violence against women.

The November 2016 issue of The Anvil, a Hamilton-based newspaper, was devoted to the topic of gendered violence. The special edition was titled “This Is Not a Woman’s Issue.”

In 2016, Nicoll, who was a volunteer for the Anvil, approached her managing editor, Braithwaite, with an idea to create an entire issue dedicated to Women’s Abuse Prevention Month. Her passion for the topic came from her own experience in an abusive relationship. The issue included articles from experts, doctors, and different area services, as well as hard-hitting stories about survivors. The goal was to provide as much information as possible in one accessible place.

After it was published, over 8,000 copies were distributed to apartments and homes across downtown Hamilton, Ontario, as well as at coffee shops, universities and colleges all over Hamilton and Burlington.

Nicoll was also recognized for her efforts in creating an online platform to provide additional information. Along with a team of friends, she developed the online resource 1infour.ca. The website was developed to help women identify important services in the area. It was born out of a frustration at the complexity of knowing and taking advantage of programs that exist in Hamilton.

Braithwaite, the second award recipient, was raised by a single mother and says it is the strength of his mother that shaped him to be the person he is today. Now, he says, it is his wife Rachel, and two daughters, Abigail and Emily, that drive him to make the world a better place.

When taking on the Anvil publication project, it was his passion to reach as many of his neighbors as possible with information pertaining to the challenges of violence against women. Braithwaite and his team hoped that by providing the information to people, they could help equip them with the tools they need to combat, confront and support themselves and others facing gender-based violence.