Zonta Club of Neuchâtel twists the throttle against violence with Harley Davidson Owners Group

63351-shareyourstoryIn June, the Zonta Club of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and the Harley Davidson Owners Group joined to protest violence against women.

The event spanned over the weekend and 200 km (about 125 miles) and participants dressed in safety jackets with the message, “Stop Violence, Zonta Says NO.”

The activity made front-page news, a first for any service club of Neuchâtel, and was picked up by the local TV station.

Zonta Club of Nurmes organizes safety seminar with national police commissioner as guest speaker

Zonta Club of NurmesThe Zonta Club of Nurmes, Finland, organized a seminar on safety in everyday life as part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign in early June.  The guest speaker of the seminar was the highest ranking police officer in Finland, National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen.

Kolehmainen reminded attendees that nobody need or should tolerate violence in any form and that nothing justifies violent behavior toward other people.

According to Kolehmainen, the biggest threat to everyday safety in Finland is social exclusion. Preventing that is up to everyone, not just the police, he points out.

Kolehmainen says that the key issue is how young people are treated.

“Responsible parenthood, home-school collaboration, supporting freetime activities, creating common ground rules, supervision and intervention in delinquency,” he lists examples of measures how to tackle the issue.

Seventeen women died as a result of domestic violence in Finland last year. To symbolize these victims, 17 dresses were hung on a line on stage in Hannikaisen Sali in Nurmes-Talo. An installation similar to this one was on display at the district meeting in Oulu in April.

“Domestic violence is against the law, and the authorities are duty bound to intervene,” says the leading social worker, Maarit Haatanen. She and the chairperson of the multi-professional risk assessment group, Mika Kivelä spoke about the concrete help available for domestic abuse victims in the Nurmes area.

They assured that these resources were readily available all the time and at short notice. However, the victim must want to be helped, they pointed out. No adult can be helped against their will.  To break the cycle of violence, there is help for the abuser, too, Haatanen and Kivelä reminded.

The audience asked questions about bullying in schools, which has been a hot topic in Finnish media in recent years. Kolehmainen says that the ground rules have to be clear: bullying is not allowed and the incidents have to be intervened. Haatanen mentioned that bullying is often cited in child protection cases.

The Everyday Safety seminar was created by the club’s Advocacy Committee.


Zonta Club of Bombay III & Sneha Say ‘NO’ to Violence with Power of Education



The Zonta Club of Bombay III, jointly with Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) hosted their activism 2016 project of ‘Say No to Violence with Power of Education – Our Daughter, Our Strength.’ Two movies conveying girl/women’s achievements with education and videos on domestic violence & sexual harassments were shown to eight communities of four slums of Mumbai.


The final program, attended by 160+ Sanginies (women volunteers of SNEHA) and Zontians, was held on 7 November 2016 at the Hall of SNEHA at Chhota Sion Hospital next to Dharavi Slums. Seven groups of Sanginies with songs, enactments, statements and a fashion show with placards conveyed the messages learned by them through watching movies and videos:

  • Break silence, Silence will break you
  • Ring bell to intervene
  • Do not be spectators, Speak out
  • In need use helpline
  • Do not stop girls from studying
  • Education is our Power
  • Be educated to educate others
  • Be prepared for Digital India
  • Stop Trafficking of girls
  • Sexual harassment, Domestic Violence, Call Sanginis for help
  • Nariyan jag jaye to Samaj badal jaye’ (If women are awakened, mindset of Society will change)
  • Respect of women, the essence of India’s Sanskriti (Culture).


The purpose of the project was to convey to men, as well as women, the importance of education and social and legal awareness for girls and women. Zonta Club of Bombay III President Roshni Meherhomji and Mahazaver Dalal appreciated endeavors of Sanginies.


Call of the club banner was: Say No to violence with Power of Education – Our Daughter’s Education, Our progress – Our Daughter, Our Strength’. To symbolize the message orange pens with Hindi message ‘Hamari Beti, Hamari Shakti’ were given to all Sanginies. They will be the catalysts to spread the awareness with Zonta’s message in the communities of slums and to be there in need to help and guide.


Zonta Club of Billings launches awareness campaign with billboards, bus ads


The Zonta Club of Billings, Montana, USA, has a renewed commitment to increasing exposure and awareness in their community. Despite a long history of Zontians making a difference in Billings, it seemed a large majority of community members were yet unaware of Billings’ Zonta and their mission.

Armed with Zonta International’s Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women logo, club members with experience in graphic design worked with the Advocacy Committee to build an awareness campaign that challenges the public to report and put a stop to violence against women and helps to get the word out about Zonta.

It was a proud moment for members as the campaign kicked off with the installation of graphics on five buses and two billboards. The first billboard faces the interstate and the second billboard can be found in the heart of downtown Billings.

The club has also produced two 10′ banners,  a 14′ banner, a pull-up banner, t-shirts and hand warmers. For more information on their campaign, visit www.billingszonta.org/sayno.

Zonta Club of Alessandria makes football supporters aware of violence against women with ‘Hands Off Women’ message

hands-off-womenOn 22 January, 3,200 peoplemostly malewelcomed the Zonta Club of Alessandria, Italy, in to the local football stadium, Stadio Giuseppe Moccagatta.

Zontians and members of Z Club Alexandria were there before the football game to raise awareness of preventing violence against women.

Zontians displayed a banner on the field to remind everyone that the real men do not beat and do not wound women. “Hands off Women” has been the claim of the local Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign since 2012.

The stadium audience clapped at Zonta’s invitation to respect women and their will, also by wearing an orange colored item of clothing the 25th day of every month.

Finally, everybody honored the memory of 120 women killed by male violence in Italy in 2016 with a moment of silence.

The Zonta Club of Alessandria starts its 2017 advocacy campaign with football, the most popular sport played and loved by many Italian men.

Local press gave great visibility to the Zonta campaign before and after this advocacy action, allowing the club to reach and be seen by more than 50,000 readers.

Zonta Club of Burg Staufenberg/Giessen Area hosts discussion with UNICEF Germany President Maria von Welser

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Maria von Welser speaks at Giessen’s city hall

The Zonta Club of Burg Staufenberg/Giessen Area held an event on 25 November in Giessen’s city hall for the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.

Maria von Welser, German television journalist and the president of UNICEF of Germany, spoke about women and girls on their unsafe journey from Syria and Africa to Europe. Afterwards, there was in interesting panel discussion about women and migration.

One hundred and twenty people attended the event and the regional press reported on it.


Zonta Club of Alessandria trains journalists on how to write about violence against women


Journalist Francesco Conti of Radio Gold displays a Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women bracelet after attending the journalism master class

The Zonta Club of Alessandria was very active during the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign. The first event took place on 18 November, preparing for the International Day to End Violence Against Women.


Together with Associazione Stampa Subalpina (the Journalist Association of Piemonte) and me.dea (an anti-violence organization helping women with Anti-Violence desk and shelter for women), Zonta organized a journalism master class to teach journalists about violence language, explaining how press and TV usually describe women killing and violence against women with wrong words, wrong ways, wrong titles.

More than 50 journalists attended the master class. First, they were taught to understand violence and what happens among victims and offenders. Then, the role played by the police in fighting violence and the need of denounce by the victims. They also discussed the Istanbul Convention.

The course stated that the violence against woman is not a raptus, never. This word reduce the seriousness of this crime, that’s why the word raptus should never be used by the journalist in case of violence against women. It is very important to use the correct words to help the fight against violence.

Zonta Club of Brisbane North advocates for Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign at local malls

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Members of the Zonta Club of Brisbane North, Australia, took their orange lady to local shopping malls and placed campaign materials in public places, such as libraries, to mark the Zonta Saya NO to Violence Against Women Campaign.

The club supplied Zonta information on global domestic violence and local information provided by their state government’s Not Now Not Ever campaign on what to do and where to go for assistance.

Zonta Club of Alessandria supports Relay for Women, hosts FGM workshop at Geneva UN Palace

During the 16 Days of Activism, the Zonta Club of Alessandria, Italy, endorsed the Maana’s model in Ayuub village (Somalia)  to put an end to infibulation, a severe form of female genital mutilation.

The Zonta club and the Stella Bianca Laura Garavelli Association partnered for the Relay for Women. Participants started in Alessandria on 26 November and arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on 1 December.

Throughout those six days, Zonta and Stella Bianca advocated people on this kind of violence against women to explain that infibulation is not far away from Italian or European people. In Italy, as well as in Germany or in the United Kingdom,  many survivors arrive because parents that run away from their village in Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, etc. to save their daughters from being cut.

After running 180 km (about 112 miles), the Relay for Women arrived in Aosta Valley and involved the Zonta Club of Aosta in a public presentation.  Then runners ran for another 200 km (124 miles), and the Relay for Women arrived in Geneva. It was the first time a relay arrived in front of a United Nations Palace.


Geneva coordinator for the Zonta International United Nations Committee, Simone Ovart, organized and moderated a workshop at the UN Palace. The Zonta Club of Alessandria introduced the issue, and 2014-2016 International Director Nadia Biancato talked about “Improving women’s health and dignity together.”

Biancato said:

“While meeting people, local authorities and journalists we explain that we have to understand that infibulation is a crime against the humanity, and we cannot close our doors in front of refugees that run away not only from famine or war but even from a tribal tradition that has terrible consequence along the life of its victims. In Italy, law n.7, 9.1.2006 fixes how to prevent, fight and prosecute female genital mutilation, defined “a human rights violation against women’s and girls’ health.

“Our Region, Piemonte, has a program to implement this law, and money to do that.  Victims of mutilation need help, also psychological, to restart a better life. But we must pay attention to avoid that these crimes will be committed in secret in our Country, where immigrants are more and more numerous. We can inform, we have to educate, take every chance to talk about violence against women and mutilation to people, students, healthcare professionals, policemen, lawyers. We must say that  female genital mutilation is one of the worst violence against women,  because is done against young children who have no defense. Let’s talk about it, and we all will better understand the problem, and will be more alert about.

“Nowadays is no more acceptable that children 4-5-9 years old, who will be the women of tomorrow, are abused with this kind of violence by other women for ‘traditional reason.’ No one person, organization, agency or community can eliminate violence against women and girls on their own; we must work together to educate our whole population about what can be done to prevent such a violence, support victims/survivors and their families, and increase support for agencies providing services to those community members.”

A better life without infibulation is possible in Africa. Prof. Luigi Sartore, founder of Associazione Stella Bianca Laura Garavelli, explained how: “Somalia  has been devastated by  25 years tribal conflicts and by the effects of the imposing presence of the Islamic fundamentalism. After the war, Maana Suldaan Abdurahman Ali Issue, daughter of the last Sultan of Merka, offered a shelter for widows and orphans escaping from war in the Ayuub village that become the first ‘infibulation free village’ in Somalia.

“She educated people at all level and she  introduced an alternative ritual. She persuaded religious leaders, thanks to her credibility. But the most important obstacle to this alternative rite was, of course, older women as they were custodians of the local tradition. The new ritual eliminated the trauma, while preserving the cultural path of the girls.After passing the sting the girls legs were tied together with ropes, in order to mimic the real infibulation, so that when the girls returned at hoe, their grandmothers could continue to believe that thing were done in ‘an orthodox’ way.

“The religious leaders persuaded people that infibulation should be banned. The health care team does not practice a real cut but a small puncture at clitoral level in order to release only a few drops of blood with a sterile needle or a blood sampling needle (lancet). Maana also intervened on age, involving not girls of 3-4 years but 7. If once the ritual was with the deafening sound of drums to cover the screams of the child, the new ceremony is accompanied by singing, dancing, and the delivery of sweets and chothers as a gift.

“Education is always the key.”

Zonta Club of Pasay and Environs educates students about violence against women and children

zonta-club-of-pasay-and-environsThe Zonta Club of Pasay and Environs, Philippines, launched their Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women activities on 17 November.

In partnership with the Technological Institute of the Philippines, the club aims to create awareness and help prevent violence against women and children from young graduating students.

The Republic Act 9262of the Philippines was established by the government to protect victims of violence against women and children. The club invited Attorney Leah Fortuna to discuss RA 9262.

The event was very successful and was concluded through releasing of orange balloons as a way for the club to show their support of preventing violence against women and children.