THE Zonta Clubs of The Bahamas have joined with clubs around the world this week to launch its annual “Say No To Domestic Violence” campaign along with 16 days of activism dedicated to raising community awareness on violence against women and children.
Beginning on Thursday with a ‘Zonta Says No Forum’, a cross-section of Bahamians will gather for presentations by the Crisis Centre and the Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, with a short film on the ongoing issue of human trafficking also to be shown at the forum.
“Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations and is a global epidemic,” said Claudine Farquharson, president of the Zonta Club of New Providence. “It affects millions of women and girls and includes physical and sexual violence, harmful practices such as rape, genital mutilation and human trafficking.
“Both the Zonta Club of New Providence and the Zonta Club of Nassau say ‘no’ to violence against women and we hope that our local efforts in this global initiative will raise awareness right here in the Bahamas and increase actions to end violence against women and girls in our nation and around the world.”
This year’s forum has been expanded to include nursing and education students at the University of the Bahamas as well as recruits from the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Defence Force. Together, attendees will “paint the town orange” by tying orange-coloured ribbons on trees on Collins Avenue and Bay Street as a symbol against domestic violence. The group will come together at the end in Rawson Square.
“Such violence threatens countries, inhibits economic progress and prevents women from contributing to their community and creating better lives for themselves and their families,” said Ruthann Rolle, president of the Zonta Club of Nassau. “We want everyone to be reminded when they see those orange bows that violence against women and children is not just a problem for those individuals, but it’s a problem for everyone.”
As a part of the National Women’s Week, Zonta is urging support of a t-shirt day on Friday where all participants wear orange t-shirts in recognition of the International Day to End Violence Against Women.
On Saturday, Zonta will display message boards at the National Women’s Day March/Fun Walk and Celebration from 8am to 12 noon. There, participants will be able to post messages against domestic violence in support of the campaign.
During the month of December, there will be several ongoing campaigns via social media with special hashtags used. On December 10, Zonta will close out its 16 days of activism by taking its message boards around the town in the Straw Market, Southwest Plaza and the Cost Right food store where the general public could add to the messages left over the course of the campaign.
To follow the progress of the movement and for further details, log on to www.stoptheviolencebahamas.com.