“It is a pandemic that we must stop. To do so, we need everyone’s help,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women.
The global initiative “Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls” is led by UN Women on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
The colour orange has been chosen for the issue to symbolize a brighter future without violence against women. During the 16 days of activism buildings and landmarks around the world will be lit in orange.
Marches and rallies will mobilize women and men to demand an end to violence against women in countries from Pakistan to Papua New Guinea and Brazil. Everyone has a role in the efforts to end violence against women.
Please demonstrate your support by wearing orange on the day and telling people why you are doing so.
In a statement posted on the UN Women website Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, implored people across the world to do their part to end violence against women
“We believe in and work for a world where women and girls can flourish and prosper peacefully alongside men and boys, sharing in and benefiting from societies that value their skills and accept their leadership. Violence against women and girls has a devastating impact on individuals and on the society.
“Women and girls who experience violence lose their dignity, they live in fear and pain, and in the worst cases they pay with their lives. Violence cuts deeply into the liberties we should all have: the right to be safe at home, the right to walk safely on the streets, the right to go to school, to work, to the market or to watch a film. We should be able to expect that attackers will be punished, that justice will be done, and that we can get care and support for injuries.
“Yet, still in many countries, the laws are inadequate, the police force is uninterested, shelters, heath care and support are unavailable, and the criminal justice system is remote, expensive and biased against women and in favour of the male perpetrators. Change to these elements has a cost, yet the price of no change is unacceptable.
“Experts are unanimous that the benefit of ending violence against women and girls would far outweigh the investment necessary. We know that even relatively small-scale investments that are timely and well targeted can bring enormous benefits to women and girls and to their wider communities.
“For example, in Timor-Leste a simple and very effective three-year programme to provide a package of essential services for women who had experienced violence cost a fraction of one per cent of GDP, but had significant impact on women’s health and well-being.
“Practical changes in market infrastructure, business training and provision of cashless payments transformed the environment, prospects and confidence of women stallholders in the markets of Papua New Guinea.
“In Uganda, a community program brought together women and men, religious and community leaders, to change social norms, with a resulting reduction of 52 per cent in intimate partner violence.
“These successes shed light on practical ways in which we can make progress. We can make inroads into the underlying issues of inequality and prejudice within our societies that enable and enflame violence against women and girls,” she concluded.