In the last couple of years, several movements including #MeToo, #TimesUp, #YesAllWomen, and #AmINext have brought to light the overwhelming reality of physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women – and how common an occurrence it is. It has also highlighted the devastating and long-lasting effects of such forms of violence against women at various stages of their life.
Even today, we live in a world where one in every three women continue to suffer from physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Reports tell us that 71 percent of all human trafficking victims across the globe are women and girls, with at least three out of these four girls being sexually exploited.
Despite efforts at global, national, and regional levels to end violence against women, there is growing evidence of widespread impunity on rape and sexual violence, and an urgent need to address this.
And so, this year, on November 25 – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – the theme is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’.
Starting this year and for the next two years, the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign – which is a multi-year effort to prevent and end violence against women and girls – will focus on the issue of rape as a specific form of harm committed against women and girls, with the aim of preventing and ending all forms of violence against women.
“If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. That means a significant weapon of war gone from the arsenal of conflict, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women in public and private spaces, the removal of a violent assertion of power, and a far-reaching shift for our society,” says UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
November 25 also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, an international campaign that was started in 1991 to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. This year’s campaign is aimed at mobilising people from all walks to life to take a stand against violence against women and to take their boldest step yet against rape.
“Having more women in police forces and training them adequately is a crucial first step in ensuring that survivors begin to trust again and feel that their complaint is being taken seriously at every stage of what can be a complex process. Progress also requires that we successfully tackle the many institutional and structural barriers, patriarchal systems and negative stereotyping around gender that exist in security, police and judicial institutions, as they do in other institutions,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a statement.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign will conclude on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Orange the World
As part of 16 Days of Activism, communities and individuals are being urged to wear and use the colour orange as a symbol of taking a bold, visible pledge for a brighter future without violence against women and girls. During this time, iconic landmarks and buildings across the world will also be ‘oranged’ to highlight the need for a violence-free future.
‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!’ campaign is using the colour to draw global attention to the issue of rape and sexual violence against women, highlight the issues of consent, and the need for safe and comprehensive responses for survivors.
On social media, the hashtag #OrangeTheWorld is being encouraged to amplify this message from survivors and activists and to put them at the centre of the conversation and response.
Delhi Metro Turns Orange
Earlier this month, as part of the global 16 Days of Activism ‘Orange the World’ campaign, UN Women India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India flagged off the ‘UNiTE to End Violence Against Women’ Metro at the Sultanpur Metro station in New Delhi.
The metro train messaging is aimed at mobilising individuals and communities to end gender-based violence and on the 112 Emergency Response Support System helpline launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs earlier this year.
“The Women’s Safety Division in the Ministry of Home Affairs was set up last year, highlighting the commitment of the Indian Government towards advancing the safety of women and girls in all spaces. With the launch of the 112 – One India, One Emergency Number – and messages on women’s safety on the metro, it will really help us in raising awareness among the public and making a difference,” Punya Salilia Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Women’s Safety Division), Ministry of Home Affairs, said in a statement.
#TBT to last week when we flagged off the #OrangeTheWorld metro in Delhi to end violence against women with @PIBHomeAffairs and @RadioNashaIndia.
The metro will run from 15 Nov - 15 Dec.
Catch the 🚆and tag us in your photos & videos! #16Days #KaunsiBadiBaatHai pic.twitter.com/soLJ4BgSLH
— UN Women India (@unwomenindia) November 21, 2019
Renata Dessallien, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in India, highlighted the important role played by the government in facilitating access to essential services for survivors of violence.
“I would like to congratulate the Indian Government, especially the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, on their decision to set up women help desks in all police stations, and Anti-Human Trafficking Units in all districts across the nation using the Nirbhaya funds. This crucial step will go a long way in securing easier access to justice for women and girls”, Renata said.
As part of 16 Days of Activism, among other initiatives, UN Women India is partnering with RadioNasha to launch a 16-day-long campaign called ‘Kaunsi Badi Baat Hai’ to focus on positive messaging around women’s choice, voice, and agency. The same campaign #KaunsiBadiBaat will simultaneously be launched online in partnership with TikTok.
Let’s orange the world – together.