Submitted by Zonta Club of South Puget Sound

What are those orange pinwheels along Capitol Boulevard? On Saturday November 27, the local Zonta Club of South Puget Sound placed these symbols near the Tivoli Foundation at the Capitol campus to recall the 83 homicides in Washington State in 2019-2020 in the context of intimate partner violence. Per the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (wscadv.org) which collates data semiannually, these murders include “domestic violence victims killed by abusive partners; children, friends and family members of domestic violence victims killed by abusers; law enforcement officers killed by abusers; abusers killed by domestic violence victims, often in self-defense; abusers killed by friends, family, or bystanders intervening on behalf of a victim”.

Why at this time of year do we use these orange pinwheels as a visual reminder of lives lost?  Zonta, a 101-year-old international organization dedicated to working for women’s equality, asks its members to observe annually the 16 Days of Activism. This time frame from Nov. 25 (International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women) to Dec. 10 (International Human Rights Day) is used to educate and promote action for a world in which no woman lives in fear of violence. Our actions are part of the international “Zonta says No to Violence Against Women” on-going campaign and the United Nations “UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women” Campaign.  Zonta partners include UNFPA, UNICEF USA, UN Women, Girls Not Brides, Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally and Women’s Empowerment Principles.

This year’s global theme is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!  The color orange was chosen by the UN Gender Equality Body, UN Women, to symbolize a future without violence against women. November 25 was chosen to be the start of 16 days of activism to coincide with the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, commemorating the brutal killing of the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic. On November 25, 1960, three women went to visit their husbands in prison when they were stopped on the road by military intelligence officers. They were tortured, massacred and then thrown off a cliff in their car to make it look like an accident. It was immediately obvious to the public that the Mirabal sisters had been murdered. The ensuing rebellion soon led to the death of the country’s dictator.

Since 2012 the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign has also used orange to raise awareness of the need for advocacy efforts that focus on prevention, protection and prosecution, and support for victims of gender-based violence.  To learn more and join the campaign, please visit www.zontasaysno.com.  To see more about what the Zonta Club of South Puget Sound’s is doing for the 16 Days of Activism, please visit our Facebook page. For more on our club’s mission and activities, please see our website.

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