As part of a global campaign launched by the United Nations, activists across the world are calling for greater support on an issue that continues to plague all societies, regardless of wealth or education. The U.N.'s Orange The World campaign to end violence against women and girls will see hundreds of iconic monuments around the world light up in solidarity.
Set to take place for 16 days — from International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 to Human Rights Day on December 10 — the campaign's aim is to highlight the horrifying pandemic against women.
According to U.N. Women's statistics, 1 in 3 women today have experienced sexual or physical violence, whether in the privacy of their homes or on the streets.
"Violence against women and girls remains one of the most serious — and the most tolerated — human rights violations," U.N. Under-Secretary-General and U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a press release.
"It is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality and discrimination. Its continued presence is one of the clearest markers of societies out of balance and we are determined to change that."
According to the U.N. press release, the color orange symbolizes a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and girls.
Over the past few decades, various countries have made concerted efforts to protect women and girls against violence. The U.N. Women press release states that 125 countries today have laws against sexual harassment and 119 against domestic violence — but only 52 countries have laws against marital rape.
Despite this, violence against women and girls takes place in every country, whether it is domestic abuse, outdated traditions such as female genital mutilation, or relentless Internet bullying that can quickly become deadly.
U.N. Women stresses that the way to eliminate such violence is to address its root cause: gender inequality. Though envisioning a world where gender equality is the norm might seem a long way away, Orange The World is one of the efforts that, with everyone's support, can bring us closer to that goal.
Cover image via Pal Teravagimov / Shutterstock