If you start to wonder why orange seems to be the popular colour over the next few weeks, it will be because it represents the UN-declared “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”  which begins on Wednesday, 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and which will run until Human Rights Day on 10 December.

Marking the start of the 16 Days will be the annual Walk Against Family Violence which has been organised by Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre and is to be held throughout Victoria. PRONIA’s staff will be taking part in the event and is encouraging members of the community to register and take part in the event in their area (see the the end of the story).

“Participants can ‘walk from home’ and the options for the walk are many, you can walk alone around the block, with a friend, or if there is a local group, you can participate,” said Dorothy Hatzopoulos, PRONIA‘s Public Relations and Communications Officer.

“Orange is the themed colour of 16 Days of Activism and all participants are encouraged to wear something orange during the walk, said Ms Hatzopoulos.

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The organisation is also inviting members of the community to contribute a piece of art to share on PRONIA social media platforms.

“In order to allow people to express themselves and raise their voices in their own way, the contributions are open to all art forms, such as painting, video, photography, poetry, music, and it doesn’t have to be created by you, it could be someone else’s as long as it resinates with you and you provide the credits.

“All contributions will be posted in the social media as part of PRONIA’s campaign during the 16 Days of Activism,” said Ms Hatzopoulos.

In all, 79 Victorian councils under the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)and 18 specialist non-government organisations, including PRONIA, will be involved in events that are aimed at engaging their communities in conversations about “respect”, equity and preventing family violence.

The events will include webinars, panel discussions, multilingual social media campaigns, public art competitions, online storytelling, bystander action training, videos of local leaders talking about ‘respect’, installing giant signs and lighting up buildings in orange.

The campaign this year aims to support people to understand what respect looks like, why respect is important and how we put respect into practice in our everyday lives.

Cr Josh Gilligan, interim President of the MAV, said: “We know that men’s violence against women is more likely to occur in an environment where women are disrespected, undervalued and discriminated against. We are encouraging people to ‘call it out’ when they witness disrespect towards women and when it is safe to do so.”

“During the 16 days, PRONIA will be working hard to create public awareness about what needs to change in order to prevent it from happening in the first place in our communities, in our regions and in the world at large,” said Ms Hatzopoulos.

This year, PRONIA will support the Respect Victoria campaign theme of “Respect Women: Call It Out (Respect Is) which coincides with the 16 Days of Activism.

♦ To register for the Walk Against Family Violence tomorrow. To register, visit the SAFE STEPS website, select ‘join a group’ and search for PRONIA.

Follow the link 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign to find out more about campaign events and resources.

To contact Safe Steps Victoria’s 24/7 family violence support service call 1800 015 188 or visit the Safe Steps website.