Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes and...VAW???

Pumpkins with carved faces and candles greet children in search of candy. Sweet potatoes, mixed with brown sugar and cooked, ready for a wonderful feast. That is plenty of orange for most people; however, a worldwide movement is calling for people around the world to stand up against VAW (Violence Against Women) by wearing orange for 16 Days.

Is Violence Against Women really that big of an issue? When you consider a few of the Fast Facts published by the UN it is clear how widespread it is and the many forms it takes.

  • One study in Europe found that 60 percent of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.
  • The first sexual experience of some 30 percent of women was forced. The percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation, with up to 45 percent reporting that the experience was forced.
  • Approximately 130 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, explains the call to UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign, "Millions of people across the world are uniting under the banner colour orange, chosen to symbolize the brighter future of a world free from violence against women and girls. This year, in a sign of the growing momentum for change, orange lights will illuminate iconic landmarks from the historic ruins at Petra in Jordan to Niagara Falls in North America."

We will be sharing more about this campaign and the images we have gathered. For more updates, follow our Orange STL Facebook page or check out #OrangeTheWorld, #16Days, @UN_Women, and #OrangeSTL on Twitter.

Read more of Ban Ki-moon's message here.

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