Buildings and landmarks across the Liverpool City Region and Cheshire will be illuminated bright orange on Saturday 25th November, as part of an international campaign aimed at ending gender-based violence, with the iconic St John’s Beacon joining the campaign for the first time.
The colour orange, used in the global “Orange the World” campaign, is intended to be a symbol of hope for a brighter future, free of violence or abuse, a message supported by Savera UK’s “No Excuse for Abuse” campaign.
Other city region landmarks that will illuminate orange include Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside Police Headquarters, the Greystone Footbridge (Knowsley), the Mersey Gateway Bridge (Halton), Wallasey Town Hall (Wirral) and the Steve Prescott Bridge (St Helens).
A number of Cheshire landmarks will also light orange, in a campaign supported by PCC John Dwyer, Savera UK, Chester Soroptimists, Cheshire West and Chester Council and other organisations committed to addressing gender-based violence and abuse in the area. Cheshire buildings illuminating include Chester Town Hall, Eastgate Clock and Newgate in Chester, Wyvern House in Winsford, and Ellesmere Port Library.
Through its partnership with Zonta UK, the campaign will also see Defra buildings across the UK illuminate in support of the initiative.
Dianne Jeans, from Zonta UK, said: “Zonta UK is delighted to be working again with Savera UK to amplify our voices during this campaign, and commend Defra for participating in the 16 days of activism through lighting their buildings, becoming a White Ribbon organisation and promoting workplace discussion of gender-based violence and abuse.”
The illumination will take place on the same day that charities Savera UK and Zonta UK will march through Liverpool city centre from Williamson Square to call for an end to ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), harmful practices and all forms of gender-based abuse, after Savera UK has seen an increase of almost 6% in new referrals into its service and a continuing growth in demand.
The event will start at 1:45pm with a drumming performance from Katumba and some short speeches before the march will begin, heading through town with Movema’s Sankofa and Liver Birds performing to celebrate the beauty of culture.
There will be a further stop along the route when Savera UK survivor ambassador, Khatra Paterson, will share her story, and readings from Savera UK’s own clients will also be shared.
Savera UK is a leading national organisation that helps survivors and those at risk of HBA and harmful practices, which include forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and conversion therapy. Zonta UK is part of Zonta International, a global organisation that stands for women’s rights and advocates for equality, education and an end to child marriage and gender-based violence.
Each year, the 25th of November marks the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the United Nation’s “Orange the World” campaign and annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said: “This is such an important campaign, and I am glad to see it continue and grow year on year. It’s essential we do everything possible to increase awareness to those that may be unaware of what ‘honour-based’ abuse is or even more importantly, reach out to victims and potential victims to give them the courage to speak out and seek support.“We know, there may only be one chance, to reach out and save a person from a lifetime of abuse. Marching through the city, I hope we can increase understanding through shared stories and visual impact and bring some light to those who have suffered and who may still be suffering.“I am proud to work closely with Savera UK through my Victim Care Merseyside service to provide support for anyone who has been affected, ensuring they receive the advice, care and help they need. If you or someone you know is a victim of ‘honour-based’ abuse, you can receive support from Savera UK.”
Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, Head of Investigations Protecting Vulnerable People, Merseyside Police said: “We work closely with Savera UK to raise awareness of so-called ‘honour’-based abuse within the wider public, as well as reaching out to those who are more familiar with this.
“We want to empower victims to seek support whether that is through us and our dedicated team of specially trained officers, a charity or a friend or family member that you trust. There is still a level of under-reporting in relation to this crime and we must curb this trend. ‘Honour’-based violence is not a taboo subject – by raising awareness, we can encourage others to spot the signs, protect the vulnerable and help us bring offenders to justice.
“If you are a victim of this horrible crime, or know someone at risk, please speak up and we’ll help – report either directly to us @MerPolCC, by calling 101 or contact @CrimestoppersUK anonymously. You can also contact Savera UK at www.saverauk.co.uk.”
The #16Days campaign ends on Sunday 10th December, Human Rights Day, when a number of the participating landmarks are expected to light up orange once again in a show of solidarity and support. Warrington Town Hall will also illuminate Orange on 10th December.
Image by Jennifer Bruce