Ahead of the march there were speeches from Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London and Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell, as well as the reading of Melika’s* story – a survivor supported by Savera UK.
After a moment of reflection, when the names of those lost to gender-based violence and ‘honour’-based abuse were read out, the march began, led by Movema’s stunning Sankofa Bird, performed by Angelina Able.
The Sankofa Bird is one of four birds from Movema’s ‘Taking Flight’ production, which have been inspired by their artists’ experiences of migration and informed by the refugee and asylum seeker communities with who they work.
‘Taking Flight’ explores birds’ and humans’ desire for freedom and flight, and the role of modern aeronautics to enable this, with the four symbolic birds to represent futuristic cyborgs, whose bodies are part aircraft, part bird, part human.
The concept of “Sankofa” is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. Visually and symbolically, “Sankofa” is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolising the future) in its mouth.
It teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.
Movema’s Sankofa Bird combines the symbolism of “Sankofa” and the design of passenger aircraft and was selected to support the message of the march – one of belonging, overcoming struggles and adversity and freedom.
Hundreds of people were engaged by the march and performance, before the group joined the vigil for Liverpool’s Lost Women, led by Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, Amadudu and RASA Merseyside, in a show of solidarity and commitment to tackling gender-based violence in the city and around the world.
The march marked the start of the annual global Orange the World campaign and start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.
Several civic buildings and landmarks also illuminated orange in solidarity with the campaign, including the Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton, Merseyside Police Headquarters and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral.
Savera UK’s campaign will continue throughout November and December, with the charity inviting people to do a #5KForThe5000 and help raise awareness and funds to help it continue its work campaigning, educating, and advocating for and supporting survivors: https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/5KtoEndHBAFundraisingEvent
Today (Friday 25th November), Savera UK and Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) will march through Liverpool city centre to raise awareness of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and other forms of gender-based violence.
The march marks the start of the annual global Orange the World campaign and start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.
There will be speeches from Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London, Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell and survivor stories from 4pm, after which the group will march through Liverpool city centre.
The march will be accompanied by Movema’s Sankofa Bird, representing belonging and freedom, and will end in Derby Square to join the “Liverpool’s Lost Women” vigil, led by Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, RASA Merseyside and Amadudu.
Several civic buildings and landmarks will also illuminate orange in solidarity with the campaign, including Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton, Merseyside Police Headquarters and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral.
The annual awareness day is even more poignant for the city region this year, as it is also the first anniversary of the deaths of two victims of male violence – Ava White and Malak ‘Katy’ Adabzadeh.
Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “Gender-based violence and abuse, including the specific issue of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices that we as an organisation tackle, must be stopped.
“We will march through Liverpool in memory of the 5,000 people who die globally each year due to HBA and in protest against these practices, which amount to nothing more than abuse of human rights. We hope people will join us and support our mission to eradicate HBA and harmful practices for good.”
Speaking of the illumination of Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “Sadly, domestic abuse is an issue that affects people across the UK, and Knowsley is no exception. Not only does it have a major impact upon those directly affected, it also negatively affects families and the wider community.
“Earlier this year we launched our Domestic Abuse strategy which outlines how we support victims and children if they experience domestic abuse and sets out how partners will work together to stop the cycle of abuse.
“Supporting International Day of the Prevention of Violence Against Women is a key date in our calendar and illuminating the Greystone Footbridge is a sign of our support. We will continue to ensure our residents know that help really is just a phone call away – please seek help and don’t suffer in silence.”
Savera UK’s campaign will continue throughout November and December, with the charity inviting people to do a #5KForTheFiveThousand and help raise awareness and funds to help it continue its work campaigning, educating, and advocating for and supporting survivors. You can register to join the fundraising campaign here.
Savera UK and Zonta Club London’s “Orange the World” toolkit, which contains information, resources and ideas for speaking out against gender-based violence and abuse, can also be found here.
If you are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse or other harmful practices, call Savera UK’s national helpline on 0800 107 0726 (operates Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm).
Iconic buildings and landmarks across the Liverpool City Region will be illuminated bright orange from this evening (Thursday 25th November), as part of a campaign aimed at ending gender-based violence.
We are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world, through a series of events and initiatives that will take place during the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism, which run from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November to Human Rights Day on 10th December.
The campaign will begin with the illumination of landmarks in the Liverpool City Region and beyond in memory of all those lost to male violence, but also as a symbol of hope for a brighter future free of fear. Landmarks being illuminated include Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Cunard Building, World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside Police Headquarters, Rose Hill and its Canning Place offices, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral. Everton FC will support the campaign by illuminating Goodison Park in solidarity, while Sefton Council will be “lighting up digitally” on 25th November to mark the start of the 16 days of the campaign. Outside of the city region, the Library of Birmingham will also illuminate in support of the campaign and individuals across the UK are also being invited to light an orange candle or light at home after sunset and place it in a window, as a mark of remembrance and symbol of hope.
Our campaign also features an activismtoolkit that will make it easier for people to participate in and engage with the 16 days of activism.The toolkit addresses themes such as allyship, advocacy and knowledge, and includes a bank of resources including social media assets and fact sheets, information about local and national organisations tackling gender-based violence, and events that people can attend to learn more.
The campaign will culminate in an online panel discussion on Thursday 9th December (4pm – 6pm), Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse, which will tackle the harmful ways that culture is wrongly conflated with human rights abuses against women and girls.
Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim and Britt Gustawsson of Zonta International will be joined by a panel including Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director, Global Cause Partnerships from UNICEF USA, Dr Elham Manea from Zurich University, a political scientist specialised on the Arab Middle East, Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Prosecutor for the North West (UK) and Savera UK patron, and Dr Leyla Hussein OBE, a psychotherapist, specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse.
This year’s campaign ‘Orange the World’ campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man.
A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.
Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.
“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as educating yourself about different forms of abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact. Our Orange the World toolkit provides a starting point for people to enact change.”
Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “We know there are women and girls – relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues – who are suffering gender-based abuse and violence in our communities every single day.
“Today, and over the next 16 days, we want to make it clear that there is no excuse for abuse. This campaign is about demonstrating our shared commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls. By lighting up some of Merseyside’s most iconic building in orange, we are sending out a visible message that are determined to create a brighter future for women and girls, free from violence and abuse.
“I would urge any woman or girl who is experiencing abuse to please reach out for help. There are many fantastic organisations on hand to offer care and support across Merseyside, please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for more information.”
Merseyside Police ACC, Ngaire Waine, said: “As a society we all need to take a strong stance against attacks on women and girls, who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.
“Alongside our partners we are committed to making the streets, homes and environments across Merseyside safer for women and girls so they can enjoy their lives to the full without fear.
“Merseyside Police will continue to target perpetrators of this abhorrent abuse and we will support and work with women and girls who are subjected to stalking or harassment, violence, domestic abuse, honour-based abuse or any other crimes based on their gender, so we can identify offenders and put them before the courts.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said: “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence and abuse, and tackling it is a priority. I am proud of the vital work being done by frontline organisations across the city, providing much-needed specialist support to survivors. The Orange the World campaign raises awareness and understanding of the issue and symbolises our city’s commitment to eliminating all forms of violence.”