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).
Savera UK, a leading charity that tackles culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to create an activism toolkit to support the global ‘Orange the World’ campaign.
For the second consecutive year, the two organisations are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world. The toolkit provides individuals and organisations with resources and downloadable assets to participate in the UN’s annual 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.
With themes for each day ranging from remembrance, allyship and knowledge, to inclusion, advocacy and action and a bank of resources including social media assets, links to local and national charities and support services and a calendar of local events, the organisations hope that the toolkit will encourage and make it easier for even more people to engage with the campaign later this month.
Both charities highlight that this year’s 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. However, last year, we realised that people wanted to engage and support the Orange the World campaign, but didn’t always know how to or perhaps couldn’t find the resources they needed.
“Our Orange the World 2021 toolkit is a starting point for people. A place where they can find information and ideas for ways that they can take action to tackle gender-based violence and abuse. We have worked with our partners, Zonta Club London, Liverpool City Council and a range of other city partners to highlight the work being done in the city region and beyond and how people can get involved.
“Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as learning about certain forms of gender-based abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact.”
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.”
Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women President, Sharon Langenbeck, added: “As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of gender-based violence are on the rise. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we work together to end violence against women and girls.
“Through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, Zonta clubs around the world are uniting to raise their voices to bring awareness to this issue and advocate on behalf of gender-based violence survivors.”
As part of the campaign, civic buildings and iconic landmarks across the Liverpool City Region and beyond will also once again illuminate orange as part of the campaign, to highlight the issue of gender-based violence/abuse and as a symbol of hope for a future without fear of abuse or harassment for women and girls.
Last year, partners in the city region united to illuminate civic buildings and iconic landmarks including Liverpool Town Hall, Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Merseyside Police Headquarters, while Premier League football team, Everton FC, also lit Goodison Park stadium in solidarity with the campaign.
The Orange the World campaign takes place between Thursday 25th November 2021 and 10th December 2021. To download the toolkit and see how you can get involved, download the PDF from www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/
From Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, we’re #SpeakingOut against domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
We want to rally people to take action to ensure our towns, cities and homes are safe spaces where everyone can live without fear of violence, abuse or harassment. There is no excuse for abuse.
Throughout the 16 days, we’ll be using themes to represent ways in which we can all become better activists, and on Day 13 we’re encouraging you to discuss important resources with your community.
To help aid these discussions, Savera UK and Zonta Club London have included a list of great resources you can start with below.
The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts
This memoir was written by multi-award-winning journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, whose career spanned four decades. Each chapter explores the lives of women living in different and the atrocities they face. In the book Sue, who died shortly after writing it, explores Ireland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, covering topics including FGM and forced marriage.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I found it a really useful snapshot into how far women have come but more importantly, the journey many countries and communities need to make. It was very well-written, easy to follow and gave a good brief insight into different ways women are oppressed.”
The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal
This book by Savera UK patron Nazir Afzal OBE offers readers a look into the workings of the criminal justice system and his experience of prosecuting complex and harrowing cases. Nazir is the former Chief Prosecutor for North West England and an expert in de-radicalisation. He campaigns on issues around child sexual exploitation and gender-based violence. His book is described as a “searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth”.
On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose
Another recommendation from Zonta Club London is On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose which asks ‘Why has violence, and especially gender-based violence become so much more prominent and visible across the world?’ The book tracks the multiple forms of today’s violence – historic and intimate, public and private – as they spread throughout our social fabric, offering a new, provocative account of violence in our time.
See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill
Dianne from Zonta Club London also recommends picking up this book by investigative journalist Jess Hill, who is seeking to change the question from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he do it?’ In the book, she unpacks power, control and domestic violence while putting perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse in the spotlight.
Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh
Gypsy Boy is a memoir by Mikey Walsh, who grew up in the culture of Romany Gypsies. This book, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, explores gender roles and expectations and ‘honour’-based abuse. It also covers the perception of sexuality being detrimental to one’s ‘honour’.
‘The Community Safety Podcast’ by Jim Nixon
In this podcast host Jim Nixon, a community safety professional and former police officer, interviews various guests and discusses ways in which communities can be made safer. In one episode, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, he speaks with Caroline Goode, a former Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police who worked on the investigation into the ‘honour’-killing of Banaz Mahmod.
In the episode, which lasts for one hour and a half, Caroline discusses the police failures in the case and what efforts she personally made to see justice brought.
‘Honour’ ITV Programme
This two-part series portrays the investigation into the murder of Banaz Mahmod, who was the victim of an ‘honour’-killing. Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode (mentioned above) and the series offers an insight into the complex nature of ‘honour’ killings. You can watch this on ITV Hub here.
‘A Survivor’s Plea to End Child Marriage’ by Payzee Mahmod
Sister of ‘honour’-killing victim Banaz Mahmod and Savera UK Ambassador, Payzee Mahmod delivers a powerful TED talk in which she explains her own experience of child marriage at the age of just 16.
Payzee details the tragic marriage, which prompted her to self-harm, and her small acts of rebellion in efforts to escape before her divorce at the age of 18, which she underwent while arranging her sister’s funeral.
Unorthodox is a series on Netflix which examines the intricacies of forced marriage and gender roles in the Hasidic Jewish community through the eyes of an Orthodox Jewish woman who flees to start a new life abroad.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I think this is very important because it shows HBA in a community that most people wouldn’t affiliate it with so it offers a counter-narrative.
“I find counter-narratives important to prevent prejudice and racist narratives as people often associate HBA with specific cultures when it actually transcends many different communities in different ways.”
‘Empower a girl, transform a community’ by Kakenya Ntaiya
This TED talk sees Kakenya discuss her work empowering vulnerable girls to bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. You can watch the talk in full here.
‘End Violence against children for a better future for us all’ by Howard Taylor
In this 10 minute TED Talk Howard Taylor discusses the huge numbers of children who experience violence at home, at school, online or in their communities. Taylor talks about why we have an unprecedented opportunity to end this violence and create a better future for every child. Watch the TED talk here.
Works by Jasvinder Sanghera
Both Savera UK and Zonta Club London recommend taking a look at various pieces of work by Jasvinder Sanghera, an ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage survivor and campaigner.
The first is Shame, a true story in which Jasvinder, founder of charity Karma Nirvana, explains her experience of ‘honour’-based abuse. When she was fourteen her parents told her she would be married and when she refused they disowned her. This autobiography is the story of what happened after she ran away from home to escape from a world where ‘honour’ was paramount.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It’s interesting because the perpetrator is her mother so it offers a narrative that many people wouldn’t expect.”
Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London also recommends Jasvinder’s works Daughters of Shame and Shame Travels. Jasvinder’s charity, Karma Nirvana, works to fight HBA and has helped establish refuge centres for South Asian men and women fleeing forced marriages. To learn more about the work Jasvinder does you can watch her TED Talk on “Fighting forced marriages and ‘honour’-based abuse” by clicking here.
We would love to hear the resources you have come across, send them to @SaveraUK on social media and we may include them here.
This year, from Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, Savera UK is joining forces with Zonta Club London to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in our Orange the World 2021 campaign.
We are speaking out about; domestic abuse, rape, harassment and hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
As we explore different themes throughout 16 days of activism, we are asking you to think about what you can personally do to help make small changes in your corner of the world.
One way to inspire and ignite conversation is to write your own opinion piece.
This can prompt others to share their own thoughts and not only discuss the topic but create an online community of people who want to see change happen.
You don’t have to be an award-winning journalist to write a powerful opinion piece; you can simply share it on your own blog or pitch your idea to other bloggers with similar values.
With that in mind, we have pulled together some tips on how you can create an effective and heartfelt opinion piece that will resonate with your readers and encourage action.
Have something to say
Writing about a topic where you don’t have much to say will be obvious to your readers.
Your chosen subject needs to be an issue you care deeply about, and where you want to have an impact in bringing about change.
When you know what cause you are passionate about, you can start considering what specifically you think needs to be remedied – and how that differs or aligns with other people’s opinions.
Make your voice stand out from the crowd
While you might have sparked the activist in you and be inspired to create change, you need to make sure you don’t get lost in a sea of voices.
Think about how you can bring your own personal experiences to the opinion piece in a way that you are comfortable doing.
By sharing your own story, or bringing a unique perspective to an issue, you will create a distinctive voice that can cut through the noise and get straight to the heart of why change is needed.
Keep it simple
Avoid trying to impress your readers with fancy words and dense language.
You can alienate your audience if you try to over-complicate things by throwing in too many unnecessary points that take away from your message.
Instead, choose to focus on getting your message across as clearly as you can. By doing so your story will resonate with more people, and your opinion piece will be more accessible.
Once you have shared your own thoughts and experiences, encourage your readers to have a frank conversation around the realities of the issue.
A simple prompt or question at the end of your piece creates a way for readers to start a debate without having to immediately divulge their own experience, creating space for safe and open conversation.
It’s these discussions that lead to ideas, collaboration and action within the community.
Savera UK invites you to write your own opinion piece around the subject of violence against women and prompt vital debate to help create change within your community.