Engaging Artists in Efforts to End Violence against Women and Girls
In July 2012 the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign’s Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.
In 2013, the UNiTE campaign focused its Orange Days on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), which focused on the theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Orange Day highlighted issues including safe schools, safe work places and cyber space as a safe space for women and girls. Activities culminated in a call to ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’ from November 25 and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. The Call resulted in ‘orange activities’ in over 50 countries and over 76 million people being reached through social media.
In 2014, UNiTE campaign Orange Day continues to call for actions around the world on specific themes and issues towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This month, UNiTE #OrangeDay will focus on engaging artists in efforts to end violence against women and girls.
ENGAGING ARTISTS IN EFFORTS TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
Artists can use various media to provide a strong collective “voice” to call for an end to violence against women and girls. Music, drama, poetry, fiction and the visual arts are powerful tools in challenging stereotypes and changing perceptions and behaviour. Due to their popular appeal and creative forms of expression, messages conveyed by artists have a broad reach. As change makers and influencers, artists have the potential to affect social change and they play a leading role in the UNiTE Campaign.
The UNiTE Artists Network was launched in 2011 when a group of artists came together in Panama for a workshop on violence against women and girls. At meeting, the artists learned more about the issue and generated ideas, messages and initiatives to raise public awareness and engage in preventing and ending violence against women and girls in their own countries. Together they also created a song, and since the launch of the network, individual members have remained extremely active on the issue, organizing concerts, training sessions, and using media interviews and social media to show their support for preventing and ending violence against women and girls. For example, world renowned Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera has been an outspoken advocate for the campaign, while Barbadian Soca artist Michael “Mikey” Mercer has been active on behalf of the UNiTE campaign, speaking out on the issue to his fans, and writing songs inspired by the issue including recent hit ‘Turnup the Love’ which urges men to come together to stand against violence against women and resolve conflict within relationships peacefully. Costa Rican singer-songwriter Debi Nova has also been active in support of the UNiTE campaign as a Youth Champion and spokesperson.
Other artists around the world have also made powerful contributions to the UNiTE campaign. In Albania, a group of talented artists created an anthem against violence against women and girls. A group of eleven artists performed the song ‘Bring the Sun’ which calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. Musician Noel Cabangon of the Philippines released his inspiring and optimistic song ‘Men Move’, which also calls on men across the world to bring violence to an end, while UNICEF Pacific supported singer Vanessa Quai to produce the song 'No More', a tribute to the UNiTE campaign.
Projects around the world have used art and entertainment to great effect in efforts to end violence against women and girls. With support from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, Puntos de Encuentro, a civil society organization based in Nicaragua is harnessing the popularity of soap operas to address social issues. Puntos de Encuentro produced soap opera Contracorriente (Turning the Tide) which was developed in partnership with other women’s organizations. The drama focuses on a young female protagonist and through her experiences, explores social issues such including violence against women. In parallel to the programme, participatory activities are carried out in schools and the drama is used as a medium through which to explore these issues in safe and open conversations. For more information, watch the documentary made by Puntos de Encuentro En la casa, la cama y la calle about the project. The soap opera has now been show in six countries, while the project has recently been upscaled to support women’s organizations in target countries to develop and implement edutainment (entertainment for the purpose of education) strategies around the world.
ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES
On 25 September, ‘Orange Day’, the UNiTE Campaign calls on artists around the world to take action to end violence against women and girls.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Host a film screening, art exhibition or musical concert to draw attention to the issue. Engage participants in a discussion around key issues of violence against women and girls in your community and how artists can be a powerful force for social change.
- Reach out to national and local artists, painters, actors, photographers, poets, dancers, musicians, drama groups and invite them to participate or speak at the event. Discuss how you could develop a longer term partnership or local network of artists who are active on the issue.
- Artists! Speak out on the issue of violence against women and girls. Share messages and pictures of yourself wearing orange to raise awareness of the pandemic via social media. Has the topic inspired you in your creative projects? Share your poetry, photographs, paintings and songs on the topic at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and https://twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE.
- Share effective initiatives which utilize art as a tool which are aimed at ending violence against women and girls at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE.
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES
25 September is #UNiTE #OrangeDay! Artists have key role to play in ending #VAW. Use your voice! http://ow.ly/x2QGP via @SayNO_UNiTE
Today is #UNiTE #OrangeDay! Reach out to local artists & encourage them to use their art to end #VAW. http://ow.ly/zKzNc via @SayNO_UNiTE
25 September is #OrangeDay. Calling on artists everywhere to wear orange & use your art to end #VAW. http://ow.ly/x2QGP via @SayNO_UNiTE
On #OrangeDay take action to end #VAW. Organize events, use art as a tool to end #VAW. http://ow.ly/x2QGP via @SayNO_UNiTE
25 Sept #OrangeDay is focusing on engaging artists. Do you know of art initiatives to end #VAW? Share them! http://ow.ly/x2QGP via @SayNO_UNiTE
This #OrangeDay, 25 September, the UNiTE campaign highlights artists as key partners in efforts to end violence against women and girls. Have you been involved in projects aimed at preventing and ending violence against women and girls that have engaged artists or used art as a tool of social change? Share you stories at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE.
25 September is UNiTE campaign’s #OrangeDay! This month’s action theme is engaging artists in efforts to end violence against women and girls! Take action by organizing a film screening, performance or concert. Invite local musicians, drama groups and artists to participate or speak at the event. Engage them and your community in discussions about violence against women and girls in your community and how artists can be powerful agents for change. http://ow.ly/x2QGP
Today is #OrangeDay and the UNiTE campaign is calling on artists everywhere to join efforts to end violence against women and girls. Have you been inspired to confront the issue in your artistic projects? Share your songs, poetry, photos and art work on violence against women and girls at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE.
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON