Some of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings will glow orange this Friday in support of a U.N. campaign to break down the wall of silence surrounding domestic violence.
Friday 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the city is showing its support with a two week long campaign to raise awareness about how people can support friends and relatives by helping them to speak out.
Orange is the official colour of the UNiTE campaign, symbolizing a brighter future free from violence against women and girls, and several buildings will be lit in solidarity between 5pm-7pm.
As well as the lighting up of venues such as the Cunard Building, Liverpool Town Hall, Everyman Theatre, FACT, the Bluecoat and Merseyside Police’s HQ – there will also be a series of ‘invisible pavement messages’ to illustrate the hidden problem of silence.
Liverpool DJ Ellie Phillips, who last year publically spoke out about her own experiences, will help launch the campaign on Friday by revealing the first hidden advert in Derby Square – in the shadow of the city’s Law Courts.
Radio adverts will also be aired on behalf of Liverpool’s CitySafe partnership to promote the website: www.womensaid.org.uk which acts as a one stop shop in providing support and advice for those suffering domestic violence.
According to the United Nations, 1 in 9 women in the UK annually suffer from domestic violence and two are killed each week.
The U.N. has called on international support for their UNiTE campaign which will end after 16 days of action on 10 December, Human Rights Day, which celebrates the signing of the famous U.N. charter in 1948.
Last year, as part of the initiative hundreds of activities took place in over 90 countries, and 177,000 tweets and Instagram posts with the hashtag #orangetheworld from 84,500 different users reached 311 million unique Twitter and Instagram users across the world. This year people are asked to also use the hashtag #endvaw
The UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Towards Women and Girls is also marked by the White Ribbon campaign, which was started by men to show their support in eradicating violence towards women.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner will also mark the day by visiting Tomorrow's Women Wirral (TWW) alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of the Wirral. The charity, which supports vulnerable women to help them make positive life choices, is hosting an afternoon of speeches, crafts and poertry.
Jane Kennedy said: “It is completely unacceptable that violence remains a part of daily life for some women and girls, either in the community or in their own homes.
“Today we are taking a stand against abuse to make it clear it will not be tolerated. By wearing orange and lighting up some of Merseyside’s most iconic buildings in this vibrant colour, we are sending out a clear, visible message that we are supporting the UNiTE campaign for a brighter future for women and girls, free from violence and abuse.
“I hope that some of those women who do feel frightened and trapped realise they don’t need to suffer in silence and that there are lots of people and organisations who will help them if they need it. Merseyside Police is one of those organisations and I’m proud that headquarters will be glowing orange today to let all victims know that the police are on hand to help you to get the care and protection you need if you are escaping an abusive or violent situation.”
Councillor Emily Spurrell, Liverpool City Council’s Mayoral Lead for Safety and Chair of CitySafe, said: ‘’Sadly violence against women and girls is an issue that even in this day and age needs tackling. Abuse comes in many forms and with the rise of the internet and social media means abusers have developed new ways to intimidate and silence their victims.
‘’Friends and relatives of victims have a huge to play in spotting signs and offering to listen. Often it is the first step in speaking out which is the hardest, and as one our pavement messages says – abusers love the sound of silence.
‘’I’m delighted we have such iconic landmarks turning orange on Friday evening to showcase Liverpool ‘s support but even if people can wear an item of orange clothing on the day and share that on social media that small gesture would be greatly appreciated.
’’By raising awareness and providing the tools to educate people hopefully we can break down these walls and save lives.’’
Liverpool’s campaign champion Ellie Phillips added: "I'm supporting the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women because it's a human rights violation that is far too often swept under the rug or completely silenced.
‘’There are so many women who are trapped in situations where they feel unable to speak out, so I think that it's therefore vital that those who can speak out, do so.
"I think it's extremely important that we educate women and girls of all ages to understand the warning signs of violent behaviour, so that they are able to spot the red flags early on.
‘’Furthermore, it's important that we teach both young men and women about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. Education about violence against women in all its forms, isn’t just a school’s responsibility, a parent’s responsibility or a charity’s responsibility – it’s everyone’s responsibility."
Events across the region
Other events taking place across the region to mark the campaign include:
St Helens Council will fly the White Ribbon flag above the town hall and run a number of awareness-raising activities including a ‘walk a mile in her shoes’ event, which will see male representatives from the council - and partner agencies, including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner –sport high heels and take part in a walk around the town centre– starting from the town hall at 1pm on November 25th.
Local agencies will also be taking part in a unique training event which will see a compelling theatre production of ‘Mockingbird High’ –produced by Certain Curtain Theatre Productions, which examines patterns of abusive behaviour and its long-term impact on children. There will be a live performance at 3pm on December 5th at St Helens Town Hall.
An afternoon of speeches, crafts and poetry will be held at Tomorrow's Women Wirral (TWW) and attended by the Police Commissioner, the Mayor and the Mayoress.
Tranmere Rovers FC are dedicating three matches to support Wirral’s Zero Tolerance to Domestic Abuse Campaign and supporting the Women’s Aid Campaign ‘Football United Against Domestic Abuse’