Zonta raises awareness for women

Kaaren Colwell, Rabia Aftab, Jane Smith and Kelly-Ann Tansley with one of the 'orange ladies' that will be scattered around Port Lincoln for the 16 Days of Activism, raising awareness for the elimination of violence against women. PHOTO: CHARLOTTE MARTIN 376030_01

Zonta Club of Port Lincoln hosted a dinner last Saturday on day one of the United Nation Women’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

A three-course meal was enjoyed by guests who added an orange flair to their attire for the night, in honour of the United Nations’ chosen colour to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls.

Yarredi Services organised the guest speaker for the night, Rabia Aftab of Zahra Services.

Zonta Club of Port Lincoln president Kaaren Coleman introduced the evening with a poignant reminder of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s observation.

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river, we need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in,” she recited.

Ms Aftab was joined by Zahra chief executive officer Kelly-Ann Tansley for support and spoke about her move to Australia from Pakistan.

At the time she was in a marriage experiencing domestic violence.

Ms Aftab said her experience leaving her marriage in a new country that did not recognise her Pakistani university qualifications meant she faced many challenges, especially with South Australian systems as she tried to establish her independence.

Ms Tansley reminded the audience that in the past week, it was alleged four women in South Australia had died due to domestic and family violence.

She urged residents to back a call to parliament for a Royal Commission into family violence.

A letter template can be found at zahrafoundation.org.au/advocacy – this letter, along with resident’s full name and full address can be emailed to the Premier if they wish to support the call.

The evening had a range of representatives from different service providers present, including Family Violence Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation, West Coast Youth and Community Services and Yarredi Services.

The Port Lincoln foreshore lights will be lit in orange for the full 16 days, as organised by Zonta.

Residents can keep an eye out for the ‘orange ladies’ – timber cutouts painted orange that will be scattered around town for the 16 days.

Orange finger buns will also be available at the Beach Bakery for a limited time.

The hashtags to raise awareness for the cause are #generationequality #spreadtheword and #orangetheworld.

The 16 Days of Activism ends on Sunday, December 10 – Human Rights Day.