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UNiTE To End Violence Against Women

Ora​nge is the New Blue

By: Jasmyn A.


 Abbey girls brighten the halls by wearing orange shirts to support 
the United Nations’ UNiTE to end violence against women campaign.


While walking down the Abbey’s hallways on October 25, you may have encountered students and teachers wearing orange shirts. These shirts were worn in support of the United Nations’ UNiTE to end violence against women campaign - a day each month where awareness of violence against women is raised through the wearing orange shirts. The presidents of the Women’s Rights Club, Lily Downing-Saliani and Sophie Harriman, were highly encouraged by their visit to the United Nations last spring and decided to bring this event to our school.


“Our first Orange Day was a success as many girls bought shirts to support the cause,” said Sophie Harriman. Next month, on November 25th, orange shirts will be worn again in support of “Ending Violence against Women and Girls” for the month of November.


According to UN Women, Orange Days are meant to raise awareness of the “implications and consequences of violence against women and girls within the most marginalized groups, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others.” The UN Women’s Council has different action themes for Orange Day each month. Themes for 2017 so far have included  “Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities” in March, “Violence against Women and Girl Refugees” in June, and “Cyber Violence against Women” in July.


This month’s theme was “Violence against Women in Rural Communities.” As a school community, we thanked Loretto Sister Ephigenia, who is working with girls in rural Kenya by helping to bring an end to female genital mutilation. In the past, Loretto Abbey helped fundraise for solar panels that were installed in her Abundant Life Centre. Beyond a global context, it is important for us to also look at this theme at home. Studies have shown that women in rural areas in Canada are twice as likely as their urban counterparts to be victims of domestic violence.


Due to the importance of this event, the Orange Shirt Campaign will be continued at the Abbey - not just on the 25th of November, but on the 25th of every month. Owners of bright orange shirts will be adding on decorations, like slogans, drawings, and words onto their shirt throughout the year to symbolize the specific focus of each month.


“The enthusiasm, on the part of both students and staff, indicates the incredible need to put the UN’s Orange Shirt Campaign in place at Loretto Abbey. This is the first, necessary step in our education and awareness around the difficult issues that women face in communities around the world. The shirts not only remind us of how fortunate we are, but that there is so much work to be done for those who may lack a voice,” said Ms. Caprara, a teacher moderator of the Women’s Rights Club.

The turnout of our first orange shirt was amazing and I look forward to seeing everyone wearing them every month. This is an initiative that we hope will carry on for years to come,” said Lily Downing-Saliani, co-president of the Women’s Rights Club. 

The Women’s Rights Club hopes that students, teachers, and staff at our school will continue to participate in and support these events. If you do not already have an orange shirt and you want to join the movement, come to room 436 with five dollars to make a small purchase that will make a big difference. See Ms. Caprara, Mr. Lopes, Ms. Racioppo, or Ms. Steele if you would like further information.