Within the scope of 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence against women, 9 Eylul University hosted “Orange Summit” with the participation of 4 other universities’ and 2 high schools’ students. The aim of the summit is to create awareness among university and high school students regarding the elimination of all types of violence against women. For the duration of the 16 Days of Activism, participating schools’ students ran awareness raising campaigns at their schools, successfully delivering messages peer-to-peer to prevent and eliminate violence against women.
The students who volunteered to take part in awareness raising activities came up with creative and engaging ways to communicate with their classmates the description and the types of violence women are subjected to.
In this year’s summit, close to 500 people consisting of students and academics attended. The message packed and colourful event is coordinated by 9 Eylul University’s Faculty of Business academic staff and students.
In the summit, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Turkey Representative Karl Kulessa and UN Women Turkey, Acting Head of the Office Sabine Freizer delivered speeches.
In his speech, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Turkey Representative Karl Kulessa said “Around the world, women and girls are victims of countless acts of violence. The range of gender-based violence seems endless at times, occurring literally from womb to tomb.”
In his speech, Kulessa noted that there are various types of violence against women, among them, he continued to add, prenatal sex selection (in favour of male babies), female infanticide, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse and harassment at home, in schools and the workplace, dating violence, forced marriages, child marriages, trafficking, forced prostitution and honour killings can be counted.
Kulessa said also that “violence against women and girls occur in every segment of society. We see that gender based violence is a global pandemic. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women globally suffer such violence during their lifetime. This figure f is 1 in 5 or EU countries”.
UNFPA Turkey Representative Karl Kulessa highlighted the fact that child marriage is a form of violence with a global prevalence of 650 million women and girls.
Noting the number of high number of male participants in the hall, Kulessa addressed to them by saying “Boys must learn to speak up for their sisters. Men, boys, and community leaders, religious leaders, teachers must become proud participants in the campaign addressing and preventing violence against women and changing gender attitudes”.
Kulessa ended his speech with a call to all relevant government agencies, institutions and NGOs to combine their efforts to fight against this “public problem” which, he added, “is not just a matter for the family or as something to be kept in the private domain”.
UN Women Turkey, Acting Head of the Office Sabine Freizer said in her speech that “violence against women has no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. It doesn’t only mean physical violence. It also includes sexual, verbal, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. For example, preventing women’s economic participation in the society is a direct result of economic violence against women. Child and forced marriage is a form of violence.
This year, together with thousands of women all around the world we say #hearmetoo.
I am sure that young students like yourselves will be the powerhouse for ending violence against women”.
At the end of the summit, United Nations Population Fund Gender Program Coordinator Meltem Ağduk thanked all the students who took active part in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign at their schools and to the organizing committee of the “Orange Summit” for their contributions to make this event a success in creating awareness. Ağduk also added that “As UNFPA Turkey, we are proud and happy to be part of such a beautiful initiative, which helps us to reach brilliant students like yourselves. I see that you are all willing to make a change for all. So, I am happy to see so many young girls and especially boys in the room who are eager to learn more and make a difference. Thank you all for being with us today”.
The summit ended with a declaration of an “orange manifesto” penned by the students in which all students pledged to be part of the process to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women.