On Thursday, November 25, we kicked off the “Paint the World Orange” campaign. There are 16 days of activism with the urgent call to action on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. If you have not experienced violence against women, surely you know someone who has. Almost 1 in 3 women has been abused in her lifetime. With the participation of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chile in this campaign we want to help put an end to violence against women and girls NOW! The Embassy had the great honor of sponsoring the orange lighting of the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center (GAM) in order to give visibility to violence against women, which has also increased considerably during the pandemic. At the inaugural ceremony of the campaign, the Counselor of our embassy had the honor of giving an emotional speech. We feel that it was a very powerful speech and that we have to share it with the rest of the world. It is already! No more violence against women!
On this important day I would like to share a few words with you. My name is Lisette den Breems. I grew up in Holland. I had an uncomplicated childhood there. I hated extremes since I was young. I always looked at everything from different perspectives. Always defending the right to have different points of view.
But there were exceptions. I remember like it was yesterday when I read a lot about the civil war in Yugoslavia. An article with a photo of women who were systematically abused, raped, as part of a war strategy. The image didn’t let go of me. Every time I read about sexual violence against women and girls, perpetuated from an unfounded feeling of superiority, I felt an incredible rage, and an urge to combat this violence. I’ve never lost that. Not in my diplomatic career, not the day before yesterday, when I read the statements of the mp-elect Kaiser. Any form of violence, including instigating violence, is unacceptable.
That is why I am very honored to be here with all of you. This campaign is very important. My government believes so. That is why we contribute to make it possible to illuminate the GAM in orange tonight. To draw attention to violence against women, which can take many forms. Domestic violence, sexual violence, marital rape, human trafficking, economic and psychological violence, online harassment and verbal abuse. Violence that can never be justified. A problem that should never be underestimated.
If we do not address the root causes of violence, our efforts to eliminate it will be significantly less effective.
And one of the roots of violence against women is in inequality, in unequal power relations. These can be magnified in times of conflict. But inequality is also embedded in the stereotypes that we use every day. Charity activities at my son’s school, where dolls are given for girls and balls for boys. We must all be aware of these stereotypes and eradicate them.
The fight against violence against women is not a matter of the left or right. It belongs to all of us. Almost 1 in 3 women has been abused in her lifetime. And in times of crisis, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts, and climate disasters. It was also the case for Chile, with prolonged confinements.
Fortunately, I have seen many women here in Chile raising their voices. Great! And men too, which is just as important. We must involve the whole of society, both men and women, boys and girls.
The color orange, a color that symbolizes hope, is chosen around the world as the color of the campaign against violence against women. The Government of the Netherlands joins the campaign as the goals fit into our national priorities: ending gender-based violence, achieving gender equality and fulfilling the promise to leave no one behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Count on us during this 16-day campaign and also the remaining 349 days of the year! Together Let’s paint the world orange!