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Orange color and lights on – in unity to end violence against women

Orange pins.
Orange pins. Source: City of Tallinn

The global campaign "16 Days of Activism" against gender-based violence runs from November 25 to December 10.

Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public problem and a violation of women's human rights.

Nearly 89,000 women and girls were killed intentionally in 2022 across the globe, according to new study "Gender-related killings of women and girls" commissioned by the UN.

This is the highest yearly number recorded in the past 20 years, the report said. The data suggest that female homicides increased, despite a decline in overall homicide numbers.

7,896 domestic violence reports were registered in 2022 in Estonia.

46 percent of all violent crimes in Estonia were domestic violence crimes.

86 percent of domestic violence perpetrators were men, while 79 percent of domestic violence victims were women.

About 26 percent of domestic violence crimes were believed to involve child victims or witnesses.

Tartu in orange 2023. Source: City of Tartu

The first survey of this kind and scale Statistics Estonia has carried out suggests that as many as 41 percent of women have experienced intimate partner violence; 39 percent of women have suffered psychological violence; 13 percent had experienced physical violence (including threats); 9 percent had suffered sexual violence, the agency reported.

"The statistics are shocking, and almost no one is completely untouched by domestic violence. There are perpetrators and victims, often with children as witnesses, across all ages, professions and social groups. The campaign by Tallinn's cultural institutions won't end violence, but it will hopefully help people notice it, think about it, and thereby reduce it," Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kaarel Oja (SDE) said introducing activities planned in the city.

In Estonia, in addition to women's shelters, the President Kaljulaid Foundation also leads the way in raising awareness about, and supporting victims of, domestic violence. Several cultural events are being held under the foundation's initiative over the next few weeks.

The Tallinn City Council building, the lampposts on Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak), and the Haabersti viaduct are illuminated in orange to raise awareness about domestic violence.

Orange lapel pins and orange colors in general will be worn in support for the domestic violence awareness campaign.

"Our ministry turned orange on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women," Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said in his social media post.

"There is no excuse for gender-based violence," Estonian EU representation posted. Minister of Culture Heidy Purga also joined the campaign.

The United Nations' declaration on the elimination of violence against women defines it an "act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Those who know or suspect someone they know is a victim of mental, physical, economic, or sexual violence, are advised to seek help immediately via the following channels.

112 – Emergency number for life-threatening situations

116 006 – Social Insurance Board's 24/7 victim support crisis phone

116 111 – Social Insurance Board's 24/7 children's help phone

116 123 – Emotional support and spiritual care phone (Daily between 10 a.m. and midnight. Spiritual caregivers are available from 4 p.m. to midnight)

660 6077 – Social Insurance Board's violence renunciation support line (Weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

palunabi.ee – Social Insurance Board's victim support website

lasteabi.ee – Social Insurance Board's children's aid website (also in English)

Email counselors at [email protected].

Additionally, there are also women's support centerssupport for victims of sexual violence, and the Social Insurance Board's free online mental health counseling service.

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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