The Zonta Club of Ottawa joins Zontians world-wide in expressing the need to stop Violence Against Women during the 16 days of Activisim.

The Zonta Club of Ottawa joins Zontians worldwide,  in expressing the need to stop Violence Against Women .


“Despair” Number 11, drawn by Ottawa Zontian Paula Zoubek, as a statement bringing a focus on the 16 Days of Activism.

Each day from November 25 through December 10 different members of the Club will add comments to raise awareness about this important subject.

Violence against women and girls continues to be a major global, national and local issue. “16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence” begins November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends December 10, International Human Rights Day, symbolically linking violence against women with human rights. The Campaign calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women with the aim of raising awareness and solutions and strengthening victim, organizational and government support. Over 5,167 organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991.

Member: Val Hume

To kick off our 16 Days of Activism, our club’s interim president, Dr. Valerie Hume, takes an international perspective:

Violence against women is a worldwide pandemic – it crosses every social and economic class, every religion, race and ethnicity. At least one out of every three women worldwide have experienced violence during their lifetime. We in Zonta International cannot accept this – we need to use all our energy to eradicate violence against women locally and internationally through service and advocacy. – Sonja Hönig Schough, Zonta International President

Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign started in 2012 as a way to raise global awareness of, and increase actions to end, violence against women and girls.  The past biennium focussed on moving from awareness to action with new tools and resources developed to support Zonta clubs in their advocacy actions.

Via you will find ways that might be considered for future action:

  • Prevention
    • Promote gender equal norms and violence-free environments in schools
    • Support programs that help men to change violent behavior
    • Request “safe cities”: design/lighting of public spaces, safe public transportation, etc.
  • Protection
    • Request One-Stop Centers with medical/legal/social help for victims
    • Promote short-term shelters and long-term affordable housing for women and children
    • Support vocational training for victims to become self-supporting
  • Prosecution
    • Request laws that clearly blame perpetrators, not victims
    • Encourage reporting of violence and give support to victims during legal processes
    • Promote training of police and legal professionals to understand the issues.

Member: Lynda Pearson

“Violence takes many forms – some visible and others invisible.  Words – spoken and written –  would normally fit into the latter category.  However, we are only too aware of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, when stories of their bullying and subsequent suicides, went viral on social media.  But, there are many more cases of written abuse using social media which remain hidden and the hurt no less long lasting.  Unfortunately, in some of these cases it is women causing the hurt against other women.

Remember – social media may be wonderful and you may think that you remain anonymous, but think twice, or more, before hitting the send button”.

Member: Cindy O’Neil + an amazing video by Lady Gaga

Watch this amazing  Video by Lady Gaga – “Till it happens to you”  From the 2016 Oscars
When I saw this performance the night of the 2016 Oscars my heart ached and I cried for my niece, for young girls, or boys who have been raped, 
the song says… till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels…
that is so true I thank GOD that my niece is a survivor!  
I’m very proud of her every day and wish I could take away this pain and memories of what happened to her and so many others.

Member: Shirley Mack

My focus on violence towards women is from a personal perspective. As a former nurse, I have witnessed the result of violence inflicted on women. I have seen a woman so cowed by her husband’s control both physical and psychological, that she was unable to protect her young baby from injuries inflicted on the baby by the father. I am old enough to remember the anguish my mother, a teacher in rural Saskatchewan, went through as she suspected her young female student was being violated by the father. The child was so damaged that she was withdrawn. It being a different time and age, my mother got nowhere with her reporting and protestation. That same girl grew up, got married and ended up dead folded up in a trunk, murdered by her husband. Violence perpetuated!

This is just a small view of the revulsions of violence against women. Things are changing slowly. Society is becoming more aware of the issues surrounding violence against women; however, we need to keep this awareness at the forefront. I firmly believe that this will come through education of society. The focus must be on our young people, female and male, to break the cycle of attitudes toward women. One organization, “Man-Up”, which focuses on creating awareness by male teens about issues surrounding the treatment of women, was started by a young man in a local high school. It has spread to other high schools in Ottawa. I am proud as a Zontian to have supported this group and urge others to learn more about it.

Member: Sophia Wright

Simple and powerful advice from Sophia Wright:

‘support the women and children who live in refugee camps’

Member Paula Zoubek

Paula Zoubek provided illustrations for our 16 Days of Activism.  Here are two more.

13-despair-iii 14-despair-iv

Member: Christina Hasley

I was involved in ‘Take Back the Night’ efforts in university, and have experienced sexism professionally, but preventing violence against women and girls took on greater meaning for me when I became a mother.

I was approached to join the Zonta Club of Ottawa when I was pregnant thirteen years ago. One of the things that appealed to me the most about the Zonta approach was its dual focus on local and international causes that support women in need.

Locally, I have been particularly proud of our club’s support of the ManUp initiative, which was created by local high school boys to help them learn how to prevent violence against girls. I have also appreciated our support of the indomitable Julie Lalonde. Julie’s work in developing the ‘Draw the Line’ campaign and in talking to students about consent has helped inform my conversations with my now pre-teen daughter.

Internationally, I love that our club contributes to the “Zonta Say NO to Violence Against Women” campaign, including this 16 Days of Activism. Zonta Says NO also highlights the Zonta International Strategies to End Violence against Women (ZISVAW) program and partnerships with the United Nations and its agencies. Having spent much of my career working in international development, these initiatives mean a great deal to me.

Member: Susan Smith

The best part of being a webmaster is being the first to view information of interest. This morning I found this story on the Web. It demonstrates how a terrible situation can turn out in the end.  The story is about a young boy who helps save his mother’s life and his own, by dialing 911. It was written by Patricia Lynn in August of this year and has been shared over 5,000 times on facebook. It is only through building awareness that this terrible problem will end – Let’s hope the statistics get far better by 2017.

It starts out with “When I was 8 years old, my father decided that it was time to amp up his drinking rage and beat the living hell out of my mother… again.”

Member: Valerie Knowles

Sable Books, an American publisher, has recently released “Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women.” The anthology was inspired by the murder of Caroline Minjares by her estranged intimate partner.


Member: Annegret Uhthoff

Sexual assault does not know social borders, it happens in all spheres of our society.
As long as a victim is not protected in our society and has no support or does not find a protector to defend her she remains an unheard victim. Remember the trial of Ghomeshi and how a clever lawyer could turn the pages and changed the accused to the victim. Or think of a judge who asked the victim why she did not keep her knees closed.

Member: Leslie Lawson

My interest in and focus on ending violence against women arises out of my work with immigrant women from all over the world.  Many of them are forced to flee their homes due to ongoing conflict violence within their countries and/or violence within the home.  As they seek to make a better life for themselves and their families, they often find themselves at risk for further violence at the hands of ruthless smugglers and human traffickers who perpetuate the violence against them.  This tragedy is seen in all parts of the world.
The Zonta Says “No!” 16 days of action project seeks to raise the level of worldwide awareness around the issue of violence against women, to bring it into the light and to spur everyone into action to end it, both here in Canada and around the world.  Join us in saying “No!” to violence against women!

Member: Claudette Lévesque

  Respect is still at the base of education – it applies to nature, to animals and, naturally, to people. Once it is integrated by young people, it leaves no space for violence and certainly not for  gender violence, which shows overpowering of individuals towards others and, unfortunately, most times over women.

Member: Margaret Mitchell

After quiet reflection, particularly on Dec. 6th, it’s important to remember because it’s the anniversary of 27 years since the massacre of 14 women at the engineering school, Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec. Gun control is a life and death issue that should be TOP priority for our government. Preventing gender violence involves the active mobilization of both women and men working together in respecting the dignity and gifts of all human beings. As has been said many times, ‘Women’s rights are human rights.’ FOURTEEN beams of light streamed into the sky from Mt. Royal Tuesday evening (Dec. 6) 

Member: Mona Tobgi

When I hear or read about the violence taking place here or anywhere in the world, I sometimes wonder if anything will ever change to make those responsible understand how evil it is to inflict pain and suffering on others. But the outcry protesting violence against women seems like a global movement that will keep getting stronger to eventually make a difference. Women around the world are fighting laws and practices that protect perpetrators of violence, and social media is flooded with messages saying “NO”, “STOP” and “IT’S NOT OKAY”. So anyone who shares the growing outrage at the many forms of violence against women can find a way to speak up and join the fight.