During the Orange The World campaign, Rhetoric students gathered to raise awareness on Gender-Based Violence in the 16 Days of Activism. Five groups came up with different ideas to expose the reality for many women- from painting windows, distributing QR codes, social media campaigns and decorating UCR buildings; Middelburg turned orange in the night from the 24th to the 25th of November. One group painted the hidden shadows of violence against women on the windows of Bagijnhof and Common House Elliott, exposing the stories of women experiencing physical or sexual violence, which often occurs in their own homes. The students are hoping to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence- specifically harm done by intimate partners. The shadows represent the silhouette of a man raising his hand and a woman stepping back in an attempt to protect herself. On both of their hands- the orange handprint, signifying solidarity to end all forms of violence. Written in orange on white above the woman: Stop Violence. Orange The World.
“We painted the entire night; we also had restraints on the amount and kind of material we could use but thankfully we made it work- we wanted to show Middelburg what is happening to women behind closed doors.”
Bagijnhof also shined for the campaign as another group of students hung up orange lights. Noortje, one of the students, explains that “We want to shed a positive light (quite literally) on the project. We decided to make it a voluntary event, raising awareness over social media through the nice pictures the event brought us.“ Another group spent the night extensively decorating the Eleanor building: “We decided on the idea of decorations that could not be avoided. This led to us decorating Eleanor in orange with barricade tape, including statistics and facts to promote the start of the campaign. This was a lot of work, but it was received really well!” says Merit.
The Rhetoric students are looking forward to the upcoming days to launch another event on market square. On market square, the students will ask passerby for a handprint and to write down a wish for a more equal and fair society that is safe for all genders. So, make sure to stop by on the 8th of December at the market square! For more information, you can find the students and their projects on Instagram under @orangetheworlducr.