Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursdays In Black

Every Thursday people around the world are invited to wear black as a symbol of strength and courage, representing our solidarity with victims of violence, demanding a world without rape and violence.
Wearing black on Thursdays indicates that you are tired of putting up with rape and violence in your community. It demonstrates a desire for a community where we can all walk safely without fear of being beaten up, verbally abused, raped, or being discriminated against due to your sexual orientation, political affiliation, gender or ethnicity.

It shows that you want to be free.

Thursdays in Black is a human rights campaign that is demanding a world without rape and violence. Originally established by the World Council of Churches during the 1980s as a peaceful protest against rape and violence as by-products of war and conflict, the campaign was soon adopted by a number of groups advocating for women’s rights such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Black Sash in South Africa and the Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. Over the years, Thursdays in Black has become a campaign that represents many other inequalities in society including, but not strictly limited to the following: domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, incest, murder, female infanticide, genital mutilation, sexual harassment, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender, and the sex trafficking industry.
Mostly though, this campaign focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence. It reinforces, at both a personal and public level, the idea that there is something wrong with a world that will allow the human rights of women, men and children to be abused and threatened. It provides an opportunity for people to become part of a worldwide movement that enables the despair and pain and anger about rape and other forms of violence to be transformed into political action.

Thursdays in Black has been an integral campaign to the Tertiary Women’s Focus Group and its predecessor WECA. For over a decade, we have been involved with the production of resources and the administration of the campaign through the NZUSA federation office. Thursdays in Black is the administrative job of the NZUSA National Women’s Rights Officer (NWRO), whilst the local campus women’s collectives and Women’s Rights Officers run the campaign and events associated with it and sell the merchandise.
Here in Aotearoa, campuses sell Thursdays in Black merchandise (t-shirts, badges, caps, hoodies) for little more than what they buy them for, passing on any profit to community organisations in their area which support victims of rape and violence, such as Women’s Refuge or Rape Crisis.

This year, the TWFG has been looking at avenues to expand the campaign further into our communities, with both nationally and regionally focused merchandise and campaigns. Most recently, on 31 July, we held a National Day of Action, which saw a number of students’ associations demonstrating and holding events on their campuses that highlighted the need for radical change.
For further information, please contact:

Georgina Dickson VUWSA Women’s Rights Officer

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