Vibrant flowers cascade down columns in cathedral for UN ‘Orange the World’ campaign
An impactful display of hand-crafted flowers has been installed in Llandaff Cathedral by local women’s service club, Soroptimist International Glamorgan.
The small but determined group of women from the group have been working together since February to individually craft the 3500 orange flowers, a figure which represents the number of women reporting incidents of domestic violence every day in England and Wales.
The exhibit forms part of the United Nation’s annual 16-day campaign to highlight the global issues surrounding violence against women, under the banner ‘orange the world’.
The campaign runs from the 25th November which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW), to the 10th December, which is International Human Rights Day.
The team have crocheted, knitted and sewn the flowers, using yarns, foam, felt and even parachute fabric to create the individual designs, at times forming a finely tuned production line to create and assemble the component parts.
This week, they have spent their evenings attaching the cascades to six pillars at Llandaff Cathedral, creating the stunning display in time for an event happening today organised by BAWSO which supports women from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds who are affected by domestic abuse and other forms of abuse, including Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Human Trafficking & Prostitution.
The event brings together the two campaigns of IDVAW and the White Ribbon Campaign which calls on men and boys to commit to take a stand against male violence against women.
Following a concerted publicity campaign using social media, floral donations made by club members were sent to the Glamorgan group from the UK and across the globe, tying in with their theme of supporting girls and women locally, nationally and internationally.
As they spread the word and raised awareness of the campaign, the responses from women were profound and positive, with one woman messaging them to say: “I can personally identify with one of those flowers. Thank you for raising awareness in this creative way.”
Programme Action Officer of the club, Louise Gillies said that there were times when the task was daunting and difficult, knowing what each flower represented, but that messages like that gave the women the strength and drive to persevere.
She described recruiting help from her colleagues by leaving a fleecy blanket in the coffee area at work, with a simple request to cut out a circle while they waited for the kettle to boil. In this way, she said, many conversations were had about the purpose of the project and the scope of the problem.
Ms Gillies said “This year, we have made cascades of flowers in keeping with the orange theme. To make it more meaningful, each one of the 3,500 handmade flowers represents a woman who has reported an incident of domestic abuse to the police in England or Wales in a single day.
“When you see the sheer number of flowers in the drops suspended around the pillars and realise what they represent, it really hits home just how prevalent this issue is.”
Sixteen days of activism
According to the UN, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today and it remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
Manifesting itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, it encompasses:
- intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
- sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber-harassment);
- human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
- female genital mutilation; and
- child marriage.
Following on from today’s launch, the SI Glamorgan will be posting something daily for the 16 days, not only facts intended to raise awareness of the extent of the problem of violence against women and girls, but also practical, helpful information, such as promoting the ‘Safe Space’ app which identifies nearby shops, cafes or buildings which have signed up to the scheme and can be accessed in a hurry if refuge is needed.
The flowers will be on display during the Light a Candle Service at 11am on the 25th November 2022 and available to view until the 10th December 2022. Opening times of the Cathedral are available from their website or social media.
Soroptimist International Glamorgan (SI Glamorgan) are a local women’s service charity, with members ranging from mid 20s to mid-80s. Whether they meet online or in person they aim to make their meetings action based.
They are part of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, and Soroptimist International. For more information, please visit the website or Facebook page or on Twitter and by following the hashtags –
#OrangeCardiff #OrangeCardiff22 #OrangetheWorld
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