Devotion at the start of the Orange Days

Mon, 02. Dec. 2019
The Saanen Church, the Gstaad Palace and many other venues all across Switzerland are lit up in orange to draw attention to domestic violence. (Jenny Sterchi)

A moment of silence heralded the start of this year's Orange Days in Saanenland. Soroptimist Gstaad-Saanenland and the regional churches of Saanenland extended an invitation to meditation at the Saanen church, which attracted around two-dozen people.

Last year, the Orange Days started in Saanenland as part of an international campaign to oppose violence against women. On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, worldwide attention was drawn to ongoing violence and discrimination against women and girls.

On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration of Human Rights. So on this historic date, which deserves even more attention today, marks the end of the Orange Days.

Violence stemming from everyday life
Christa Cairoli, president of Soroptimist Gstaad-Saanenland, opened the evening in the orange-lit church in Saanen with serene and serious words. She spoke of the annual statistics on domestic violence for the canton of Bern and revealed that the cantonal police had to intervene up to 1060 times in domestic violence incidents. This is a frightening number and actually works out as three incidents per day that require police involvement.

Another crushing factor is the number of children caught up in domestic violence. In 2017, more than half of police interventions involved children who either experienced violence themselves or witnessed cruel behaviour.

Everything orange
While 34 Swiss clubs from Soroptimist International took part in the Orange Days last year, 46 got involved this November. The orange lighting is a sign of involvement in this campaign throughout Switzerland and, in addition to the Gstaad Palace and the Saanen church, also blends in with Blankenburg Castle, Bern Cathedral and the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, all shrouded in orange light during the period.

Based on AvS / Jenny Sterchi
Translated by Justine Hewson

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