If it wasn’t such a sad topic, I’d say we want to “celebrate” Orange the World 2021. Between 25 November, the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”, and the 10 December, the “Human Rights Day”, the United Nations Women raised awareness for violence against women through their campaign “Orange the World”. Erste Group supports this special initiative by the UN as main partner and its efforts to end violence against women. For 16 days, buildings around the globe illume in orange colour to send a signal for the eradication of violence against women.
Around 33% of the women worldwide experience some sort of violence in their life. Violence against women counts as one of the most wide-spread human rights violation. COVID-19 just made the outlook for affected women bleaker.
Another lockdown often means another knock-down.
Unfortunately, Austria is a negative example for violence against women. Only in 2021, 28 women lost their lives through femicide with 27 of them being murdered by their (ex-)partner. With these figures, Austria lies way above the EU-average (Statistics by the refuge for battered women Austria). Following the peaking Covid-19 cases in Austria, the whole country went into lockdown again. For most of us, a lockdown is draining and exhausting. For survivors of sexual, mental or physical abuse, lockdowns can not only be challenging but life-threatening. Due to the lack of alternatives such as going to malls, schools, universities or also work, and because of the perpetrator and the victim often living in a common household, the number of violent incidents during lockdowns rises. Anger-management becomes more difficult for the culprit and mental health problems such as depression or anxiety do the rest. But is it really only mental health problems and the lockdown that lead to violence against women?
Sparkasse branch illuming in Orange. (Photo: Erste Group)
What it takes are gender equality and male role models.
We must abolish old socio-economic views that depict the man as the provider and the woman as the dependant housewife. In a liberated world in the year 2021, anyone can be whoever they want. And yes, they should be whoever they want in a safe environment. The term “toxic masculinity” is something many men are already aware of. Also, one can register a shift from the stereotypical “man” and “woman” to gender equality. However, we still have a long way to go.
Instead of searching for the wrongdoing of the victim, the lever must be applied where it is really needed. Briefly: on the culprit’s behaviour and views. A change in the perception of women, but also of members of the LGBTQI+ community (as they are also often victims of abuse by men through non-acceptance), by men might leads to a safer environment for everyone. Also, it is of utmost importance that anyone who ever experiences any form of abuse speaks up and seeks for help. Love shouldn’t hurt and sometimes we are so in love that we don’t see the reality clearly. It is no shame to ask for help and by opening up about it, the topic gets the attention is absolutely deserves.
Take care of yourself and your environment.
The George Team takes gender equality and safety very serious. As the George Team members are George’s most valuable asset, we are constantly working on workplace improvements and new safety and well-being initiatives. The promotion of the campaign “Orange the World” is only one of the many measures we take to emphasise the importance of the protection of vulnerable groups.
Some of you might have already seen the hand gesture for people who need help in a dangerous situation. It’s the open palm that is formed to a fist. If you see this particular gesture, it means that the person doing it needs immediate help. But don’t only look out for this gesture: If you have the feeling that something is wrong with one of your colleagues, don’t hesitate to ask the person whether they need help. The elaboration of trust and a safe and understanding environment is crucial for any workplace in order to run smoothly.
The George Team stands for equality and diversity.
It is not only important to care for your colleagues – you have to care for yourself too. If you are in a difficult or even dangerous situation, don’t be too shy or ashamed to entrust your colleagues, supervisor or the HR department with your problem. Only by speaking openly about it, your situation can improve and you might also encourage others to follow your example.
For us as George Management, it is of utmost importance to provide an environment of comfort and security for all of our team members. We have open ears and hearts for each other and know that life is not always easy. This makes it so important to support not only Orange the World, but also each other in troubled times and be sensitive about the people around you.
says the George Management.
As written above, violence is not always visible. Maybe it’s the same colleague of yours that throws the best jokes and laughs a lot that suffers the most.
To all the victims of abuse, let us tell you something:
You are heard and seen.
You are precious.
You deserve to live in a safe environment.
The following pages are a good starting point to make a change: