FILE PHOTO: A worker stands behind tools used for FGM in Africa

By Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

The Orange Day campaign is a day set aside by UN and its organs, including the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), to raise awareness about Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTP) meted out to women and girls around the world.

The campaign, usually carried out on the 25th day of every month, also focuses on the need to eliminate the menaces.

The day is also celebrated to remind the world about commitments to rid the world of GBV and the harmful practices, and also encourage all to speak out and rise against all abuses against women and girls.

GBV knows no social, economic or national boundaries, as UN estimates indicate that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

Any physical or sexual abuse against the female gender amounts to GBV as it undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of victims, yet the assaults have remained covered in a culture of silence.

Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, traumatic fistula, Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV, and even death.

It is against the backdrop of increased GBV against women and girls, which has become one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today, that the world body came up with Orange Day Campaign.

GBV affects women, regardless of their age, background, or level of education, as it takes many forms, including physical, sexual, or psychological violence, as well as economic abuse and exploitation.

The Orange Day, therefore, seeks to highlight issues of rape, Female Genital Mutilation, Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), child marriage, forced marriage, the preference to educate the boy-child and not the girl-child, among others.

The Day is also dedicated to raising awareness and the consciousness of the people about the ills of GBV, and why they should be eliminated, especially as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The orange colour symbolises a brighter future, free of violence.