Local agency celebrates International Women’s Day

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On March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, which is, according to the International Women’s Day website, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.”

While IWD celebrates the achievements of women worldwide, it also marks a call to action to push for women’s equality. The Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania are taking part in the IWD #ChooseToChallenge campaign, a campaign to challenge gender bias and inequality. 

To take part in the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, the DVSSP is encouraging everyone to take a selfie while striking the #ChooseToChallenge pose, which is raising your hand in the selfie. “Raise your hand high to show you’re in and that you commit to choose to challenge and call out inequality,” the IWD website says.

Share the selfie on social media with the hashtags #DVSSP and #ChooseToChallenge. 

“The theme recognizes that a challenged world is an alert world, and change happens when people are challenged,” Leslie Orbin, communications specialist at DVSSP said. “By challenging gender bias and stereotypes, we can help create a more inclusive world that is free from violence.”

The mission of the DVSSP, according to their website, “is to increase awareness of domestic violence and its effect on the community, to empower those victimized by providing advocacy and safe and effective services, and to work for social change designed to eliminate domestic violence.”

And while IWD is about empowering women and forging ahead of inequality, it is important to remember that domestic violence does not discriminate on the basis of gender. 

“Our goal is to equip survivors of all gender with the tools they need to rebuild their lives after violence,” Orbin said. “Our agency supports survivors by offering a safe place to stay by listening and by providing information about resources that can help them live a life that is free from violence.”

International Women’s Day falls within NO MORE Week, a global effort to stand up for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. According to the NO MORE website, their goal is to inspire everyone to make change to better communities.

“Our agency always participates in NO MORE Week and will do so again by asking staff, volunteers, and the community to share why they say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault with a NO MORE Week sign,” Orbin said.

NO MORE Week signs can be downloaded here and shared on social media using the hashtags #DVSSP and #NOMOREWEEK.

These challenges and hashtags on social media bring attention to these issues to help raise awareness. 

“Together we can inspire others to join the movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault,” Orbin said.