Blackfriars to mark International Women’s Day

It’s a stunningly beautiful place but, for many women in the Solomon Islands, it’s far from paradise.

To mark International Women’s Day, Blackfriars is next week raising money for Caritas Australia to help change the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, including women in the Solomon Islands.

A national Solomon Islands survey found 64% of women aged 15-49 had reported physical or sexual abuse by a partner – one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world.

Almost 40% of girls under 15 had been sexually abused.

A World Health Organisation report found that, concerningly, 73% of adults – both men and women – believed those levels of violence were acceptable, “especially if a woman was disobedient”.

“One of the most significant consequences of gender inequality for women in Solomon Islands is the high level of gender-based violence (GBV) they face, which ranges from sexual violence, coercion, emotional and/or physical violence perpetrated by intimate and non-partners,” the report said.

“GBV reflects and reinforces inequality between men and women … (compromising) the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its survivors.”

Blackfriars Assistant Principal: Religious Identity and Mission Angela Collins said the figures made for disturbing reading.

“It is our young men who have the greatest power to change these statistics and advocate for equality,” Ms Collins said.

Blackfriars will officially mark International Women’s Day, on Tuesday 8 March, with a casual clothes day, an initiative of the 2022 Prefects.

On that day, students are asked to wear something purple – to signify justice and dignity for women – and to make a gold-coin donation, with all funds going to Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion.

“As an all-boys school, it’s vitally important we support International Women’s Day and instil in the students an appreciation of the very real issues facing women – here in Australia and overseas,” Ms Collins said.

“Throughout the week, we will be promoting awareness of key women leaders – from Malala Yousafzai to Ash Barty, Mother Teresa, St Catherine and Greta Thunberg.”

The International Women’s Day event is just one of a series of fundraisers Blackfriars has planned for Term 1.

Money raised via a giant Easter egg raffle and a “coin line” will also be donated to Project Compassion to aid women in the Solomon Islands.

Project Compassion is Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten Appeal. It funds the continuing work of Caritas Australia in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and Australian Indigenous communities.


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