It’s no secret that the one of the greatest weapons we have against society’s most horrific problems is public awareness of the issue in terms of its dimensions and the consequences for victims. Without that awareness, work done by governments, international bodies and law enforcement organizations to address the problem will be that much harder.

And so it is with violence against women.

A recent guest post co-authored by Junior League members MariBen Ramsey, Secretary of The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), and Christine Benero, a member of the board of directors of NDVH, focused attention on the problem of domestic violence in the U.S. But violence against women is much more than a North American problem, and unfortunately it goes well beyond domestic violence.

That’s why work done to combat violence against women since 1999 by the United Nations deserves more attention than it may otherwise get.

Here’s the short form: November 25th has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to many forms of violence, including rape, sexual trafficking and genital mutilation, as well as domestic violence. And one of the specific aims of this day is to highlight the often-hidden dimensions of the problem.

The day’s organizers use a wide range of tactics and strategies to do that, but one in particular is fascinating because it is so simple…the use of the color orange as a universal symbol of the fight against violence against women and girls.

Under the theme “Orange the World,” events in more than 70 countries around the world have been focal points, both large and small, drawing attention to the global problem of violence against women. Events have included the orange lighting of major landmarks like Niagara Falls (Canada/USA), the European Commission building (Belgium) and the Council of Europe building (France), the archeological ruins at Petra (Jordan), the Presidential Palace in Brasilia (Brazil), and the Palais de Justice (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Other events planned range from the “oranging” of bus stops in Timor-Leste, to marathons in Venezuela, to spontaneous orange flash mobs in Indonesia.

For more information on the global problem of violence against women – and what Junior Leagues and their members can do to create awareness of it in their own communities, go here.