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Thursdays in Black is part of a worldwide campaign demanding a world without rape and violence. Groups worldwide united against violence include Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (commonly known as mothers of the disappeared) in Argentina, black sash in South Africa, and Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. The beginnings of Women in Black really began in Israel in 1988 after the Palestinian Intifada on the West Bank. Israeli women started setting up vigils in response to the Palestinian Intifada and wore black at the vigils. The vigils were held weekly, normally in public places such as road blocks.
After a while the number of women attending the vigils increased and the gathering of women against violence began to spread worldwide.
The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina was set up after thousands of children “disappeared” under a military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. These mothers of the disappeared wore white scarves as a sign of the remembrance of the loss of their children. Other groups such as black sash in South Africa were set up to protest against such unjust policies as the removal of black or mixed race voters. Members would wear a black sash as a sign of the injustice that was going on in South Africa. Women in Black isn’t just focussed on violence in war. The violence can be harassment, rape, discrimination, homophobia, and all forms of abuse.
Thursdays in Black in New Zealand was officially set up by the Tertiary Women’s Focus Group (TWFG) and New Zealand University Student Association (NZUSA) in 1995, although there was some activity prior to this. Today, Thursdays in Black is linked in with local communities, universities, the Human Rights Commission, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Merchandise is sold on campuses, and this will be hopefully will be extending out to communities and schools. By purchasing the merchandise, you show your support towards the campaign to end violence and rape worldwide.
I am the Women’s Rights officer at Victoria University’s Student Association, and I will be holding a weekly stall (on Thursdays) in the Quad between 12 and 2 at Kelburn Campus. We will be selling the merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, hoodies, posters and badges. Profits from the merchandise will be going to Women’s Refuge and Rape Crisis. So come to the Quad and show your support for demanding a world without rape and violence. Unite with Thursdays in Black!