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30. July 2020

Thursdays in Black

One thing is certain every Thursday when activist Carol Bowah in Liberia goes to work: she is dressed from head to foot in black. And she is not alone in this. All around the world, every Thursday people are dressing in black as a symbol of their opposition to violence against women. They are doing this as part of a campaign, “Thursdays in Black”, aiming to draw attention to sexualised violence.

Women dressed in black

The Thursdays in Black movement has its origins in the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of churches from 120 different countries. In turn, their campaign draws inspiration from numerous previous protests and actions organised by women against violence, including groups of women dressed in black from Rwanda or Bosnia.

Genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia

After the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, women rebelled against the use of rape as a weapon of war and used their clothing to express their protest. Since then, Thursdays in Black has become a global movement. People in countries such as South Africa, New Zealand and India are wearing black on Thursdays to create a very visible sign of solidarity.

A world without sexualised violence

The colour black in this movement stands for resistance, but also for the grief felt at the prevalence of sexualised violence. The demands of the activists in the Thursdays in Black movement are expressed succinctly in their slogan: “Towards a world without rape and violence.”

Thursdays in Black

The participation of medica Liberia in the Thursdays in the Black public awareness campaign started two years ago. Every Thursday the Director Carol Bowah and all staff members turn up at the office dressed in black, whether their work for the day involves visiting a women's safe house or attending a government meeting. To accompany this, activists post photos and articles in social media using the hashtags #ThursdaysinBlack and #FixtheSystem. And, most importantly, there are also public marches, vigils and demonstrations organised by medica Liberia and other organisations such as the Lutheran Church.

Author: Karolina Plewniak, Online Officer at medica mondiale

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