UN Women NC Australia launches innovative visual petition

#FaceItTogether is a socially led, first of its kind initiative to help combat violence against women & girls in the Pacific 

  • Supporters are asked to pledge their image, rather than their signature at faceittogether.unwomen.org.au 
  • Each new image will sit atop an existing portrait, creating a single of all those who have contributed 
  • The petition launches on March 3, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.  Signatories have until March 13 to submit their portrait 
  • UN Women NC Australia is urging the public to upload their image and make a donation: either via the Face It Together website or by purchasing a purple campaign scarf from Esprit – with 100% of the sales from the scarf going to the cause. 

UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia has today launched a visual petition to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.  The first petition of its kind will see the creation of a single portrait, composed of the faces of all the men, women and children who pledge their support and image.  The petition, and the affiliated fundraising campaign, is designed to help women affected by violence in the Pacific.

From today, a virtual platform at faceittogether.unwomen.org.au will allow users to take their photograph and submit it to the visual petition or upload an existing image of their choice. UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman has been the first celebrity to donate her face to this international petition.

The site will also give pledgers the chance to share their image within the composition on social media using the hashtag #FaceItTogether.  Campaigners are urging supporters to do so and even request that individuals use the image as their profile picture for the duration of the campaign.

As each day passes, pledgers will be able to revisit the site to see the composition evolve as more and more individuals commit their faces.

Whilst campaigners are calling on Australians to join celebrities and prominent national figures in uploading their face, they are keen to stress that this alone will not bring about change: “Your face is your pledge, but your donation is the easiest way for you to show your support and invest in the elimination of violence against women’”, says Julie McKay, Executive Director of UN Women NC Australia.

“If every person who pledges their image were to donate just $20, then we have a real chance of saving lives.  Make no mistake; this is a life and death issue.  Every ten minutes, somewhere in the world, a girl loses their life to violence.”

As well as making a donation at faceittogether.unwomen.org.au supporters can purchase a purple campaign scarf from Esprit from February 29 – 100% of the sales from which will go to the cause.

The campaign shines a light on violence against women and girls in the region, which is rampant:  as many as two in three women will experience violence and abuse at the hands of those closest to them.  In some places as many as 100% of women report experiencing violence.

Violence often begins at an early age: in Vanuatu for example, 30% of women experience child sexual abuse under the age of 15, whilst 41% report a forced first sexual experience.  In Fiji, one third of females who experience violence are girls under 16.

“Put simply, the Pacific Region is one of the most dangerous places to be born a girl,” says McKay.

“Whilst in Australia, we have the resources to combat violence, the Pacific contains some of the least developed nations in the world.  Most of them lack basic infrastructure, like hotlines and specialist health care teams.  Yet these countries are our closest neighbours.  Not even 4km separates Australia with Papua New Guinea; 4km that can mean the difference between life and death for a woman at the hands of entirely preventable violence.”

Money raised will build on the strides already made in recent years: from increased access to shelters for women at imminent risk, to the establishment of a 24 hour crisis hotline.

In addition, campaign funded vocational training and education programs are beginning to equip women with the tools to escape violence, change attitudes and help promote healthy, respectful relationships. Resources have also been expended on galvanising influential locals, from village chiefs to faith community leaders, who have been fundamental in introducing a culture of zero tolerance.