Rugby advances fight to end violence against women
Blue might be Manu Samoa’s colour of choice but it was hard to ignore orange at the Apia Park last Saturday when Manu Samoa defeated Tonga, 30-10, in their Pacific Nations Cup clash.
The test match dedicated to the fight to End Violence Against Women (E.V.A.W) saw members of the community turn up with orange outfits, especially since the match fell on Orange Day. The 25th day of every month is day to raise awareness to end violence against women.
The Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) had partnered before with UN Women to create the “Eliminate Violence Against Women 7s Tournament last year which is now an annual event.
S.R.U felt that the match falling on the 25th would be a good opportunity to promote the Union’s position on this issue to an international audience and dedicated the match to E.V.A.W.
Tonga was also on board and supported the dedication of the match.
All players (Samoan and Tongan) wore orange bands on their uniforms, all medics and staff wore either orange bibs with the UNiTE to End Violence Logo or an orange arm band, and audience members either wore orange or caps donated by the police services that read “Say NO To Violence, YES to Manu”.
The most poignant moment was during the opening ceremony when all players walked out holding the hands of children wearing orange t-shirts to symbolise how younger generations can benefit form the work on E.V.A.W.
“Sport offers a powerful platform in the Pacific to spread the message of zero tolerance and drive attitude and behaviour change among men and women,” said Suisala Mele Maualaivao of UN Women.
“We are proud to be associated with such a well known team and are grateful that S.R.U and Manu Samoa see the value in promoting positive messages to create change.”