Marian Ellens (53) supports Orange the World

Major events, positive or negative, can completely change your life. Fueling your fighting spirit or forcing you to look at yourself and the world around you differently. Women who know what it feels like tell their personal Nouveau story, like…

Marian Ellens (53), Hilversum, founder/owner of Xellens, loves nature, walking, running, playing tennis, art. Time together with all my friends and girlfriends. And above all I love my new partner Paul.

# Orange the World

On November 25, the annual, worldwide Orange world Campaign “Stop violence against women”. Marian Ellens, 53, has been working for years to improve the rights, status and lives of girls and women. “I know from my own experience how important it is to provide information.”

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In the Netherlands, at least 47 percent of all women experience violence in their lifetime.

Globally, one in seven men suffer from violence. For women, this is one in three. It can be all forms of violence: sexual, psychological and physical. In the Netherlands, at least 47 percent of all women experience violence in their lifetime. This is one of two. Consider, for example, street harassment, but also sexual harassment or sexting.

That number rises to more than 75 percent when online harassment is added. I’ve always worked with other women. For example, I used to put tampons and sanitary pads in old handbags and hand them out to female vagrants. I am therefore honored to now be President of the Sisters of Charity Hilversum. This came my way after a turning point in my life.

Separation

Eight years ago, after years of hesitation, I decided to leave my husband. I was not happy, I missed calling him. We were busy. I am mainly with family and my work. I am the founder of Xellens, which is a European training agency. When I got home, I was there for our son and the dog. I didn’t have a life of my own. to exercise? Girlfriends? It doesn’t.

“On the one hand there was grief and the grieving process and on the other hand there was the craving for freedom.”

When my mother died ten years ago, she said on her deathbed: “Be thrifty with your life, you only have one.” This got me thinking. With only some underwear she eventually left for a rented one-room apartment. There you are. It was what I wanted, but it was too duplicitous. On the one hand there was grief and the grieving process and on the other hand there was the coveted freedom.

Love intervention

My divorce turned out to be a turning point in my life. When the worst of the grief subsided, a new Marianne arose. I met up with my friends again, took salsa lessons and went to museums and galleries. When I moved to another apartment, my neighbor, who is the first female ophthalmologist in our country, told me about Sisters. I didn’t know it, but it immediately appealed to me.

“The fact that there is so much violence against women, so much gender inequality, makes me struggle.”

Sisters of Charity International is a global organization committed to improving the lives and status of women and girls for more than a hundred years. When two other women, independently of each other, pointed out the spirit of love, in part through my story of wandering women, I thought: This is no longer an accident. I am now the president of the Soroptimistclub Hilversum eo, and in addition to being a mother, entrepreneur, daughter and friend, I have also become a “sister in crime”. The fact that there is so much violence against women, so much gender inequality, makes me struggle.

The world turns orange

From November 25th to December 10th, we will be raising awareness of the topic. Buildings all over the world are turning orange, the color of dawn. In this way, we symbolically welcome the day when violence against women no longer exists.

There is also the “raised hand” in as many places as possible, which says “stop”. If one in three women has experienced violence, everyone knows someone who has. Or not: There is still a lot of shame and guilt. We think it’s important to break that down.

Violence against women occurs in all walks of life. Also behind the front door – something we no longer call “domestic violence” because it sounds so cozy. I know from my own experience what it’s like to confront violence. In my college days, I had an unwanted sexual experience with a fellow student. I didn’t want to, but I petrified. After that I felt dirty and bad, but I also felt ashamed. Then I shouldn’t have gone with him, so I shouldn’t have worn that miniskirt.

On the lists of fraternities are pinned the names of the girls you ‘had’

Only much later did I find out that a fellow student had exactly the same experience with this boy. And that there are lists of fraternities with the names of the girls you had. I am now committed to combating such abuses. We also provide information in secondary schools.

You can tell girls not to walk alone late at night and not to wear miniskirts, but of course this is not a solution. This is at the cost of your freedom. We especially want to reach the boys. What do you do if you see this in your neighborhood? what is your role? If we all stand together, we can end violence against women.

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