International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Credits: Association for progress, education and lobbying – PEL (www.fashioned4equilibrium.wordpress.com)

Since 1981, as a tribute to the Mirabal sisters (three Dominican sisters, political activists known as the Hermanas Mirabal, who were brutally assassinated for opposing the Trujillo dictatorship on November 25, 1960), as well as global recognition of gender violence, the date 25 November has been marked by women’s activists as a day against violence against women.

Following the adoption of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women by resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly, by resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, inviting governments, international organizations and NGO’s to organize activities on the day designed to raise public awareness of the problem of maltreatment of women.

Why This International Day?

“Violence and abuse affect women from all kinds of backgrounds every day. As many as seven in ten women around the world report having experienced physical violence at some point in their lifetime.

The violence knows no geographical, cultural, social, economic or educational boundaries. It is a phenomenon that affects all societies and takes many gruesome forms: from sexual harassment to female genital mutilation, forced marriage to honour killings. Violence against women is arguably the most widespread human rights violation of our time. A violation that claims millions of victims every year and causes terrible physical and emotional pain.

What is the EU doing to End Violence against Women?

We must not only help prevent violence; we must also work to provide women with access to economic opportunities, to ensure their equal participation in public life, repeal laws and practices that continue to discriminate against them and ensure that homes, offices, streets and schools are safe for women and girls.

We have made protection against gender-based violence a key feature of the EU’s human rights strategy. And we have cleared the way for greater cooperation between the EU and the UN on this agenda. Women and girls are particularly targeted and vulnerable in conflict situations.  We have therefore made it a priority for the EU’s military and police missions to prevent and combat gender-based violence.

The EU’s mission in Kosovo is, for example, already involved in the investigation and prosecution of war rape cases and in strengthening the fight against human trafficking. And the EU is spending € 4 million to reduce violence against women in Egypt.”

   – High Representative Catherine Ashton

Fast facts

This year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women invites you to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood.” Take the UNiTE campaign to local streets, shops and businesses, and organize “Orange Events” in your own neighbourhoods between 25 November and 10 December 2014.

Reach out to your neighbours, local stores, food-sellers on the corner of your street, gas stations, local cinemas, barbers, schools, libraries and post offices!  Project orange lights and hang orange flags onto local landmarks, tie orange ribbons where you are allowed, and organize local ‘orange marches’ on 25 November to raise awareness about violence against women and discuss solutions that would work for your community.

Join the campaign on facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE and follow the hashtags #Orangeurhood in #16Days.

A promise is a promise

Sobering numbers show that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner; about 120 million girls have been forced into intercourse or other sexual acts at some point in their lives; and 133 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.

Read more shocking facts in the infographic below.

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