International Day for the Elimination of Violence - November 25
What is it?
Women activists have marked November 25 as an International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women since 1981, however, it was not recognized as such by the United Nations until1999. The purpose of the day is to raise public awareness of gender-based violence across the world.
The date was chosen to remember the horrific assassinations of the three Mirabel sisters in 1960. The Mirabel sisters were political activists in the Dominican Republic who were ordered murdered by dictator, Rafael Trujillo. They had been jailed and tortured, including being raped numerous times while in prison for their political opposition to the Trujillo regime.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women begins the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, which spans from November 25 to December 10, the International Day of Human Rights. This span is meant to link violence against women to human rights and to highlight the need for women’s equality as a solution to violence against women.
The 16 span also includes International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (November 29), World AIDS Day (December 1), International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3) and December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
- In a study by the World Health Organization between 15% and 71% of women reported physical or sexual violence by a husband or partner. Studies of femicide in ‘developed’ countries report that from 40% to 70% of female homicide victims were murdered by a husband or boyfriend.
- Murder of women is common around the world. In Mexico and Guatemala, for example, woman killing has been so common as to bring worldwide attention. In Ciudad Juárez, official sources say 320 women were murdered over a short period of time (Amnesty International puts the figure at over 400); one-third had been brutally raped. In Guatemala, police statistics show that 1,467 women were murdered between 2001 and the beginning of December 2004. Again other sources say the true number is higher, more than 2000. The murders and rapes in these areas are concentrated in places where the economy is dominated by maquilas, assembly plants for export of products owned and operated in tax-free zones by multinational corporations.
- Trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sex is widespread and often affects the most vulnerable.
- Violence against women is often used as a tactic of war and state conflicts. For example, according to the United Nations, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women in Rwanda were raped during the 1994 genocide, between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped in Bosnia during the conflict in the early 1990s and around 200,000 women and girls were raped during the armed conflict in Bangladesh in 1971.
- There are many other forms of violence against women, sexual harassment, forced or child marriages, female genital mutilation, sexual and physical assault of incarcerated women and others. The range, frequency and severity of gender-based violence against women across the world calls into question any claim that women and men enjoy equality, whether in Canada or in any other State.
What can I do?
- Raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at your local, provincial and federal levels. Establish the link between what happens to women in Ontario and Canada and what is happening to women around the world.
- Join a local women’s group—or start one if you don’t have one in your community—to raise this awareness on an ongoing basis.
- Donate to and volunteer for your local women’s services: shelter, rape crisis centre, women’s centre, immigrant women’s group, Aboriginal women’s services, etc.
- Create activities and spaces where issues of women’s equality and violence against women in Ontario and Canada can be shared and where strategies can be created to take action for changing the lives of women in your community.
- Make links to women in other places in the world who are working to end violence against women in their communities. Share strategies for making change that work.
- Pressure your elected official to keep the promises they often make about addressing violence against women. Some of the promises made by the federal governments of Canada are outlined in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which our country signed on to but does little to enforce domestically.
- Action Now!
- What We Think!
- Action Tools
- Equity Calendar
- International Women's Day
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- Mother's Day
- Pride Week
- National Aboriginal Solidarity Day
- Labour Day
- National Day of Vigils to Remember Murdered and Missing
- International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
- 16 Days of Activism
- International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
- World AIDS Day
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
- Human Rights Day
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