The UN has designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The day is intended to highlight the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, trafficking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and other forms of gendered violence. The Flame has a discussion piece on the rise in violence against women which readers might find relevant.

Mirabal Sisters
The Mirabal Sisters

On this day we remember Patria, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabel. The three sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, who were assassinated in a ‘car accident’ on 25th November 1960. These brave women were killed for their involvement in attempts to overthrow the fascist government of Rafael Trujillo. The sisters quickly became symbols of dignity and inspiration. Their lives raised the spirits of all those they encountered and later, after their death, not only those in the Dominican Republic but others around the world. You can read more about these extraordinary women in Julia Alverez,  historical novel, In the Time of the Butterflies.

In July 1981 women from across Latin America came together in Columbia, appalled by the extent and diversity of violence against women. They agreed to hold an annual day of protest and they decided to adopt the 25th of November in memory of the Mirabel sisters.

julia-alvarez-butterfly

This tradition has continued on with the introduction of the first White Ribbon Campaign in July 1991 which was launched by men in Canada after the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. It is now an international effort of men and boys working to end violence against women. Its basic principle is the importance of men and boys to speak out against all forms of violence against women.

Today, campaigners will be drawing attention to the fact that the true scale and nature of this issue is often hidden. We will be calling on governments to comply with their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.Unite urges all members to this important goal. Every year Unite supports the 16 Days of Action campaign, from 25th of November until International Human Rights Day on 10th of December. This year we are supporting the campaign by circulating white ribbons, which will be available in the Dublin and Belfast offices.

stop violence against women

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