The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. For 2014, the official Theme framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign Unite to End Violence against Women is Orange your Neighbourhood.
Historically, the date is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic; the killings were ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). In 1981, activists marked November 25 as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women more broadly; on December 17, 1999, the date received its official United Nations (UN) resolution.
The UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have encouraged governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities to support the day as an international observance. For example, UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) observes the day each year and offers suggestions for other organizations to observe it. For 2014, the focus is on how violence cuts across all 12 of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which turns 20 next year.
Here are some statistics that show why we still need the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Around the world:
- 35 per cent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.
- It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from FGM and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide.
- Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations