International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: why it matters

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: why it matters

    The 25th of November marsk a date which is extremely important in our community, as it is the  International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  On this day, we show solidarity and raise awareness of the fact that women worldwide are subject to domestic violence, rape and other forms of violence. 

    Who are the Mirabal sisters?

    Women’s rights activists have started observing the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Young Girls in 1981. The specific date was selected to honor the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were ‘brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo’. The Mirabal sisters are seen as the symbols of popular feminist resistance.

    Characteristics of violence and how to recognize it 

    Violence against women and girls manifests itself in sexual, physical and psychological forms and women across the world, regardless of income, education or age are subject to it. The most common form of violence is from an intimate partner. Although sexual violence has a lower prevalence than physical violence, in most of the abusive relationships, both are present. 

    Worldwide, 35 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or by a nonā€partner at some point in their lives. 

    According to the United Nations, Violence Against Women and Young Girls encompasses the following:  

    • human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); 
    • sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment); 
    • intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide); 
    • female genital mutilation; and 
    • child marriage 

    Despite the  Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the  Initiative UNiTE to End Violence against Women, violence against women is still a pervasive problem worldwide. 

    Unfortunately, Less than 40% of victims of violence seek help of any sort. Amongst those who do, they rather look for help amongst friends and family instead of turning to the police and health services (less than 10% out of all the women seeking help go to the police).

    From the 25th of November until the 10th of December (Human Rights Day 16 day campaign to end violence against women and girls is happening around the world. To learn more and be able to contribute, please consult these sites:

    UNiTE to End Violence against Women

    16 days of activism 

    Take action to Orange your day

    Gender Equality

    Trends and Statistics

    Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

    The Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls

    End Violence Against Women

    Check out this Facebook Event where you can see how to contribute. 

     Wear Orange and use the #HearMeToo 

    On this day, you can show solidarity by wearing something orange. This color stands for a brighter future and a world where there is no violence against young girls and women. The hashtag used to spread awareness for this year will be #HearMeToo. Show your solidarity and compassion with women and share with our Fashion Potluck community how you did that. 

    Where to find help?

    Going to your closest police station or health center is the first step you should do. 

    If you are in the US, check this website with specific resources by state.  

    The National Domestic Hotline 

    National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    European countries: 

     Women Against Violence Europe 

    United Kingdom: 

    Women's Support Project  

    Netherlands: Rape Crisis Network Europe

    If you, or someone you know, is a victim of violence, please look for professional help immediately. As a community of young women, it is very important to show our solidarity and support women whose basic human rights are being violated. You never know what someone is going through, so don’t be judgmental but instead show empathy.

     Share love, fight for your rights,  be strong and support each other, not only this day but every day.



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