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Join Alianza in Commemorating November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -- the Start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the UN General Assembly designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness about this critical issue. November 25 has been observed by activists against violence since 1981. On this day in 1960, 3 young women--Minerva, Patria, and Maria Teresa Mirabal, were brutally assassinated in the Dominican Republic at the behest of the Dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.

Long Live the Butterflies/Que Vivan Las Mariposas

MirabalsThe Mirabals were four sisters from a city in the Dominican Republic called Salcedo who were part of a movement to end the fascist Trujillo government. The surviving sister, Bélgica (more commonly known as Dedé), lives in Salcedo, tending the Mirabal Sisters Museum which was created to maintain the memory of her slain sisters.

The Mirabal sisters, known as the Unforgettable Butterflies/Las Mariposas Inolvidables, are now national heroines of the Dominican Republic. They have been immortalized in poem, fiction, art, and with an international day dedicated to them. Their execution inspired a fictional account In the Time of the Butterflies on the young lives of the sisters written by Julia Alvarez. It describes their suffering and martyrdom in the last days of the Trujillo dictatorship.

The day reminds people internationally of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America and promotes global recognition of gender violence. It has been observed in Latin America since the 1980s.

November 25 also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25-December 10), an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25 (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10 (International Human Rights Day) in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day and December 1, World AIDS Day.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

To learn what women around the globe are doing during the 16 Days of Activism http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/campaign-calendar

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