Today: November 25, 2013.
When I saw a faint watermark of a ribbon (in the likes of the pink ribbon) on the Google page, it kindled the curiosity in me.
A click on the ribbon led me to this website:
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It said that year after year, 25th November and the following 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence culminating on International Human Rights Day on 10th December is observed around the globe, providing everyone a chance to create awareness and invite attention to contain the ever increasing violence against women and girls. It has always been there, but now more women have gathered couraged to raise the din.
November 25th 1960 also is the day on which the three Mirabal sisters who opposed the the dictatorial regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina aka El Jefe, meaning The Chief or Boss, in the Dominican Republic were brutally killed. Incarcerated and tortured many a time for opposing the tyrannical regime, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa along with their driver were heinously clubbed to death. Their battered bodies were then piled in their jeep and run off the mountainous terrain to make it seem like an accident. The fourth sister lived to narrate the horrendous fate of her sisters.
Unwittingly and ironically, by ordering their death, Rafael Trujillo, invited the beginning of the end of his atrocious regime. Dominican-American writer Julia Álvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) is a fictional account on the lives on the Mirabal sisters. A movie of the same name was also made in 2001. In 1999 the United Nations paid homage to the sisters who were referred to as the “Inolvidables Mariposas”, the “Unforgettable Butterflies” by declaring November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The sisters thus have become a symbol against victimization of women – a scourge that needs concerted attention. Rape, domestic violence, inappropriate surveillance and strip searches, trafficking, gender discrimination, genital mutilation, female infanticide and foeticide, dowry killing, honour killing… violence against women is countless.
The statistics in the website are simply scary – some of which are:
- One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime.
- A 2013 WHO global study points to the fact that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence.
Every year 2 million girls are thought to be at risk of genital
Diana Russell, the sociologist, calls killing of females by males just because they are female as “Femicide”.
Did you know that activists all over the globe, governments, NGOs and communities have organized Orange Day actions calling for safety from violence at homes, schools, work places and public spaces? In 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. This aims at a special awareness campaign and activism against gender violence and through that Orange the World in 16 Days. Every 25th is to be observed as Orange Day according to the UN.
We need to raise this awareness in our own communities. Schools should be places where we can sow these seeds and help our girls look boldly, meeting the eye, and say a big No to violence inflicted on them. Catch them young, isn’t it?