Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's End Violence Against Women

Violence against women is endemic in the world today. Many women endure acts that result in "physical, sexual or psychological harm" perpetrated by strangers or individuals familiar to them. Violence against women includes acts of cruelty such as rape, torture, beatings, verbal abuse and many other indignities. Women are victims of violence both in armed conflict and peacetime; in public and in the privacy of their homes. In a bid to raise awareness about the plight of women around the world, the United Nations designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to the UN, up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime. November 25 was chosen because on this date, in 1960, three women were assassinated on the orders of Rafael Trujillo, autocratic ruler of Dominican Republic (1930-1961). The three women were sisters. Their names were:
  • Patria Mercedes Mirabal
  • Marja Argentina Minerva Mirabal
  • Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal.
The "Mirabal sisters" are the face of "victimization of women" around the world, and their story is a constant reminder why there is an urgent need for a coordinated fight to end violence against women.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is followed by "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence." [Source]. Hence 25 November to 10 December is dedicated to ending violence and other forms of human rights abuses against women. Activities designed to achieve this goal, such as workshops, press conferences, demonstrations, marches, vigils, sensitization campaigns, just to name a few, are encouraged during this period.

According to Amnesty International, the theme for the 16 days activism, 2011, is "from peace in the home to peace in the world: Lets Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women." This year, the organization's focus is on 5 countries, namely: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Afghanistan, Japan and Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). Visit Amnesty International's website and find out how you can help end violence against women and girls in these countries.

If you're a blogger, dedicate some time and space on your blog during this period to shine the spot light on violence against women. A simple blog post could go a long way in promoting women's rights. Take action to end violence against women.

You could also show support for the cause on your Facebook page or on Twitter. Every action taken to advance the cause counts.

"Joining in the efforts to stop violence is everybody's responsibility. Governments, private enterprises, civil society groups, communities and individual citizens can all make essential contributions. Men and boys must be active in encouraging respect for women and zero tolerance for violence."
- Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women.

UPDATE (1.12.2011): I came across the following compelling ad about the impact of domestic violence against women.

"Un homme qui frappe sa femme apprend la violence à ses enfants" means that a man who hits his wife teaches violence to his children.

*Photo of Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General. [Source].

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