November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is the first day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which ends on December 10th, Human Rights Day, in recognition of the fact that gender-based violence is a human rights violation.
As the nature of the day implies, The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women has a brutal history. In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated Nov 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to commemorate the assassinations of the Mirabal sisters on Nov 25th 1960. These women were activists in the Dominican Republic who called themselves “Las Mariposas” (the butterflies). On this day, three of the four sisters were brutally beaten to death for openly protesting against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Their names were Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal. For more information, please read: The Three Sisters, Avenged: A Dominican Drama.
Their deaths, though extremely brutal and under unique circumstances, demonstrate two things that still hold true today:
1) Violence against women can, and has, ended with women being killed. Violence can occur on a spectrum, and at one end violence can be subtle and hard to identify, such as acts of emotional abuse. At the other end, violence is more obvious, such as physical and sexual abuse, and when taken to the extreme can end in death.
2) Women who hold positions in public spaces often become targets for violence. In recent news we have seen many female politicians and activists who openly speak up against gender-based violence receiving online harassment and even threats against their lives. And this only covers the violence women face online, not including what they encounter on the street, at their work places and in their homes.
MOSAIC encourages everyone to stand up against gender-based violence and to take a stand with women. Let’s raise awareness of all forms of gender-based violence, particularly violence against women in both public and private. Now is not the time to stay silent about violence, whether it is at home or at work, on the street or online.
If you or someone you know is dealing with gender-based violence or trauma in their lives, feel free to contact MOSAIC’s Stopping the Violence and Multicultural Outreach Services for support by visiting mosaicbc.org/stv or calling 604-254-9626.
MOSAIC offers free, confidential counselling support and outreach services for all self-identifying women who have experienced, or are at risk of, abuse, threats, or violence in an intimate relationship, sexual assault or childhood abuse. For more information, please visit mosaicbc.org/stv.
If you have been the victim of a crime, we can provide emotional support, information about your rights, legal information and referrals to help in your recovery. For more information, please visit mosaicbc.org/mvs.