I was doing some research into what actually prompted the 16 Days of Activism into a global response. What I came upon was the “The Brutal Triple Murder”. While reading I was a bit disturbed and disgruntled. I was angry and wanted so badly to be there in that moment. The Mirabal sisters- political activists opposing Dictator Rafael Trujillo in Dominica Republic, were assassinated on November 25, 1960. A documentary on the incident has since been filmed and as of 1999 the world has been commemorating November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The sisters were beaten to death in a cane field in their fight for freedom and their deaths framed as a car accident. I know things would be different back then but if it were now I tell myself I would not have allowed that to happen. The world would not have allowed that I tell myself optimistically.
But are we not now allowing our women and girls to be violated every day? World Health Organization Fact Sheet November 2014 [http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/] states that 35% of women worldwide has experienced sexual violence with 38% of murders of women being committed by a partner. The same fact sheet also highlights some of consequences and causes of violence against women. What are we doing to end this growing statistic and to help women and men alike to understand what violence actually is? The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. While I agree with this definition of violence some aspects of the consequences of violence are missing, as a result I fully agree with Women living with HIV accepted definition of violence against women which states that: “Violence against women living with HIV is any act, structure or process in which power is exerted in such a way to cause physical, sexual, psychological, legal and financial harm.”
With this in mind it is critical that we unite to provide sensitization removing myths and normalization of violence and strengthen the legal frameworks if we are to “Orange the World with Hope” and eliminate violence against our women and girls.
For more information on the history and getting involved please visit: http://www.codenamebutterflies.org/story.html ; http://endviolence.un.org/orangeday.shtml ; http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism .
Submitted by -Noya Davis