Since 1981, the 25th of November has been observed as a day against gender-based violence in remembrance of the Mirabal sisters. The Mirabal sisters were three female political activists from the Dominican Republic who were assassinated on this day in 1960 in retaliation for fueling public outrage against then dictator, Rafael Trujillo. Historical strides to end the global crisis of gender-based violence include the UN General Assembly adoption of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979. Resolution 48/104 was issued to reinforce this commitment.
The UN General Assembly issued the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993 to address threats, coercion, deprivation of liberty, physical, sexual, or psychological harm. More recently, UNiTE to End Violence Against Women was a 2008 initiative which raised public awareness and improved resources and policy revisions dedicated to ending gender-based violence.
Nearly 1 in 3 women have experienced physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse in their lifetime. These numbers tend to rise during conflicts ,climate disasters, pandemics, and wars. Examples include mental abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, femicide, rape, unwanted sexual advances, forced sexual acts, child trafficking, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, stalking, cyber-harassment, human trafficking (sexual, slave labor), female genital mutilation and forced child marriage.
Only about 10 percent of women said that victims would file reports with law enforcement due to impunity, silence, shame, and stigma.
There are global resources that address human trafficking and forced labor and agencies that advocate for female bodily autonomy and provides resources to end violence against women. UNICEF and UNFPA launched global programming that addresses child marriages. In the US, PlanUSA.org also addresses gender and youth equality and human rights issues. Child sexual abuse resources for the United States can be found here. The UN also has a Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Information that combats cyber harassment can be found here and here.
It is vital for governments to put protections and reparations in place for victims as well as hold existing perpetrators accountable and deter future aggression. ICHRRF is marking the occasion by exhorting all societies to work towards the goal of zero violence against women.