UN observes Day for Elimination of Violence against Women

The United Nations is observing today, the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters,the  three political activists who were brutally assassinated by Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo in 1960.

Historically, the day was observed every year since 1981, however in 1999 United Nations declared it as an official day. The Day also kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign which runs until 10 December (Human Rights Day), inviting individuals and groups to mobilize and call for the elimination of violence against women and girls. This year’s official theme, framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, is “Orange the World in 16 Days”

To mark the day several events would be organized worldwide. At UN Headquarters, the Italian Mission, UN Women and the Department of Public Information will co-host the commemoration of the International Day to End Violence against Women by presenting the play “Wounded to Death” by renowned Italian playwright Serena Dandini. “Wounded to Death” is a series of monologues that give voice to women who have died as a result of femicide (murder of women based on their gender). The enactments will be presented by women from the world of entertainment, art and civil society, including among others Italian actors Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Valeria Golino; photographer Nan Goldin and artist Marina Abramovic.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says in his message, “I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence that affects an estimated one in three women in her lifetime. I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets. And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims to heal and to become agents of change .”

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. According to a 2013 WHO global study, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner.  Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.

Below are some of the key figures about Violence Against Women (as per UN)

  • Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims
  • It is estimated that more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM/C, mainly in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.