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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women | United Nations
As in previous years, this year's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women launches 16 days of activism to be concluded on the 10th of December 2020 — the day that commemorates the International Human Rights Day. Several public events are being coordinated and iconic buildings and landmarks will be 'oranged' to recall the need for a violence-free future.
2021 Theme: Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!
Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters. A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
To raise awareness, this year's theme is "Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!". Orange is our color to represent a brighter future free of violence against women and girls. Be part of the orange movement!
Join our 16 days of activism
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will mark the launch of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign (Nov 25- Dec 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on the day that commemorates the International Human Rights Day (10 December).
This campaign, led by the UN Secretary-General and UN Women since 2008, aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world, calling for global action to increase awareness, promote advocacy and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions.
Among its activities, there is a UN official event that will take place on November 24 (10.00-11.30am ET.) You can follow teh webinar online through the UN Women’s website by registering in advance. The campaign also includes the launch of a new report with updated data on gender violence, as well as a multitude of digital initiatives in which you can participate.
Iconic buildings and landmarks will be 'oranged' to recall the need for a violence-free future. So if you see orange lights, remember the meaning!
Why we must eliminate violence against women
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life. For example, early-set educational disadvantages not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women in the labour market.
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable - for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights. All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - to leave no one behind - cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.
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Background | United Nations
Taking a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
Despite the adoption of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem worldwide.
To that end, the General Assembly issued resolution 48/104, laying the foundation for the road towards a world free of gender-based violence.
Another bold step in the right direction was embodied by an initiative launched in 2008 and known as the UNiTE to End Violence against Women. It aims to raise public awareness around the issue as well as increase both policymaking and resources dedicated to ending violence against women and girls worldwide.
Yet, there is still a long way to go at the global scale. To date, only two out of three countries have outlawed domestic violence, while 37 countries worldwide still exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution if they are married to or eventually marry the victim and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.
A Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Women's rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. This date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
On 20 December 1993, the General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through resolution 48/104, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
Finally, on 7 February 2000, the General Assembly adopts resolution 54/134, officially designating 25 November as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and in doing so, inviting governments, international organizations as well as NGOs to join together and organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.
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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Resolution 54/134). The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. For 2014, the official Theme framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, is Orange your Neighbourhood. For 2018, the official theme is "Orange the World:#HearMeToo", for 2019 it is "Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape" and for 2020 it is "Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!".
Historically, the date is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic; the killings were ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). In 1981, activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros marked November 25 as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women more broadly; on February 7, 2000, the date received its official United Nations (UN) resolution.
The UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have encouraged governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities to support the day as an international observance. For example, UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) observes the day each year and offers suggestions for other organizations to observe it. For 2014, the focus is on how violence cuts across all 12 of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which turns 20 next year.
In her message for 25 November 2014, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said:
In his message on the day in 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated:
The actress Melania Dalla Costa is testimonial for the 2019 United Nations (UNICRI) campaign ‘I am no longer myself’ against violence towards women, to be held on the November 25th International Day for the elimination of violence against women. The campaign was handled by photographer Dimitri Dimitracacos.
Recognition in different countries
In Australia, a campaign has formed around International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Marches attracted hundreds of participants in Bogota, Paris, and Rome. Thousands marched in San José, Costa Rica and Lima. Over 1,000 Turkish protesters turned out for a banned march in Istanbul; police cut off the end of the march and dispersed the marchers peacefully.
According to the organizers, around 150 thousand of participants in Rome for the third Non Una Di Meno (Italian chapter of Ni Una Menos association) march for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and against Pillon decree, which took place from Piazza della Repubblica to Piazza San Giovanni. Among the participants, the former president of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini.
Data on violence against women
A March 2013 article on The Conversation featured an article entitled "Ending violence against women is good for everyone" in relation to the observance of International Women's Day on that year. The article states that, while a general Australian belief exists that violence against Australian women is less severe in comparison to other nations, the Australian Bureau of Statistics had revealed in a report that "one in three Australian women will experience physical violence in their lifetime, while 23% to 28% will experience sexual or emotional harm." The statistics were taken from a report, published in 2005 (reissue), entitled "Personal Safety Survey Australia".
The Conversation article by Linda Murray and Lesley Pruitt then provided further Australia-specific data: "Violence is the leading cause of death, illness and disability for Australian women aged 15 to 44. It’s responsible for more illness and premature death than any other preventable cause, such as hypertension, obesity, or smoking." The article refers to The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 that was published by the Australian government in September 2012—the foreword of the Plan states:
In September 2014, Australia's VicHealth released the results of the National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey. This was the third of a series of such surveys, the first dating from 1995, and the second from 2009. The information was gathered by telephone interviews with over 17,500 Australian men and women aged over 16 years, and indicated a continuing need for future prevention activity.
The latest data from the Italian Institute of Statistics point out that of the over 49,000 women who asked for help from the anti-violence centres in 2017, 64% had children, almost all of them minors, and 27% were foreign citizens. Of these, more than 29,000 have started their journey out of violence.
Human Rights Day
The date of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women also marks the start of the "16 Days of Activism" that precedes Human Rights Day on December 10 each year.
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