Honoring International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th)

November 25th Is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The significance of November 25th stems from the persistent and pervasive issue of violence against women worldwide. Regardless of socioeconomic background, age, or ethnicity, women across the globe face varying degrees of violence, from micro-aggressions and systemic discrimination to physical and psychological harm. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women serves not just as a reminder of the struggles many women face but also as a rallying call to communities and nations to put an end to these heinous acts.

The Historical Context:

The selection of November 25th for this day of observance is both symbolic and historically significant. The date commemorates the 1960 assassination of the Mirabal sisters, three political activists in the Dominican Republic, ordered by Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. Their courage in standing up to a tyrannical regime and their subsequent martyrdom underlines the broader themes of resistance against oppression and the fight for women’s rights.

The Global Picture:

It’s essential to recognize that violence against women isn’t just an issue in one country or region – it’s global. From domestic violence cases that often remain hidden behind closed doors to public acts of aggression, harassment, and even legalized discrimination, women face threats in many forms. Recognizing this day is a step towards acknowledging the global scale of the problem.

Here are five ways we can honor this day, according to author and survivor, Alle C. Hall.

  1. Wear Orange: Anyone Can Do It!

“The UN has marked orange as the color for this critical day, symbolizing a brighter future without violence.  Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to wear orange, too. Pass out ribbons! Suggest a shirt you know this person favors, an accessory you’ve seen them wear. Wearing orange is a simple yet powerful way to show solidarity and raise awareness,” Hall shares.

  1. Talk to a Guy:

“While one in nine males experience domestic violence, by far the greater number of survivors are female: one in four. I just had a conversation with a man in his late 70s who–bless his heart!–was impatient with a DV survivor character in a book who, as he saw it, “didn’t get it together.” It took me a few breaths, but I was able to draw from him some empathy when I asked a few questions: do you know what flesh sounds like, getting slapped? Do you know the kinds of sounds a person makes, taking a hit? Do you know that one out of every fifteen victims of DV is a child? Do you have grandchildren? By letting him answer the questions without levying judgment, he was able to draw his own conclusions: the victim is not at fault. The victim is doing their best to become a survivor.” 

  1. Raise Awareness: 

“Host or bring two friends to a workshop, webinar, or panel discussions that shed light on the various forms of violence against women. Clarify that domestic violence includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.Then, text or tweet the stories and statistics you learn about. Be someone who takes down those myths by providing clarity on the true extent of the problem.” 

  1. Support Local Organizations:

Hall says, “Many NGOs and shelters work tirelessly to support survivors and combat violence against women. On this day, donate at least $5, or give at least one hour, or bring over a box of soap or baby powder. Even sharing the work of these organizations on social media can boost their reach and impact.”

  1. Participate in Community Events: 

“Today, can you join a march or candlelight vigil? Can you visit an art installation that commemorates the day? With one hour of your time, you can assist in creating the structure needed for collective mourning as well as for healing, and solidarity.” 

Change does not come in isolation. It requires collective acknowledgment, effort, and action. Each individual, community, and nation has a part to play. While grassroots movements can spark local change, global collaboration can lead to universal standards and solutions.

“Eliminating violence against women isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human one. Men and women batter, and women and men are abused. In standing proud and together on a day committed to eliminating domestic violence, we are moving people to a time when, as Judy Chicago once wrote, ‘All men and women will be gentle, and all women and men will be strong’.” Hall shares.

It’s vital to perpetuate the spirit of the day year-round. Continuous dialogue, consistent advocacy, and daily acts of kindness and respect can go a long way in creating an environment where women are safe, respected, and valued. After all, a society that uplifts its women uplifts itself. The dream is a world where such a day of observance becomes obsolete, not because it’s forgotten, but because violence against women is eradicated.