On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic were assassinated by henchmen of dictator Rafael Trujillo. The sisters, who had been active in movements against the Trujillo regime, were beaten and strangled to death, then placed in a Jeep that was driven off a mountainous road in order to make their deaths appear accidental. In December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The date marks the beginning of 16 days of remembrance and activism, culminating in International Human Rights Day.
According to a report by the United Nations, 19 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 years of age have experienced physical and/or sexual violence “by an intimate partner.” In some cases, this violence ends in the women’s death.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women timeline
- December 17, 1999
The Day Becomes Official
A United Nations resolution establishes November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Date is Saved
Women attending the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros mark November 25 as a day to raise awareness of violence against women.
- November 25, 1961
Mirabal sisters Assassinated
Three female Dominican political activists are assassinated. This is the event that will eventually inspire the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
How to Observe International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Join the movement
There are a lot of things you can do to keep the momentum going — from learning the facts about violence against women to organizing meetings, teach-ins and marches to express your support and solidarity.
Share photos, messages and videos showing how you "orange the world" alongside other women worldwide. It's all part of a campaign organized by UN Women, the United Nations organization that dedicates itself to gender equality and the continuing empowerment of women.
Write an op-ed
Most local newspapers are happy to accept opinion pieces from readers. Write an op-ed alerting others to the existence of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
5 Facts About Violence Against Women
It's an epidemic
An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have been physically and/or sexually assaulted by a nonpartner.
It's up close and personal
Some studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced violence from an intimate partner.
Women and girls account for 71 percent of all human trafficking victims.
The numbers are staggering
More than 1 in 10 females have experienced forced sexual acts in their lives.
Times are changing
At least 140 countries have laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment.
Why International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is Important
It raises awareness
Every second of every day, women around the world are subjected to violence. Observing this day provides us with the space to recognize the problem and to start taking steps to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate it.
It inspires action
This day is not only a chance to raise awareness but to create an atmosphere in which women and men can organize together and take direct action to combat the epidemic of violence against women.
It makes the future bright
Only when women are free from the fear of brutality can we start to create a future in which every person is treated with respect and dignity.