"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 ." - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The specific date was chosen to commemorate three activist women from the Dominican Republic who were killed in 1960. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is a day that recognizes and raises awareness of the various forms of violence used against women all around the world, and it emphasizes that this violence is often hidden from the public eye. This day is so important because violence against women is a horrendous human rights violation which can be prevented.
There are many examples of these human rights violations which could have been prevented. It is estimated that up to 35% of women and girls globally face physical or sexual violence at sometime during their lives. In some countries, this figure gets as high as 70%, a nauseatingly high percentage. Today, 30 million girls face the risk of undergoing Female Genital Cutting, and over 130 million women and girls have undergone the procedure already. 250 million women alive today were married when they were 15 or even younger. Studies suggest that girls who marry before they are of age are more likely to drop out of school, experience domestic violence, and experience complications in childbirth.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women begins 16 days of activism that lead to Human Rights Day. During those 16 days, the United Nations encourages us to raise awareness of the issue of violence against women by “oranging” our neighborhoods; in other words, by wearing orange, by making orange signs, by tying orange ribbons around trees, by organizing “orange marches,” and doing other activities that raise public awareness of this human rights issue. I encourage you to find your own special way to participate in “oranging” your neighborhood, even if it just means wearing an orange tee-shirt on November 25th.