On 25 November 1960(link is external), the Mirabal sisters were brutally assassinated because of their identity as women and activists. Their only crime was having fought for their rights against the Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 48/104(link is external) for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which defines this type of violence 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.” Consequently, to solidify this decision, in 1999 the General Assembly proclaimed 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Violence against women is an obstacle to constructing inclusive and sustainable societies. This is why UNESCO highlights gender equality and non-violence. It is impossible for a society to blossom if half of the population lives in fear of being assaulted.
Observing this day symbolizes the mobilization against violence against women and reminds us that women must be at the heart of change.
"At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis, we must not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic is superimposed on a "shadow pandemic", that of violence against girls and women."
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women