25N International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: History and Why To March

At 25N we invite you to add your voice and actions to the elimination of violence against women. We tell you the story of this date and why it is important to raise awareness about this type of violence with alarming figures in Latin America.

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LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: 25N Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer: historia y por qué marchar

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a date created to raise awareness about this problem. It is not a day of celebration. On the contrary, it is a day of struggle to demand a more egalitarian society, to create awareness that gender violence is very serious and that many more efforts are necessary to eradicate it. It is a day to say that #NosQueremosVivas and that we do not admit #NiUnaMenos

According to United Nations figures, "one in three women is affected by some type of gender violence and every 11 minutes a woman or girl is killed by a family member." Every year this organization starts an activism campaign against this type of violence, called "Unite", which lasts 16 days. That is, it ends on December 10 to open the International Day of Human Rights.

History Of 25 N: The Murder Of The Mirabal Sisters

November 25 was chosen as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in honor of the Mirabal sisters. They are Minerva, Patricia, and María Teresa Mirabal, known as "Las Mariposas", three brave women from the Dominican Republic who stood up to the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Faced with threats from the regime, Minerva made a statement that has become a reality " If they kill me, I will take my arms out of the grave and I will be stronger." It came true because today, together with her sisters, she is an icon of resistance against oppressive regimes and of the courage to speak out against injustice.

Although it could be argued that her murder responded to political reasons rather than gender, this is not entirely true. Although in dictatorships, as in armed conflicts, human rights are indiscriminately violated, women and children tend to bear the brunt and are more exposed to other types of violence, such as sexual violence.

Undoubtedly, these sisters not only bothered the regime by opposing its operation but also transgressed the customs of the time: they studied women and leaders without fear of speaking up and with a voice in the public sphere. "Las Mariposas" have inspired the Latin American and world feminist movements. In fact, in 1981 the First Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Meeting were held in Colombia, in which November 25 was defined as the International Day of Non-Violence against Women, the date on which the Mirabal sisters were murdered. "In the said meeting, the women denounced the gender abuses they suffer at the domestic level, as well as the rape and sexual harassment by the States, including torture and imprisonment for political reasons," says information from the Casa Museo Mirabal sisters.

Why March On 25N?

There is an almost innumerable list of reasons to go out and march this 25N. For Lina María Quintero, who was raped and impaled in Colombia; for Ariadna Fernanda López Díaz, who was brutally murdered in Mexico; by Hilary Castro, sexually abused on public transport; and for so many other women who have been victims. Likewise, for the millions of women in every part of the world who live in constant danger of being victims of male violence.

The Feminist Alliance for the Mapping of Feminicides in Ecuador pointed out that in this country, for gender reasons, a woman dies every 28 hours. In Colombia, data on violence against women in 2022 have been revealed, where Legal Medicine indicates that it has carried out 45,472 medical-legal examinations for intrafamily violence and 140 femicides have been reported, although the figures are estimated to be higher. In Mexico, the figures are alarming. A government Security Report indicated that until October 2022 there have been 792 femicides.

And these data are repeated alarmingly in practically all the countries of the region. However, regardless of the number, each case of violence and femicide is inadmissible and it is urgent to eradicate this violence, which has increased in several countries this year. One of the most complicated points is impunity and the lack of access to justice for women, as well as the difficulty in accessing effective complaint and support channels.

Violence With Many Faces

Although the most visible and extreme face of violence is femicide, there are many forms of violence against women. Many are not visible and, many others, seem to be normalized in society, among other things justified by the culture of rape. It is a series of imaginaries about women and their sexuality that end up reifying and sexualizing them.

Violence against women is one of the most persistent and widespread human rights violations in the world. In this sense, it implies economic violence, psychological violence, emotional violence, sexual violence, physical violence, human trafficking, vicarious violence (murdering children to harm mothers), genital mutilation, child marriage, or cyberbullying.

What Can We Do?

Marching on this day and filling the streets with messages about the need to have policies for the prevention, care, and punishment of violence against women and girls is an excellent step. However, it is a daily task and this is not the time to be silent. On the contrary, to achieve a real transformation, it is necessary to change the culture and make the laws and regulations effective and grant real guarantees.

We recommend you read: Interview: Egalitarian masculinities, urgent in Latin America

You can support feminist groups; prevent the dissemination of hate messages; help inform and raise awareness among those around you about the magnitude of the situation of gender violence and disseminate the care channels for those who suffer it; vote for candidates who work on these issues and change everyday behaviors.

If you are a man, you need to join. To begin with, evaluate your macho behaviors and start to question those of your closest circle. Remember that behind many behaviors that seem harmless or innocent, there may be a legitimization of violence. It is time to overcome toxic masculinity and work for a fairer world that does not endanger half of the world's population.

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