Campaigners and governments all over the world have united today to call for an end to violence against women.
Today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women — also known as the White Ribbon Day or Orange Day — kicks off a 16 day activist campaign against gender-based violence, which will end on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
According to the United Nations, the campaign aims to “raise public awareness and mobilise people everywhere to bring about change”.
The theme of this year’s campaign is Leave no one behind. Unite, the UN organisation leading the campaign, said this theme would reach all women, especially “the most undeserved and marginalised, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and disasters”.
Why 25 November?
On 25 November 1960, three women, the Mirabel sisters, who were political activists in the Domincan Republic, were assassinated by the order of dictator Rafael Trujilo.
In 1981, The United Nations General Assembly selected this date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and encouraged countries, citizens and organisations to campaign and spread public awareness on the issue.
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Almost 40 years later and violence against women still remains an issue. Figures released by the UN show that one out of every three women is a victim of violence during her lifetime.
Earlier this month US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said:
Nearly two decades after the United Nations General Assembly established IDEVAW, we continue to recognize that violence against women remains a persistent threat and an obstacle to achieving womens’ equality.
White and orange
Unite is promoting the day and subsequent campaign with the term Orange the World, encouraging people to “orange streets, schools and landmarks”. According to the group the colour symbolises a brighter future without violence
The campaign, managed by UN Women, states that the 25 day of every month will become Orange day and should be used to raise awareness on violence against women and girls.
Meanwhile, the White Ribbon Campaign, which is popular in Australia, urges men to take the pledge, to wear T-shirts, wrist bands and ribbons, host fundraisers and make donations to women support services such as women’s shelters.
The Kering Foundation, a body that combats Violence Against Women, also launched a new digital campaign which hopes to “educate younger generations in order to provoke a deep and sustainable cultural change on this worldwide issue”.
In the UK, where more than half of women aged 18-21 have reported an abusive incident from their partner, local councils such as the Borough of Barking and Dagenham are encouraging people to donate old, working mobile phones that can be given to those in abusive relationship so they can be in contact with support networks.