UN launches campaign to end violence against women

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United Nations has launched a 16-day campaign to mark the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign will run from November 25 until December 10 (Human Rights Day), to raise awareness and end any form of violence against women, whether it is physical or psychological.

Organised every year, the campaign was created to promote discussion of violence against women and girls locally with the creation of workshops and activities aiming to involve smaller communities with the motto ‘Orange Your Neighbourhood.’

In order to effectively cover all areas concerned with violence against women, the campaign will be tackled in themes, including Education and Training of Women (November 26), Women in Power and Decision Making (December 3) and Women and the Media (December 5).

According to the Women’s Aid Annual Survey, it is estimated that 35% of women will be victims of physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime, while there are at least 30 million young girls aged 15 and under at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide.

In the year 2011/12, support was provided to 158,610 women and 38,585 children in the UK who were victims of domestic and sexual violence. In England and Wales alone, an average of two women are killed each week by a former or current partner (Source: Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2013)

Following comments made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Law Commission is seeking approval to amend the Offence against the Person Act 1861 in order to create specific criminal offences to process cases of domestic violence.

“It [the Commission] asks whether a new statute should include a new offence of minor injury and a dedicated offence to tackle domestic violence.”

There have been several attempts to modify the act in previous years, but all have been unsuccessful.

The starting day was selected to commemorate the sacrifice of the Mirabal sisters.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became founding members of the Movement of the Fourteenth of June­ – named to commemorate the victims of a massacre at the hands of Trujillo’s troops.

On 25 November 1960, the sisters were brutally murdered by henchmen, their bodies placed in a car and thrown into a ravine to stage an accident.

To mark the start of the campaign, UN Women illuminated two iconic New York buildings yesterday:

The campaign is also taking place in Myanmar, France, Italy and the UK.


Featured photography by Callie Vaught

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