Back With A Jolt of S.O.L.T.

Back With A Jolt of S.O.L.T.

Observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women NOVEMBER 25, 2016.

Now that you survived the candy overload of October, District Meetings and Fall Festivals – we turn our thoughts to the holidays and to the observances of the United Nations and also Soroptimists around the world. Coming up in November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This is a global observance and not a public holiday. Let me give you a little background on this observance so that you can take it back to your club and educate your members new and seasoned about this important observance.

Background 
On November 25, 1960, three sisters, Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. The Mirabel sisters fought hard to end Trujillo's dictatorship. Activists on women's rights have observed a day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of these three women since 1981.

On December 17, 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly. Each year observances around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women concentrate on a particular theme, such as “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles” (2008).

(Resolution 54/134). The UN invited governments, international organizations and NGOs (NonGovernmental Organizations, such as Soroptimists) to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on this day as an international observance. Women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

Symbols 
Events around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women are coordinated by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The logo of this organization consists of "UNIFEM". The letters “U” and “N” are in blue and the letters “I”, “F”, “E” and “M” are in a darker shade of this color. An image of a dove surrounded by olive branches is to the right of the word. The image of the dove incorporates the international symbol for "woman" or "women". This is based on the symbol for the planet Venus and consists of a ring on top of a “plus” sign.

What Do People Do? 
Various activities are arranged around the world to draw attention to the need for continuing action to eliminate violence against women, projects to enable women and their children to escape violence and campaigns to educate people about the consequences of violence against women. Locally, women's groups may organize rallies, communal meals, fundraising activities and present research on violence against women in their own communities. An ongoing campaign that people are encouraged to participate in, especially around this time of the year when awareness levels for the day are high, is the “Say NO to Violence Against Women campaign”. Through the campaign, anyone can add their name to a growing movement of people who speak out to put a halt to human rights violations against women.

Why This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women 
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic. From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the color designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks!

Facts and Figures

  • 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.
  • An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.  Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
  • The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.

I’ve attached some handouts that I encourage you all to print out and give to your club members this month of November. Take action now! Let’s Orange the World!

Stacey Yurmanovic-Sawyer 
Sierra Nevada Region S.O.L.T. (Soroptimist Orientation Leadership Training) Coordinator.

Orange The World
Violence Against Women