A small group of people may pause and reflect on its significance, however; it is possible that a larger portion of people may be left wondering what are they talking about. What we are talking about is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This date received its official United Nations resolution on Dec. 17, 1999, to mark the terrible tragic that happened in 1960 when three Mirabel sisters who were political activists from Dominican Republic were ordered killed by dictator Rafael Trujillo. Activists starting marking this date much earlier in 1981, as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women.
It is now the first of sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence that is marked every year by anti-violence groups, organizations and governments working towards the eradication of violence towards women and girls. The United Nations states that violence against women is a human rights violation and that up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetimes. Violence against women and girls takes many forms and is different for everyone experiencing it but no one deserves to have their basic human rights and dignities violated.
So much is lost when a person’s basic rights are taken from them, physically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and financially to touch on some. In 2013, Status of Women Canada stated that $4.8 billion dollars a year is spent addressing violence against women. This figure represents the reactive response of government in addressing the substantial consequences of violence on one of our most vulnerable populations.
Status of Women Canada also provides us with ways to mark a call to action to address and raise awareness of violence against women through their 16 Facts and Actions in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The first of these provided to us by the Status of Women Canada is: Share a fact or action on violence against women and girls using your favorite social media. The remaining Facts and Actions will be shared daily on our Grace Sparkes House Facebook page.
A local initiative, during the 16 Days of Activism, Grace Sparkes House will be hosting the 2nd annual One Peaceful Night ‘in pyjamas’. This event is being held at St. Gabriel’s Hall on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. If you would like more information on this event or to purchase tickets, please contact 279-3566.
“Violence against Women and Girls Affects us All. Do Something!” – Status of Women Canada
Barb Barry, child services worker
Grace Sparkes House