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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - November 25th.



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UNIFEM AUSTRALIA Incorporated United Nations Development Fund for Women

MEDIA RELEASE

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - November 25th

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture, or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards

equality, development and peace.” Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

November 25th is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW). On this day both men and women all over the world reaffirm their commitment to ending violence against women.

UNIFEM Australia will be actively promoting IDEVAW by inviting Australians to wear a white ribbon. Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit or to remain silent about violence against women.

IDEVAW was established by the United Nations in 1993 with the General Assembly’s adoption of Resolution 54/134. But its origins go back to 1960 when three Mirabel sisters, the ‘Unforgettable Butterflies’ from the Dominican Republic, were violently assassinated for their political activism. The sisters, became a symbol of the outcry against the violence against women in Latin America. November 25th was the date chosen to commemorate their lives and to promote the global abolition of such violence.

The last two decades have seen some progress. Forty-five nations, including Australia, now have legislation specifically against domestic violence.

Nevertheless UN statistics on violence against women are still staggering. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten or raped, often by someone she knows. In South Africa every 23 seconds a woman is raped; in the US every 15 seconds a women is the victim of domestic violence; and in the UK 30% of women are physically abused by their partners or ex-partners. In Rwanda from April 94 to April 95 estimates of the number of women and girls raped ranged from 15,700 to 250,000.

Australia is not immune to such shameful statistics. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 38% of women have experienced at least one incident of violence, 42% have experienced abuse by a former partner, with almost three quarters of a million women being pregnant when abused by a partner.

Yet more can and is being done. All over Australia November 25th has opened the door for communities to speak out for women’s protection nationally and internationally.

White ribbons can be ordered at ribbons@unifem.org.au For more information on IDEVAW and how you can get involved please contact Libby Lloyd AM, President, UNIFEM Australia ph 0416 244 501, president@unifem.org.au