Violence against women is a scourge on humanity. It is the most pervasive, consistent and destructive human rights abuse in this world. This violence is not endemic to any region, rather it is worldwide phenomenon. Every year, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed on 25 November, the same date on which Mirabal sisters, leaders of a popular and feminist resistance in Dominican Republic were assassinated by the henchmen of Rafael Trujilio, Dominican dictator.
The day is observed to raise awareness about the plight of women around the world, to bring to fore the issues responsible for violence against women and to underscore the importance of timely and remedial action to end this societal vice. In 2008, an initiative was launched to end this scourge by the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. He started the UNiTE to end violence against women. The initiative has been supported by his successor, António Guterres.
UNiTE leads the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. The 16 days go on from 25th November to 10th December, which is Human Rights Day. The theme of the campaign for 2017 is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.” The slogan reiterates the UNiTE Campaign’s pledge to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching out to the most vulnerable and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations afflicted by conflicts and natural disasters.
The UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites people to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Attainment of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will remain elusive until and unless more measures are taken, including but not limited to awareness creation, legal frameworks, to counter the deeply entrenched institutional gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.