I want to live free. From violence.

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


Today, IUSY and YES jointly recall once again to stop violence against women*. November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 and fought for by grass roots feminist activists since the 1980s. Historically, the date commemorates the assassinations of the political activists and sisters Patria Mirabal Mercedes, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, known as Las Mariposas (The Butterflies). The dictatorship in the Dominican Republic reacted to their resistance with raping and torturing them to death. To remember their struggle, a congress of South American and Caribbean feminists in Bogotá, Colombia introduced November 25th firstly in 1981.

We are proud to remember that the establishment of this day is due to feminist grass roots pressure. This spirit is the heart of this year’s YES and IUSY campaign. It was elaborated by a group of global feminist grass roots activists from our member organizations that gathered at the joint YES and IUSY feminist seminar for a weekend.

The struggle for a society without gender-based violence must be a struggle for feminism within society. It must be an essential part of the struggle for social justice. Both causes and consequences of violence against women* are numerous and go hand in hand with the unequal distribution of power. What we want to stress with our campaign is one very basic, strong demand: we want to live free. From violence. Violence that can’t be narrowed down to physical abuse, but instead has different faces that are all interlinked. So adding up to physical violence, we experience for instance structural violence, economic and political violence, emotional violence and sexualized violence. Women* are exposed to violence in a range of settings, from private to public, and trascending national boundaries.

Our message is about breaking the silence and de-stigmatizing the various notions of violence women* have to experience. We are neither afraid nor will be made silent about this topic. Not today – and on no other day in the upcoming year. Let’s get involved – we need every single voice to support this cause.

Shaping a future of gender equality, all of us should also participate in today’s action day task of making the institutions that are already there to help women* in situations of violence more visible. If you know places that support women* in situations of violence, share this knowledge with the women* that surround you. Stand up for more safe spaces for women*, stand up for more prevention measures, for better and more sensitive education on gender-based violence, speak up against oppression. Stand up for feminism wherever you act. We need all of you, because we are in this together. Fight with us for gender equality and against violence against women*!

We want to live free. From violence.

No more excuses.

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