On this day 40 years ago,

the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” was proclaimed for the first time by various South American human rights organizations. The aim of this campaign day is to raise awareness about violent crimes against women. The campaign aims to draw attention to forced prostitution, sexual abuse, sex tourism, rape, female circumcision, domestic violence, forced marriage, prenatal sex selection, female poverty, femicides and other crimes against women. Since 1999, this day has also been declared an international day of commemoration and action by the United Nations.

The background for the choice of the date is the assassination of the Mirabal siblings. The Dominican women human rights activists who planned the overthrow of dictator Rafael Trujillo with the Agrupación política 14 de junio (Political Grouping of June 14). On Trujillo’s orders, the siblings Patria, Minerva and María Mirabal were assassinated on November 25, 1960, on Trujillo’s orders. The assassination cost the dictator further sympathy within the population, the United States and surrounding countries. The sisters subsequently became symbolic figures for resistance to the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Trujillo was assassinated in 1961 and his regime was ousted a short time later by a military revolt.

According to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the number of acts of violence in partnerships in Germany alone rose by 4.9% to 119,164 in 2020 compared to 2019. A study commissioned by the EU in 2015 found that around one third of all women had suffered from physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 16.