Mirabal Sisters: Nov. 25 Intern'l Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
South Coast
The Brutal Triple Murder Behind the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Nov. 25 kicks off 16 days of activism to advance equality for women

The Empire State Building was lit up orange Monday night, but the color wasn?t a reference to a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. It was to mark Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which hits its 15th anniversary this year.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women isn?t just a single day ? it?s the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which culminates on Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. The days are meant to ?symbolically link violence against women with human rights, and to emphasize that such violence is the worst form of violation of women?s human rights,? explains Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the U.N. and Deputy Executive Director of U.N. Women. ?Violence against women is one of the most tolerated violations of human rights. It?s unacceptable.?

And Nov. 25 wasn?t randomly chosen. Though the day now addresses the issue of violence against women everywhere, its story starts with one particular ? and particularly brutal ? act.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was started in 1999 to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic who were assassinated on this date in 1960 for opposing dictator Rafael Trujillo. The three sisters started an anti-Trujillo group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June, named after a massacre reportedly ordered by the dictator. They called themselves, ?Las Mariposas,? or ?the butterflies,? and openly protested Trujillo and his regime. To retaliate, his henchmen beat the sisters to death in a cane field and faked a car accident to explain their deaths.

Puri says the day was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters? courage in taking political action despite the brutality they faced. ?Violence against women in politics is also a very particular form of violence, to intimidate them so they don?t engage in politics,? she says.

The 16 Days of Activism are meant to raise global awareness of the violence endured by women and girls around the world, Puri explains. The 16 days will include marches, marathons and other public activism to promote gender equality and improve the lot of women everywhere. According to U.N. estimates, 35% of women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence, 700 million women alive today were married as children and more than 133 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation. The U.N. estimates that in 2012 over half of murdered women were killed by partners or family members, and that 120 million girls worldwide have been forced to have sex at some point in their lives. ?Together, we must end this global disgrace,? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said at a ceremony before the lighting of the Empire State Building.

?It?s a very difficult issue to tackle without a mindset change,? Puri says, adding that the 16 Days of Activism are intended to challenged the entrenched gender inequality in most societies. Activists in Mexico City will run a marathon to end the violence, a film series about women?s lives will be screened in Uganda and public spaces in India will turn orange to support the cause. But do any of these actions really help women who are trapped in forced marriages or subjected to brutal violence? ?It creates a culture of zero tolerance,? she says. ?It creates awareness, it shows the determination of people, and it becomes the new normal.?

The day has been celebrated every year since 1999, but it takes on extra significance this year. It?s not just the 15th anniversary of the first The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, but it?s also an occasion to look forward to 2015, which will mark 20 years since the groundbreaking Beijing Platform for Action. That?s where Hillary Clinton made her famous speech saying, ?human rights are women?s rights and women?s rights are human rights.?

The U.N. is also taking greater steps to include men in their mission to elevate global women, with their He for She program launched this year. Puri says they?re trying to challenge the idea ?that it?s a right of a man to be violent and that it?s the fate of the woman to be subjected to violence.?

?These things,? she says, ?have to change.?



Just A Few Words
Oct 27, 2014
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


And don't forget, the date was also chosen to honor our own Mirabal Sisters. The three mariposas were murdered on this date by Trujillo in 1960. May their memory be for a blessing always.


Nov 20, 2013
wow i just find it hard to believe that this guy killed three sisters....


Moderator - North Coast Forum & Covid
Apr 3, 2009
Santiago DR
About 7 Years ago, I had taken a tour of the house where Dede and her sisters grew up.
I'm a history buff and this was a must see for me.
It was a long drive from Santiago, but it ended up being worth every minute.
When my girlfriend and I arrived, there was this beautiful elderly woman sitting in a chair by the front door, she had black hair with all blond in the front.
Other than the young woman collecting a small fee for the tour, we were the only ones there at this time.
Giving us a beautiful smile, she invited us to sit with her and we ended up having the nicest conversation for about 30 minutes. My Spanish wasn't up to par at this time so my girlfriend was my interpreter. She told us her name was Dede, and she was one of the Mirabal sisters.
She proceeded to tell us the history of the house and how her sisters gave their lives in their fight against Trujillo.
Everything in the house was exactly as it was when her sisters lives were ended.
The furniture, pictures on the walls, even the kitchenware, it was like entering another time and place.
Even the heavily damaged frame of the vehicle the sisters were in was stationed on the property for all to see.
it was such a pleasure to have met this endearing woman, It was a sad day for me when I heard of Dede's passing a couple of years ago.
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Jan 12, 2010
And still has a million admirers in the DR, plus quite a few on this board.

Not I , I can assure you . Trujillo was a brute and a mass murderer and his type of rigid dictatorial rule is thought by many to be the reason why so many people acted with disrespect to laws after his death. a chance to reject authority. .The Mirabel sisters came from a wealthy and well known land owning family in the la Vega area and the girls were well educated .The family infuriated Trujillo when they left his very large official party in San Cristobel before he did and the entire family were at various times incarcerated . In fact, the three sisters were returning from the prison where two husbands were held and o the way back, just off the main Puerto Plata Road the car was stopped by two of Trujillos right hand men and four men from the secret police and the girls were taken from the jeep, murdered in a cane field, then the bodies were put into the jeep again and the jeeppushed over a cliff. Trujillo denied involvement but only he could have ordered these particular men to do this job.
Trujillo died in the following year ...1961 is not so long ago and I remember the story as it spread around the world.
It is a disgrace to the western world that so many countries recognised the governments of such evil men as Trujillo and Pol POt . The three sisters opened the eyes of the world when they were so brutally murdered.