The origin of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The origins of 25 November as the International Day go back to 1960, when the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic were killed for their political activism. The sisters, known as the “Unforgettable Butterflies,” became a symbol of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America. November 25th was the date chosen to commemorate their lives and promote global recognition of gender violence, and has been observed in Latin America since the 1980s.
In 1991, on the second anniversary of the massacre of 14 women by a lone gunman in Montreal, Canada, a handful of Canadian men initiated a White Ribbon campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon, particularly in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the women’s deaths, represented men’s public pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. That first effort achieved the distribution of 100,000 white ribbons to men across Canada, and promoted widespread community discussion about violence in personal relationships.