The United Nations kicked off its 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign on Tuesday with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The campaign—which includes a marathon in Mexico City and the “Orange Your Neighborhood” initiative, asking supporters to wear and display the color orange to raise awareness of violence against women—culminates on December 10 with Human Rights Day.
According to UN Women, approximately one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and in Latin America, the numbers are stark. The World Health Organization found that between 17 and 53 percent of women in 12 Latin American countries have been the victims of physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
Guatemala registered 4,104 cases of gender-based violence in 2014 alone, 532 of which were homicides. In Colombia, 74 percent of women reported experiencing some type of violence, with 37 percent reporting physical violence in the 2010 Census. “Together, we must end this global disgrace,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was established in 1999 to commemorate Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal, three activist sisters who were assassinated on November 25, 1960 for opposing the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.