A scene from Afghanistan’s Palwasha TV series, a show that draws attention to the issue of violence against women. Kabul, Afghanistan. UN Photo/Jawad Jalali

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development. It imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies. The world cannot afford to pay this price. — Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Today, November 25th, marks the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. November 25th has long been recognized as a day against violence. The choice of date came from the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who were ordered killed by Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo in 1960.

The problem is all pervasive, but sometimes difficult to see. Every country on earth shares this dark secret. Too often, the women we see shopping at the markets, working at their jobs, caring for their children by day, go home at night and live in fear. Not fear of an invading army or a natural disaster or even a stranger in a dark alley, but fear of the very people ‚Äî family members ‚Äî who they are supposed to depend upon for help and comfort. This is the trust-destroying terror that attends every step of a victim of violence. For these women, their homes provide inadequate refuge, the law little protection, public opinion often less sympathy. That’s why we have to say over and over again, as Elizabeth has done and as so many of you have echoed, that violence against women is not simply cultural or a custom. It is simply criminal, a crime. The devastating effects of domestic violence on women are just as dramatic as the effects of war on women. The physical injury, the mental illness, the terrible loss of confidence limits the capacities of women to fulfill their God-given potentials.¬†‚ÄHillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, Senator, First Lady, 2016 Democratic¬†Candidate for President

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence run from November 25 through Human Rights Day on December 10th. Their aim to raise public awareness and gather people from around the world to inspire change. In 2016 the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign asks that we “Orange the world.” Orange was chosen to symbolize a brighter future, one without violence. For more information and to get involved, check out the Toolkit.

In this time of uncertainty, when both fear and hate crimes are on the rise, the most important thing we can do is to be a voice for those who are afraid, or even unable, to use their own. Together, we can be better.

-Katie Weidmann
Social Media Manager
Girl Museum Inc.

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