In light of a slew of startling statistics, the United Nations commemorates Nov. 25 of each year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Consider the following numbers, from the U.N. website:
Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
500,000-2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims
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The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
"I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence that affects an estimated one in three women in her lifetime," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said. "I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets. And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims to heal and to become agents of change."
According to the organization, a pervasive, international culture of violence against women is both a humans rights violation and an impediment to "progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security."
Why this day? Nov. 25 commemorates the assassinations of three sisters, the Mirabals, who opposed the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo.
The U.N. also runs the UNITE to End Violence Against Women campaign, which asks all participants in the elimination of violence against women to wear orange.
Locally, there are several organizations that each, in their way, work to eliminate violence against women. And there are ways to work with each, too: volunteering at Hope Harbor or giving to the Russell County Crisis Center. More generally, the Valley's United Way offer programs and resources to all kinds of people in need.