November 25, day against violence against women: meaning and history

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November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an anniversary established byUnited Nations General Assembly in 1999. The date has been chosen in memory of the Mirabal sisters, three Dominican revolutionary women who they were murdered on November 25, 1960 by the regime of Rafael Trujillo.

The story of the Mirabal sisters

The sisters Mirabal, Patria, Minerva and María Teresa, were activists of the clandestine movement of opposition to the Trujillo regime. Their assassination was a symbolic event that helped spark the popular uprising that led to the fall of the dictator.

Le Mirabal Sisters they were also also known as “The butterflies” (the butterflies), three Dominican sisters who became symbolic figures in the fight against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Their stories have been a source of inspiration to many people around the world and have had a significant impact on the history and culture of the Dominican Republic.

Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal they were born into a wealthy family in the province of Salcedo. From the beginning, Minerva stood out for her interest and participation in political activities, often in opposition to the Trujillo regime. This political participation soon became a distinctive trait of all three sisters.

During the 50s, the Mirabal sisters started to participate actively in the resistance against the Trujillo government. They formed a group called June 14 Movement, honoring the date of a failed uprising against Trujillo. The group worked to overthrow the dictatorship and establish a democratic government in the country. Because of their activities, the sisters and their husbands were repeatedly arrested and imprisoned.

Il November 25, 1960 represents a tragic date in Dominican history. That day, as they returned from visiting their husbands in prison, the Mirabal sisters were stopped, brutally murdered and thrown into a ravine by agents of the State Security Service. Their deaths caused outrage and was one of the key factors that led to the fall of the Trujillo regime in 1961.

The deaths of the Mirabal sisters not only contributed to put an end to the Trujillo dictatorship, but also became a powerful symbol of courage and resistance against oppression. In their honor, the 25th November has been declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the United Nations in 1999.

The Mirabal sisters are remembered not only in the Dominican Republic but worldwide as heroines who fought for freedom and justice, and their story continues to inspire and motivate those who fight against injustice and oppression.

The objective of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion to remember the victims of gender violence and to raise public awareness of this serious problem. In Italy, the anniversary is promoted by the Ministry of the Interior and numerous non-governmental organizations.

What is femicide and why is it different from murder

Femicide is a term that indicates the murder of a woman for reasons related to her gender. It is a form of extreme gender violence, which is based on the belief that women are inferior to men and can be killed with impunity.

Femicide is a global problem which affects women of all ages, social classes and cultures. According to data from the World Health Organization, Every year around 87.000 women are killed worldwide for gender-related reasons.

In Italy, in 2022, 109 victims of femicide were registered, an increase compared to the previous year.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an opportunity to remember the victims of femicide and to commit to fighting this form of violence.

Legal femicide in Italy: honor killings

The honor killing it was a crime foreseen by the Italian penal code until 1981. It was defined as the murder of a relative, a son or a sister, committed in a state of anger caused by the offense caused to the honor of the criminal or his family.

The law that provided for it, article 587 of the penal code, was issued in 1865, when Italy was still a predominantly rural and patriarchal country. The law reflected the mentality of the time, which he considered woman a man's property and his honor as a family matter.

The honor killing it was a serious crime, but was punished with a lesser punishment than common murder. The expected sentence it was imprisonment from three to seven yearsinstead of twenty to thirty years' imprisonment.

Honor killing was often used to justify violence against women. It was used to punish women who had had extramarital sexual affairs, who had divorced, or who had rejected an arranged marriage.

The honor killing it was a very common crime in Italy, especially in the south of the country. According to Istat data, between 1961 and 1981, in Italy approximately 2.000 honor killings were committed.

The fight against honor killings was one of the main battles of the Italian feminist movement. In 1970, the movement managed to achieve the abolition of shotgun marriage, a law that allowed the perpetrator of an honor killing to avoid punishment if he married the victim.

In 1981, honor killing was definitively abolished with law no. 442. The abolition of honor killings was an important victory for the feminist movement and for the fight against violence against women.

What the statistics say about gender homicides

Although it is true that statistics show a greater number of murders against men than against women, the substantial difference between the two is in their nature: between 80 and 90% of murders against women occur within the family unit or in emotional relationships (companions or ex-companions), while in men this relationship falls below 15%.

According to ISTAT data, in 2022, 309 murders occurred in Italy, with a rate of 0,6 per 100.000 inhabitants. Of these, 184 were committed against men and 125 against women.

The homicide rate in Italy is among the lowest in Europe and has been steadily decreasing in recent years. In 1991, for example, 1.916 homicides occurred in Italy, with a rate of 4,8 per 100.000 inhabitants.

Most murders in Italy they are committed by people who knew the victim. In 2022, 72,3% of murders were committed by a family member, friend or acquaintance of the victim. In Italy, femicide is a serious problem, which has seen an increase in recent years. In 2022, 109 victims of femicide were recorded, up from 103 in 2021.

How many victims of feminicide will there be in 2023 in Italy

During 2023, 285 murders occurred in Italy, with 103 female victims and 182 men. As already mentioned, although the number of murders of men is higher, it is their nature that should be of concern.

In fact, of the 103 women, 83 they were killed by a family member or loved one, of these well 53 died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner. Almost 50% of women die from homicide by a partner or ex-partner, while in men the percentage of homicides by a woman is expected to be under 15%.

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Written by Gennaro Marchesi
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