25 November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Violence against women and girls has been described by the World Health Organization as a global public health pandemic, with 1 in 3 women around the world experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. 

Did you know:

  • around 120 million girls worldwide have experiences forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives;
  • worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth;
  • women and girls account for about 70 per cent of all human trafficking victims globally; and
  • the costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations? 


In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to raise awareness of the many forms of violence and abuse faced by women around the world.

Women's activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981, the date in 1960 when the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, were brutally assassinated on the orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. 

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. 

The theme for 2015 is prevention, specifically holistic actions that address the multiple forces driving violence against women.  This means engaging various actors, sectors to implement interventions that have been proven to work such as community mobilization, changing social norms, comprehensive education, women's economic empowerment and gender equality training.  

This year at the official commemoration at UN Headquarters in New York, the first UN Framework on Preventing Violence against Women will be launched and discussed

This year, the United Nations Secretary-General's Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women invites you to Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence.

Orange events are planned in more than 70 countries around the world ahead of and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. They will include the orange lighting of major landmarks like Niagara Falls (Canada/USA), the European Commission building (Belgium), the Council of Europe building (France), the archaeological ruins at Petra (Jordan), the Presidential Palace in Brasilia (Brazil), and the Palais de Justice (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Other events planned range from the 'oranging' of bus stops in Timor-Leste, to marathons in Venezuela and spontaneous orange flash mobs in Indonesia. 

To find out about events in your area check out: http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/