This post was written by WITNESS executive director Yvette Alberdingk Thijm.
On November 25, 1960, three sisters in the Dominican Republic were brutally assassinated on orders of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujilo. Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal were courageous human rights activists who spoke out against the violent Trujilo regime.
The UN General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it is honored all over the world by NGOs and activists as a day to raise awareness for one of the most pervasive and persistent human rights issues we still face today: violence against women.
At WITNESS, we use the power of video and storytelling to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. And so, in honor of women's rights, I urge you take a few minutes to watch Mary's story. Like the Mirabal sisters, Mary Pamire, a woman in Zimbabwe, became involved in politics. She, and thousands of other women in Zimbabwe, became the target of a wave of state-sanctioned violence during the 2008 elections. Gangs associated with the political party she did not support (the ZANU-PF) repeatedly attacked Mary.
But women cannot fight for justice alone. Men and boys are an important factor in ending the cycle of violence. One in three women faces violence behind closed doors. In India, WITNESS partner Breakthrough launched a successful campaign to end domestic violence with "Bell Bajao" or "Ring the Bell," an award-winning video call to action for men and boys to speak out and take proactive steps to end violence against women:
In the words of Jimmy Briggs, co-founder and executive director of Man Up, a global campaign to end violence against women and girls: "a good guy is not a bystander." Bell Bajao is a powerful reminder of the importance of engaging men and boys in the community to help assure that women live free of violence.
What videos have you seen that work or move you to action? Please share examples with us that you believe do an effective job raising awareness for and advocating for the elimination of violence against women. Thank you!
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