The Unforgettable Butterflies
Anyone who has read Julia Alvarez's novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, knows of the Mirabel sisters, three women from the Dominican Republic who were assassinated for their political activism in the 1960s. Known as the “Unforgettable Butterflies," they became a symbol of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America. November 25th, the date of their assassination, was chosen to commemorate their lives and promote global recognition of the pandemic of gender-based violence.
The date has been observed in Latin America since the 1980s and became the internationally designated Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1991. In activist circles, it marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence, which includes December 1, World Aids Day, December 6th, the anniversary of the Montreal massacre, and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day, emphasizing such violence as a human rights violation.
As the end of the year holidays approach for many of us, I find this initiative an important reminder of how much work there is to be done to fight for women’s empowerment worldwide.