Wednesday, November 25, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, as I mentioned yesterday. Obviously, it's hit me particularly hard this year. This day was chosen because it's the day that the Mirabal sisters were killed in the Dominican Republic after an order was handed down by the country's dictator, Rafael Trujillo. Their story is fictionalized in the novel In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, which I have taught several times over the years.

But it's not just a day to protest rape and murder. It's a day to stand up for violence in all its guises. It's a day not just to stop telling misogynistic jokes but to stop allowing them to be told in your presence. It's a day to stand up against criticism and judgment and blame. It's one thing to say you're against militarized rapes in other countries, but it's quite another to confront the women and men in our daily lives who contribute to misogyny and patriarchy. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying that I handle such confrontation easily, but we should at least be aware of the roles we all play in allowing violence against women to take place in our backyards and around the world.

Women are dying, and it's not just in the abstract.


  1. What a great thing to promote. Thanks for devoting the time and space to promote this day.