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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Every Thanksgiving I'm reminded that I'm truly thankful to have a family free from domestic violence. You see, Thanksgiving coincides very closely with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. And, I want my children's daughters, and girls around the world, to grow up to be healthy, happy, respected women. That's part of the reason I'm committed to Soroptimist.

Soroptimist actively supports programs that educate, protect, and support women and girls with the hope that domestic violence will become a thing of the past. The archaic phrase, "what happens in our family stays in our family" is just that--archaic. It's not OK to overlook abuse, simply because the abuser is a family member and undoubtedly loves the survivor. And, it's not OK to witness domestic violence and write it off as a family matter. (33% of Americans have witnessed domestic violence.) It's critical that we as parents, friends, co-workers and neighbors open our eyes and ears to reports of domestic violence in our community. It is not enough to say "they are always like that after an argument", "they're married--it's none of my business", or "she/he must have had it coming".

"On 17 December 1999 by resolution 54/134, the General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to raise public awareness of the problem of violence against women. We renew our commitment to fight for the right to a life free from brutal attacks on women's physical and emotional well-being. Step by step, every day of the year, we will continue to work towards our goal: the complete elimination of violence against women. At the end of the day, to eliminate violence against women we desperately need to ensure that women have the voice, influence and resources to assert their priorities for achieving peace and security in an increasingly violent world." -- Noeleen Heyzer, 2003 Executive Director, UNIFEM

Don't write off domestic violence; help eliminate it.