Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 25 is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 36 days remaining until the end of the year.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
On this day in 1999, The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution designating November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The resolution, which was introduced by the Dominican Republic, marked the anniversary of the death of three sisters, Maria, Teresa, and Minerva Mirabel, who were brutally murdered there in 1960. While women in Latin America and the Caribbean had honored the day since 1981, all UN countries did not formally recognize it until 1999.
Many organizations, including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), had been pushing for international recognition of the date for some time.
The Mirabal sisters were four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Three of the sisters were assassinated by persons unknown.
Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 – November 25, 1960), Belgica Adela “Dede” Mirabal-Reyes (March 1, 1925 – present), Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 – November 25, 1960) and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 – November 25, 1960) were citizens of the Dominican Republic who fervently opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Dede Mirabal was not assassinated and has lived to tell the stories of the death of her sisters. Presently, she lives in Salcedo, Dominican Republic in the house where the sisters were born. She works to preserve her sisters’ memory through the Museo Hermanas Mirabal which is also located in Salcedo and was home to the women for the final ten months of their lives. She published a book Vivas en El Jardin, released on August 25, 2009.
The Mirabal women grew up in an upper class, well-cultured environment. Their father was a successful businessman. All became married family women. When Trujillo came to power, their family lost almost all its fortune. They believed that Trujillo would send their country into economic chaos. Minerva became particularly passionate about ending the dictatorship of Trujillo after talking extensively with an uncle of hers. Influenced by her uncle, Minerva became more involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. She studied law and became a lawyer, but because she declined Trujillo’s romantic advances, he ordered that while she would be issued a degree she was not to receive her practitioner’s license. Her sisters followed suit, and they eventually formed a group of opponents to the Trujillo regime, known as the Movement of the Fourteenth of June. Within that group, they were known as “The Butterflies” (Las Mariposas in Spanish) because that was the underground name that Minerva was given. Two of the sisters, Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal, were incarcerated and tortured on several occasions. While in prison they were repeatedly raped. Three of the sisters’ husbands were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo.
Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership. After the sisters’ numerous imprisonments, Trujillo was blamed for their murders, but this is now being questioned. During an interview after Trujillo’s assasination, General Pupo Roman claimed to have personal knowledge that they were killed by Luis Amiama Tio, perhaps to create a rise in anti-Trujillo sentiment. On November 25, 1960, he sent men to intercept the three women after they visited their husbands in prison. The unarmed sisters were led into a sugar cane field and executed, they didn’t even have the luxury of being shot, instead they were beaten to death, along with their driver, Rufino de la Cruz. Their car was later thrown off of a mountain known as La Cumbre, between the cities of Santiago and Puerto Plata, in order to make their deaths look like an accident.
This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence. The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.