The brutal Dominican triple murder behind the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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A post by Peter Jordens.

Charlotte Alter of TIME magazine explains that Nov. 25 wasn’t randomly chosen [as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women]. Though the day now addresses the issue of violence against women everywhere, its story starts with one particular — and particularly brutal — act. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was started in 1999 to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic who were assassinated on this date in 1960 for opposing dictator Rafael Trujillo. The three sisters started an anti-Trujillo group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June, named after a massacre reportedly ordered by the dictator. They called themselves, “Las Mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” and openly protested Trujillo and his regime. To retaliate, his henchmen beat the sisters to death in a cane field and faked a car accident to explain their deaths. [Lakshmi] Puri [Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women] says the day was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters’ courage in taking political action despite the brutality they faced. “Violence against women in politics is also a very particular form of violence, to intimidate them so they don’t engage in politics,” she says.

For the complete, original article, go to

The photo shows the busts of the Mirabal sisters, Minerva, María Teresa and Patria, at the Mirabal Sisters Museum in the village of Salcedo, north of Santo Domingo. (RICARDO HERNANDEZ–AFP/Getty Images)

Also see article in Spanish, “Las dominicanas que se convirtieron en símbolo global contra la violencia de género”, by Lorena Arroyo for BBC Mundo at

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