Today, the 25th of November, it’s the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. But perhaps you do not know why this day has been chosen: it is in commemoration of the Mirabal Sisters, from Dominican Republic.
The three sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa were born in 1924, 1927 and 1935 respectively in the Cibas region of the Dominican Republic. All three sisters and their husbands became involved in activities against the Trujillo regime. The Mirabal sisters were political activists and highly visible symbols of resistance to Trujillo’s dictatorship. As a result, the sisters and their families were constantly persecuted for their outspoken as well as clandestine activities against the State. Over the course of their political activity, the women and their husbands were repeatedly imprisoned at different stages. Despite Trujillo’s persecution, the sisters still continued to actively participate in political activities against the leadership.
In early November 1960, Trujillo declared that his two problems were the Church and the Mirabal sisters. On 25 November 1960, the sisters were assassinated in an “accident” as they were being driven to visit their husbands who were in prison. The accident caused much public outcry, and shocked and enraged the nation. The brutal assassination of the Mirabal sisters was one of the events that helped propel the anti-Trujillo movement, and within a year, the Trujillo dictatorship came to an end.
The sisters, referred to as the “Inolvidables Mariposas” (Unforgettable Butterflies) have become a symbol against victimization of women, of both popular and feminist resistance. The memory of the Mirabal sisters and their struggle for freedom and respect for human rights for all has transformed them into icons of dignity and inspiration, against every kind of prejudice and stereotypes.