On November 25, 2014, Richard Aylor, Alison Fraser, and I attended UNiTE’s “Official Commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” moderated by Amna Nawaz, NBC News. This was a spectacular, Orange-themed event opened by the UN Secretary General himself, Ban Ki-Moon, featuring speakers such as Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women.
Most significant for me, however, was a testimony from actress Teri Hatcher, star of the popular ABC drama Desperate Housewives. Ms. Hatcher was moved to tears before the entire ECOSOC Chamber recounting experiences of sexual abuse and how similar abuse continues on within her community. “Until violence against women is not apart of any woman’s story, silence will not be apart of mine.”
In response to the many accounts of violence against women and girls, including Ms. Hatcher’s, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Chirlane McCray signed New York City’s first agreement with the United Nations committing to developing a safer city for all women and girls.
It was a surely memorable event, mourning the suffering of 1 in 3 women facing violence worldwide, yet celebrating the hope of covenant, community, and collaboration going forward.