UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

I Got Flowers Today: Ending violence against women – the missing MDG

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Date: 12 March 2014

New York —

On the occasion of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, on 11 March the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Ambassador Mayr-Harting, and the Permanent Representative of Greece, Ambassador Spinellis, hosted a reception in honour of Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights.

They spoke about the centrality of human rights and gender equality to international efforts to achieve peace and security and sustainable development. They stressed the importance of human rights for all, especially for women and girls, to make greater progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted the importance of ending violence against women, a global pandemic that affects one in three women and girls. She said that ending violence against women has been called the ‘missing MDG’ and stressed the necessity of its inclusion in the post-2015 development framework currently under discussion.  

The Executive Director also read an adapted excerpt from the poem, I Got Flowers Today, written by Paulette Kelly in 1992, dedicated to battered women:

I got flowers today!
It wasn't my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night;
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt;
I know that he is sorry and didn’t mean to say the things he said;
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today!
It wasn't our anniversary or any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall and started to choke me.
[…]
If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of the kids? What about money?
I’m afraid of him, but I’m too scared and dependent to leave him!
But I know he must be sorry;
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today….
Today was a special day.—it was the day of my funeral;
Last night he killed me;
If only I would have gathered the courage and strength to leave him.
I could have received help from the Women’s Shelter, but I didn’t ask for their help;
So I got flowers today—for the last time.