“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable”. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women are calling on Governments everywhere to COMMIT to end violence against women and girls. There are many ways to make a life free of violence a reality for women and girls in every country: from passing or improving laws; launching public awareness campaigns; providing safe houses, free hotline services and free legal aid to survivors; supporting education programmes that address gender stereotypes and violence; and increasing women in law enforcement, peacekeeping forces and frontline services.
‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women’ campaign is managed by the UN Women on behalf of the System and has a very straightforward vision: a world free from violence against women and girls. The campaign believes that raising public awareness worldwide, increasing political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world – is the way forward. Our focus is specifically placed on national laws, action plans, data collection, sexual violence in conflict, and social mobilization. Aldijana Sisic, Campaign Manager, UN Secretary-General’s ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women’
Strike Dance Rise for One Billion Rising; stop Violence against women and girls: Video – Dance Flash Mob
Video co-produced and directed by Magalie Bonneau-Marcil and Benedict Flanigan. Edited by Gail Mallimson. ‘Break the Chain’ song by Tena Clark. Break the Chain choreography by Debbie Allen. ‘Adam’ choreography by Tina Banchero. Adam song by Me’Shell Ndegéocello. Taiko drummers by Bruce Ghent/Maikaze Daiko and Dance Brigade. Hip Hop by Grrrl Brigade.
One Billion Rising on Feb. 14th 2013 Eve Ensler’s V-Day – wherever you are to stop Violence against women and girls
1 in 3 women on the planet is raped or beaten in her lifetime. That is one billion women. On 14 February 2013 Eve Ensler’s V-Day organization is inviting one billion women and those who love them to rise up, walk out, dance and demand an end to this violence. For more information on the campaign and actions, visit: http://www.onebillionrising.org/
Violence against women: the situation
Violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. These forms of violence are interrelated and affect women from before birth to old age.
Some types of violence, such as trafficking, cross national boundaries.
Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished. Violence against women harms families and communities across generations and reinforces other violence prevalent in society.
Violence against women also impoverishes women, their families, communities and nations.
Violence against women is not confined to a specific culture, region or country, or to particular groups of women within a society. The roots of violence against women lie in persistent discrimination against women.
Rates of women experiencing physical violence at least once in their lifetime vary from several per cent to over 59 per cent depending on where they live.
Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria, according to World Bank data.
Violence by an intimate partner
The most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, with women beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.
Studies have found that rates of women suffering physical violence perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner range from 6 per cent in China and 7 per cent in Canada to over 48 per cent in Zambia, Ethiopia and Peru.
Several global surveys suggest that half of all women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.
- In Australia, Canada, and Israel 40 to 70 per cent of female murder victims were killed by their partners, according to the World Health Organization.
- In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners.
- In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner.
- In India, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007.
- In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.
Sexual violence includes abusive sexual contact, making a woman engage in a sexual act without her consent, and attempted or completed sex acts with a woman who is ill, disabled, under pressure or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Rates of sexual violence are difficult to establish because in many societies sexual violence remains an issue of deep shame for women and often their families. Statistics on rape from police records, for example, are notoriously unreliable because of significant underreporting.
- According to the World Health Organization, the proportion of women suffering sexual violence by non-partners after the age of 15 varies from less than 1 per cent in Ethiopia and Bangladesh to between 10 and 12 per cent in Peru, Samoa and the United Republic of Tanzania.
- In Switzerland, 22.3 per cent of women experience sexual violence by non-partners in their lifetime.
- In Canada a study of adolescents aged 15 to 19 found that 54 per cent of girls had experienced “sexual coercion” in a dating relationship.
Forced and unregistered marriages can increase the vulnerability of women to violence, including sexual violence. The practice of early marriage – a form of sexual violence – is common worldwide, with more than 60 million girls worldwide married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.1 million) and Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).
Young girls forced into marriage and into sexual relations may suffer health risks, including exposure to HIV/AIDS, and limited school attendance. One effect of sexual abuse is traumatic gynecologic fistula: an injury resulting from severe tearing of the vaginal tissues, rendering the woman incontinent and socially undesirable.
Sexual violence in conflict
Sexual violence in conflict is a serious, present-day atrocity affecting millions of people, primarily women and girls.
It is frequently a conscious strategy employed on a large scale by armed groups to humiliate opponents, terrify individuals and destroy societies. Women and girls may also be subjected to sexual exploitation by those mandated to protect them.
Women as old as grandmothers and as young as toddlers have routinely suffered violent sexual abuse at the hands of military and rebel forces.
Rape has long been used as a tactic of war, with violence against women during or after armed conflicts reported in every international or non-international war-zone.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo approximately 1,100 rapes are being reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day. It is believed that over 200,000 women have suffered from sexual violence in that country since armed conflict began.
- The rape and sexual violation of women and girls is pervasive in the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.
- Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
- Sexual violence was a characterizing feature of the 14-year long civil war in Liberia.
- During the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s, between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped.
Violence and HIV/AIDS
Several studies from around the globe confirm the links between violence against women and HIV. Women’s inability to negotiate safe sex and refuse unwanted sex is closely linked to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Unwanted sex results in a higher risk of abrasion and bleeding and easier transmission of the virus.
Women who are beaten by their partners are 48 per cent more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS.
Young women are particularly vulnerable to coerced sex and are increasingly being infected with HIV/AIDS. Over half of new HIV infections worldwide are occurring among young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and more than 60 per cent of HIV-positive youth in this age bracket are female. The vulnerability of women and girls to HIV remains particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa; 80 % of all women in the world living with HIV live in this region.
Female Genital Mutilation/Genital Cutting
Female Genital Mutilation/Genital Cutting (FGM/C) refers to several types of traditional cutting operations performed on women and girls.
- It is estimated that between 130 and 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM/C, mainly in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.
- 3 million girls a year are thought to be at risk of genital mutilation.
Dowry murder is a brutal practice where a woman is killed by her husband or in-laws because her family cannot meet their demands for dowry — a payment made to a woman’s in-laws upon her marriage as a gift to her new family.
While dowries or similar payments are prevalent worldwide, dowry murder occurs predominantly in South Asia.
In many societies, rape victims, women suspected of engaging in premarital sex, and women accused of adultery have been murdered by their relatives because the violation of a woman’s chastity is viewed as an affront to the family’s honour.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide number of so-called “honour killing” victims may be as high as 5,000 women.
Trafficking in persons
Although the global scale of human trafficking is difficult to quantify, it is estimated that as many as 2.5 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims.
Violence during pregnancy
Violence before and during pregnancy has serious health consequences for both mother and child. It leads to high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy-related problems, including miscarriage, pre-term labour and low birth weight.
Female infanticide, prenatal sex selection and systematic neglect of girls are widespread in South and East Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Discrimination and violence
Many women face multiple forms of discrimination and increased risk of violence. Factors such as women’s ethnicity, caste, class, migrant or refugee status, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or HIV status will influence what forms of violence they suffer and how they experience it.
- Indigenous women in Canada are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.
- In India, Dalit women experience high rates of sexual violence committed by men of higher caste.
- In Europe, North America and Australia, over half of women with disabilities have experienced physical abuse, compared to one-third of non-disabled women.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace.
- In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 experience some for of sexual harassment in public schools.
- Small surveys in Asia-Pacific countries indicate that 30 to 40 per cent of women workers report some form of harassment – verbal, physical or sexual.
Violence against women in police custody is common and includes sexual violence, inappropriate surveillance, strip searches conducted by men and demands for sexual acts in exchange for privileges or basic necessities.
COST AND CONSEQUENCES
The costs of violence against women are extremely high. They include the direct costs of services to treat and support abused women and their children and to bring perpetrators to justice.
The indirect costs include lost employment and productivity, and the costs in human pain and suffering.
- The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
- A 2004 study in the United Kingdom estimated the total direct and indirect costs of domestic violence, including pain and suffering, to be £23 billion per year or £440 per person.
- In Canada, the annual costs of direct expenditures related to violence against women have been estimated at 684 million Canadian dollars for the criminal justice system, 187 million for police and 294 million for the cost of counselling and training, totalling more than 1 billion a year.
- In Uganda the cost of domestic violence was estimated at 2.5 million United States dollars in 2007.
UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women
The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) is a testimony to the global consciousness that violence against women and girls is neither inevitable nor acceptable. The UN Trust Fund is a leading global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms. It supports effective initiatives that demonstrate that violence against women and girls can be systematically addressed, reduced and, with persistence, eliminated. To date, the UN Trust Fund has delivered more than USD 86 million to 351 initiatives in 128 countries and territories. Established by UN General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 and administered by UN Women on behalf of the UN system, the UN Trust Fund works with non-governmental organizations, governments and UN country teams to:
Prevent violence against women and girls by empowering groups especially at risk of violence, including adolescent girls and indigenous or ethnic minority women, and engaging strategic groups such as youth, men and boys, and traditional and faith-based leaders in prevention efforts;
Expand the access of women and girl survivors of violence to services including legal assistance, psychosocial counseling, health care, and building the capacity of service providers to respond effectively to the needs of women and girls affected by violence;
Strengthen the implementation of laws, policies and action plans on violence against women and girls through data collection and analysis, building capacities of service providers and strengthening institutions to become more effective, transparent and accountable in addressing violence against women.
Source: UN End Violence