November 25 has been designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It is a day for governments, international organizations, and non-government organizations to come together to organize activities and events to spread awareness of this issue.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today. It remains largely unreported due to silence, stigma, shame, lack of protections and redress for victims.
The term “violence against women” encompasses many forms of violence, including violence by an intimate partner, rape and other forms of sexual violence by someone other than an intimate partner, as well as female genital mutilation, honor killings, and trafficking of women and girls.
Some alarming statistics from UN.org:
- 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner.
- Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.
- Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday, while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.
- 1 in 2 women worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2017; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.
- 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited.
- Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer.
Older women, young girls, women who identify as bisexual, transgender or intersex, lesbian, migrants, refugees, indigenous and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, and those living in areas affected by war or natural disasters are particularly vulnerable.
The physical, social, psychological, and economic toll of violence against women and girls has serious, long term consequences. It creates obstacles to achieving equality, gaining access to higher education, having economic opportunities, reaching full potential, and to gaining fundamental rights as human beings.
We at Bridges know that when women are empowered, they can thrive and succeed. When women are treated with dignity, respect, and are given access to economic opportunities and education, it can help lift their communities out of poverty, creating opportunities for stability and peace.