Prayer Gender Violence_Poverty (PDF – UN Women)
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Artwork for the UN Women interactive website, Violence Against Women: Facts Everyone Should Know. Image: UN Women
Why we must eliminate violence against women
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
- intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
- sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
- human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
- female genital mutilation; and
- child marriage.
To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life. For example, early-set educational disadvantages not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women in the labour market.
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights. All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to leave no one behind – cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.
- 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 (FGM)
- 1 in 2 women killed 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, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape
Starting on this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November), and for the next two years, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls, will focus on the issue of rape as a specific form of harm committed against women and girls in times of peace or war.
The 2019 theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’. Like in previous years, this year’s International Day will mark the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2019, which is International Human Rights Day.
Several public events are being coordinated for this year’s International Day. Iconic buildings and landmarks will be ‘oranged’ to recall the need for a violence-free future.
Join the campaign! You can participate in person or on social media using our official material!
Use the hashtags: #GenerationEquality #orangetheworld and #spreadtheword.
Although women and girls account for a far smaller share of total homicides than men, they bear by far the greatest burden of intimate partner/family?related homicide, and intimate partner homicide. Help is needed from all parts of society. Illustration: UN Women
Taking a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
Despite the adoption of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem worldwide.
To that end, the General Assembly issued resolution 48/104, laying the foundation for the road towards a world free of gender-based violence.
Another bold step in the right direction was embodied by an initiative launched in 2008 and known as the UNiTE to End Violence against Women. It aims to raise public awareness around the issue as well as increase both policymaking and resources dedicated to ending violence against women and girls worldwide.
Yet, there is still a long way to go at the global scale. To date, only two out of three countries have outlawed domestic violence, while 37 countries worldwide still exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution if they are married to or eventually marry the victim and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.
In 2017, the European Union (EU) and the UN launched the Spotlight Initiative, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by raising the awareness of this issue, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Women’s rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. This date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
On 20 December 1993, the General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through resolution 48/104, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
Finally, on 7 February 2000, the General Assembly adopts resolution 54/134, officially designating 25 November as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and in doing so, inviting governments, international organizations as well as NGOs to join together and organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.