It’s Time to Fulfill the Promise to End Violence Against Women
By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
(Source: Huffington Post)
Every year, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we are reminded how every day women and girls experience violence in their lives.
Women are beaten in their homes, harassed on the streets, bullied on the Internet. Globally, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. The World Health Organization has declared violence against women to be a global health problem of epidemic proportions.
More often than not, violence against women is committed by an intimate partner. Of all women killed in 2012, almost half died at the hands of a partner or family member. It is not an exaggeration but a fact that the overall greatest threat to women’s lives is men and often the men they love.
In some conflict situations, it may be more dangerous to be a girl or a woman than to be a soldier. Violence against women has become a real epidemic that must be stopped.
Yet we know how violence against women can be eliminated. In 1995, close to 20 years ago, 189 governments came together in Beijing. They adopted a Platform for Action that spelled out key strategies for governments, civil society, the private sector, international partners and all stakeholders to end violence against women, empower women and achieve gender equality. Last year, the UN Commission on the Status of Women further defined what needs to be done.
This includes effective prevention strategies that address the root causes of gender inequality and the lower status of women in all spheres of life. Whether it is in the economy or in the political sphere, women continue to be disadvantaged and marginalized. Instead, we need families, communities and nations where women and men are equally valued and where women can participate fully.
This includes better services for women surviving violence. Hotlines, shelters, legal advice, access to justice, counseling, police protection and health services should be readily available, without fear of stigmatization or discrimination.
This includes more accurate reporting rates, better data collection and strengthened analyses of risk and prevalence factors.