The issue of gender-based violence reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are staggering. Violence against women and girls is a global epidemic that affects the health and economic stability of women, their families, and their communities.
What is gender-based violence?
‘Gender-based violence’ (GBV) and ‘violence against women’ are terms that are often used interchangeably as most gender-based violence is inflicted by men on women and girls. The gender aspect of violence against women is an expression of power inequalities between women and men.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic or national boundaries. Worldwide, an estimated 35% (1 in 3 women) will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.
GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains buried in a culture of silence. Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.
This plague is not only a violation of women’s and girls’ rights. The impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, and the fear generated by their actions, has an effect on all women and girls.
FACTS: Violence Against Women (compiled by UNIFEM, 2010)
- In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.
- In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, between 40 and 70% of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners.
- In the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, 66% of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.
Violence and Young Women
- Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.
- An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
- The first sexual experience of some 30% of women was forced.
- Approximately 130 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation.
- Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.
- Women and girls represent 80% of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually.
- One study in Europe found that 60% of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.
- Between 40 and 50% of women in European Union countries experience sexual harassment at work.
- Across Asia, studies show that 30 to 40% of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.
- In the United States, 83% of girls aged 12 to 16 experience sexual harassment in public schools.
Rape in the context of Conflict
- Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.
- In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.
Forms of gender-based violence
What is gender-based violence: http://eige.europa.eu/gender-based-violence/what-is-gender-based-violence
Gender-based violence: http://www.unfpa.org/gender-based-violence
Violence against women, Health topic: http://www.who.int/topics/gender_based_violence/en/