Violence against women

Op-ed: We can no Longer turn a blind eye on Violence against Women

November 25 was International Day for Elimination of Violence against Many.  But have we turned the tide against this universal problem? Are we on course to eliminating violence against women by 2030?

The answer is big “NO.”

Violence against women has been on increase in the past two decades, especially in the domains of sexual assault and partner violence. Statistics show that globally 1 in every 3 women experience psychological, sexual and physical violence in their lifetime. In the United States, statistics from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) showed that 1181 women were murdered by intimate partner in 2005 (Bureau of Justice Statistics n.p).  NCIPC reports that 4.8 million women experience intimate-partner-related rapes and assaults yearly (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.p). The National Crime Victimization Survey reported that 232,960 women were either sexually assaulted or raped in 2006, translating to 600 women every day (Bureau of Justice Statistics 15b). That’s shocking statistics. The targets or victims of violence are disproportionately young women and low-income women. There is enough evidence that violence against is a major problem in the US. Yet we like highlighting mistreatment and abuse of women abroad as though we are perfect.

Violence against women can occur to anyone, anywhere. It happens right in our neighborhoods, communities, places of works, on social media and in trains.

Too many men continue to endorse sexist beliefs that depict women as inferior and objects of sex. These beliefs affect not only women’s rights but also the respect they are accorded. Normalizations of certain attitudes and behaviors that promote gender-based violence has made the problem to proliferate in society.  Making jokes about rape or sexual harassment and predatory attitude to women who say no serve to promote a culture of violence.   

What can we do?

In recent times, women’s movements have taken over global conversations to create awareness –building solidarity via campaigns helped by access to social media. Recent social media trends, from #TimesUp highlighting sexual abuse and harassment to #MeToo encouraging women to share their stories, girls and women are raising their voices demanding an end to violence and abuse. This is a strong start.

Breaking the outdated social norms that perpetuate mistreatment of women will require investment, determination and creative ideas. This calls for partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and international bodies to address this pandemic.    

Violence against girls and women remains a serious tragedy and there has been no signs of the problem ending. Statistics

Violence against women dents the dignity, health and independency of its survivors. These survivors in turn could suffer reproductive and sexual consequences, such as unwanted pregnancies, mental health problems, HIV and infections, and unsafe abortions. This can also cause negative impact on economy in terms of lost wages, decreased productivity and also requiring resources and actions from health, justice and social systems. Technical support is also necessary to empower communities to take measures to implement policies and laws to combat violence against women.

Because gender-based violence concerns everyone, we need to work hand in hand to raise awareness and help women and girls who work to change the behavior of men. On its part, society should work to improve and increase access to justice for victims and survivors.

Works Cited

Bureau of Justice Statistics. Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender

Bureau of Justice Statistics. Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables      

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Understanding Intimate Partner Violence

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