UN Expresses Concern: STOP Violence Against Women

Today being International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UNAIDS has been at the heart of the awareness campaign as the United Nation expresses concern. Sexual violence is probably the most common form of gender based violence. What makes it even more concerning is the fact that it increases the risk of HIV infection. Apparently 50 young women are newly infected with HIV every hour and many of those infections are related to violence. And 45 percent of young girls globally say that their first experience of sex was forced and not consensual.Excerpts from an address by Dr Mariangela Simao, UNAIDS Director of Rights, Gender, Prevention and Mobilization:
Lots of the gender-based violence [is] sexually related. There is a lot of data right now showing that most of the violence against women happens in the context of intimate partner violence – domestic violence. And many times it takes the face of non-consensual sex, which is a polite way to say rape…
In some countries where there’s a high prevalence, it’s been shown that women who are subjected to intimate partner violence, sexual violence, are 50 percent more likely to be HIV positive than other women. The gender inequality, the gender disparity also, [do not] allow women to negotiate, for example, for safe sex. If, for example, they think that their partner’s been fooling around or being unfaithful in different situations, they [cannot] ask for him to use a condom…
There’s a recent report from WHO [World Health organization] that shows that one in every three women – that’s a global report, ok – experience physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime. One out of three women. So it’s not a localized problem in developing countries or least developing countries. It’s a global problem…
The right of women to live free of violence and inequities is a human right. And it shouldn’t be bound by culture and by norms that rule society that are unjust.
While some women are led into prostitution by poverty which often makes them vulnerable and more likely to be exposed to sexual violence, sometimes women are sexually assaulted under the guise of culture or tradition, through forced marriages for example.Too often these issues are classed as feminist issues or problems for women to solve. This is far from the truth. This battle is for society as a whole. Men too have an important role to play. There is still a lot of work to be done within local communities to empower women and girls and also to enlighten the men. Women and men together have to agree that gender equality is essential for a better society.

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women — a day which reminds us that violence against women continues to be destructive and pervasive. Ranging from domestic violence and child marriages to the use of rape as a tactic of war, violence against women kills as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer, is a grave assault on many more women and girls and imposes high economic and social costs on societies.

In responding to gender-based violence, the financial costs to health systems, social services, the justice sector and indirect costs, such as those of lost productivity, burden countries around the world. From Chile, where intimate partner violence is estimated to drain as much as two percent of the country’s GDP, to the United States, where the cost of domestic violence is estimated to exceed $12.6 billion per year, violence against women imposes high costs on both its victims and society.

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls: An Urgent Priority by  Helen Clarke, Administrator, UNDP. Read full article here…


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