Saturday November 25th was the United Nations declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It also kicked off UNiTE’s 16-days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
[Before you read any further, if you are triggered by the subject of gendered- based violence in any capacity, please advise the following content may be considered triggering.]
I know for many, violence against women is an issue that people think about briefly on a day like this and if it doesn’t affect you or someone close to you it is easily forgotten about.
If like me, you’ve been a victim of violence at the hands of a partner, family member or stranger in any capacity, you don’t forget.
You can’t forget.
You don’t forget the powerlessness you felt. Sometimes you get flashbacks.
Even though you know for a fact that there was nothing you could have done differently, you still question yourself.
If only I didn’t….
The family members who knew and said nothing still come to family parties.
The people who questioned your integrity have carried on with their lives while you carry on trying to remember if your skirt was too short or if you had made him angry enough to hit you.
You regret reporting it. You regret not reporting it.
Would they have listened? They didn’t believe me.
You listen to people say, it’s just culture or that’s just how men are and it burns inside.
We don’t forget. We can’t forget.
These moments changed many of our lives and the people’s lives closest to us.
So I ask that we all do some reflection and research on the health crisis that is violence against women.
To commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, and to ensure that we actively work to Leave No One Behind, here are 16 ideas and stats to consider about violence against women.
1. It’s an International issue.
In a study conducted between 2005 to 2016 across 87 countries, 19% of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months.
2. Perpetrators are not in most cases strangers.
At least 34,651 cases of rape were reported across India in 2015. In 33,098 of these cases, victims knew their attacker.
3. Everyone can be a victim but women suffer exponentially.
“Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year. These figures include assaults by penetration and attempts.”
4. FGM is still a MAJOR PROBLEM.
It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.
5. Gender-Based Violence often leads to death.
In the USA, 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder-suicides are female.
6. Most incidents of GBV go unreported.
87% of students in Austrailian Universities who were victims of sexual violence did not make a formal report or complaint to their university.
7. There is nothing light-hearted about Lad culture.
A report published in the Violence Against Women Journal, it was found that 54% of university athletes who identify as men admitted to engaging in sexually coercive behaviours.
8. Violence against women exists in societies that are considered ‘progressive’.
Even though gender equality is considered a central value of Nordic countries, the rates of violence against women are much higher than in other parts of Europe.
9. Girls are the most at risk.
Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides and married before 18 during which they are often subject to abuse.
10. Social media threats are still violence.
Labour MP Jess Phillips received nearly 600 rape threats in one day after working with MPs Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Jo Swinson to launch the Reclaim The Internet campaign to fight against online misogyny.
And it’s not just public figures who face this kind of abuse. A recently published Austrailian survey showed that 50% of women said they had experienced misogynistic abuse online.
11. Protect the most vulnerable.
83% of disabled women are likely to experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
12. Violence Against Women is not a Women’s issue, it’s a Men’s issue.
Across the globe, nearly 40% of women who are murdered are killed by the men they were or are in intimate relationship with.
13. Domestic violence is still legal in some countries.
These include Burkina Faso, Haiti, Lebanon, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Armenia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Cameroon, Yemen, Latvia, Lesotho, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan and Niger.
14. Conflict increases the likelihood that men commit violence against women.
It happened at the end of WW2 when Allied and Axis soldiers raped nearly 2 million German women between 1945 and 1949.
It happened during the Bosnian War as it was estimated that between 20,000 and 60,000 women were raped by soldiers and common men between 1992 and 1995.
It happened in the DRC when during the height of the conflict between 2006 and 2007 a report stated that the 1,152 were raped every day in conflict-affected areas in the east.
And it’s happening now to Rohingya women in Burma where hundreds of women have been treated for rape-related injuries from the outbreak of conflict last year.
15. Stigma sticks.
In many cases survivors and victims of sexual and physical violence are hit with questions like,
Why didn’t she leave sooner?
Why didn’t she report it?
Why did she lead him on?
The stigma attached to victims and survivors following has lasting psychological effects and in many countries, women are cast out from their societies as a result of the idea that they are ‘tarnished.’
16. We need your support.
The UN reports that lack of funding is a major challenge to efforts in preventing and ending violence against women worldwide. National charities and organisations have done great work so far but with adequate funding, they can continue to contribute to changing women and girls lives.
Now that you’ve read the statistics, what can you do?
Donate to your local women’s charity.
Volunteer your time.
Educate yourself. Stay up to date on the issues.
Listen to survivors. Don’t judge or ignore them.
Do what you can so that we leave no women or girl behind.