Women Worldwide Call for End of Violence Against Women

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, people worldwide are speaking out about the endemic of gender-based violence and calling for action. 

United Nations Women chief Sima Bahous declared that violence against women and girls (VWAG) as a global crisis. U.N. reports estimate that nearly one in three women worldwide has suffered abuse. Gender-based violence knows no boundaries, U.N. Women has said, and that it is an issue that needs addressing worldwide, in both developing and developed countries.

But violence against women is not inevitable, Bahous said, and that change is possible through policies and programs to uproot the causes of gender-based violence and protect women’s rights. 

A U.N. report showed that violence against women got worse during the Covid pandemic. The pandemic made women feel more vulnerable to different types of gender-based violence, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, denial of basic needs, verbal abuse, and violence, the report said. 

The new U.N. report surveyed women in 13 countries, chosen based off of regional diversity with a priority to lower or middle-income nations: Albania, Ukraine, Thailand, Jordan, Morocco, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay,  Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.

Of the respondents, 45 percent said that they or a woman they know experienced a form of violence since the Covid pandemic began. 

In the U.S., an estimated one in three women will suffer violence against them during their lifetime. A statement released by the White House said that this statistic is unacceptable, and must be addressed. The statement said that the status and treatment of women is inextricably linked to the peace and prosperity of nations.

It said that ending violence against women and girls is a moral imperative, but even furthermore, strategically mandatory in order to build a society that has full and equal participation of all, which will build a stronger society. 

Around the world, activists are speaking out about violence and how deeply entrenched it is. Reports show the commonality of violence against women. In the UK, women have been calling upon the government all year to implement changes that would help uproot the issue. A year being labeled in the UK as a second #MeToo following the public outrage of several women throughout the year, today marked a culmination of calling for action. 

In France last weekend, thousands marched across different cities against gender-based violence and as a call to the government to fund programs that would help especially women suffering from domestic violence. French women are increasingly speaking out against gender-based violence, especially since reports have shown that the country has one of the highest European rates of women murdered at the hands of partners, ex-partners, or family members. 

In Spain, tighter legislation has been implemented to protect victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence. But experts in the field say that the laws do not understand the realities of violence, and lack the flexibility to handle cases.  

Russian activists are speaking out as well, saying that the country’s “macho” male behavior is so ingrained that it is toxic, and that the laws supposed to protect women are deeply inadequate. In 2017, President Vladimir Putin even took a step backward in fighting domestic violence, by signing a law that eased some penalties for the crime.

Putin’s government said the easing of penalties was in order to reduce state meddling in family life, but experts and activists say that it ensured Russia remains one of only a few countries that have no state defense mechanisms for domestic violence survivors. 

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